Shafted! MTA won’t build brand-new L train tunnel

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They can’t dig their way out of this one.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority will not build a new L train tunnel as an alternative to the extensive repairs of the existing tubes that would close the line between the boroughs for years, say local pols — claiming the atrophying Canarsie Tube is so close to collapsing, it may not have time to construct another passageway before it caves in.

“Before they could complete such a project, the problems they are anticipating on the L train could happen,” said Minna Elias, chief of staff to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D–New York) on Wednesday at the first meeting of the L Train Coalition, a group of local businesses rallying to fight the closure. “They are concerned about safety.”

Transit honchos claim the tubes that carry passengers between Williamsburg and Manhattan are in immediate need of repair due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, said Elias — the tunnels and the underlying wiring are falling apart after being ravaged by salt water, and the authority says concrete could begin raining down within years.

“What they’re afraid of is there could be a derailment if cement falls or there would be a signal failure because they are having trouble with running the cables,” said Elias.

The authority also says it does not have the cash for a new tube, according to Elias — it claims the undertaking would cost a $4.5 billion, while repairs to the crumbling tubes would fall closer to $700 million.

And while the city could cover most of the repair costs with leftover federal funds set aside for Sandy fix-ups — a pool of money authorities are afraid will dry up if not assigned to a project by the end of the year — the train reps would be on their own if they had to conjure the billions for a brand new shaft, she said.

But locals insist that digging a new tunnel remains the best option for the L-adjacent communities, who would suffer during a long-term closure, and refused to accept the authority crying poor. They demanded the city — which is planning to pour $2.5 billion into a flashy trolley line and $55 million into extending ferry service along the East River — kick in some and implore the Feds to preserve the expiring pile of Sandy funds, said one local.

“I don’t think we should just accept the idea that the third tunnel isn’t possible,” said Del Teague, who is a member of the chair of the local community board’s land-use committee. “Things can be done if the government feels people are going to revolt strongly enough.”

The authority is still mulling over a handful of options for salvaging the two tubes, said Elias — it may halt service entirely to get the repairs done in about two years, or shut it down on nights and weekends for up to seven years. It is also considering fixing one tube at a time, though that would reduce service by about 75 percent and could take closer to four years.

Elected officials are still pushing transit reps to host a public meeting some time in the next month to provide more answers to freaking out straphangers and local businesses, said Elias, but so far the tight-lipped authority has refused to commit to a date.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jodi from Greenpoint says:
I look forward to the completion of L repairs. In the meantime, I'll take the efficient 7, the offhours J, M, Z, or ride my bike which has always been the fastest way to go.

The L Train Coalition would rather see me priced out, as have been many of the best small Williamsburg businesses who survived prior to the overwhelming flood of weekenders.
Feb. 25, 2016, 12:56 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
If the MTA had $4.5 billion burning a hole in its pocket, I shouldn't be to provide a redundant tunnel to north Brooklyn.

Del Teague also thinks parking requirements shouldn't be relaxed on affordable housing (where they sit unused) because it would be "demeaning" to imply that people in affordable housing can't afford cars. So we're not talking about someone with the strongest sense of priorities here.
Feb. 25, 2016, 1:11 pm
Jodi from Greenpoint says:
A MetroCard “walking transfer” could be reintroduced @ the JMZ/G intersection, if it doesn't already exist?
Feb. 25, 2016, 1:35 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Oh well, might as well pack up your businesses & go to manhattan. I know some of you really dont expect to have the L up & running smoothly packed with hipsters without some kind of drawbacks.
Feb. 25, 2016, 2:18 pm
Frank from Bay Ridge says:
Take the pain and do it one shot. Hopefully it will be completed in less than eighteen months.
Feb. 25, 2016, 5:29 pm
bored at work from Carroll Gardens says:
Why do you even treat this "proposal" as if its within the realm of possibility? Its merely a fantasy from the L Train Coalition and not based on anything other than a wish not to be inconvenienced during the necessary shutdown and repairs.

Why not ask for a car or free taxi rides for the duration?
Feb. 25, 2016, 5:31 pm
Scott from Flatbush says:
Wow, what a bunch of entitled phuhcks. "Wah, we want a new tunnel because we can't cope with having to change our commutes when they fix the existing tunnels, waaahh!" You gotta be kidding me.
Feb. 25, 2016, 6:53 pm
ronald from sheepshead says:
it will make the housing more affordable . thats a plus. From someone who took a train to a bus most of his life. you will survive.

As for the commentor that want us to think about women. guess what women and men share the same issues.
Feb. 25, 2016, 7:53 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
The Montague tunnel was closed to be repaired,why is this different?
Feb. 25, 2016, 9:01 pm
Ian from Williamsburg says:
There are several reasons why this is different than the Montague tube closure. At the time of the R train shut down, it served 60,000 people a day. The L tunnel currently handles 300,000. The other main difference can easily be seen when looking at a map. The R train runs along or close to many other lines. Easy transfers were available to the commuters. The L train serves a huge geographic area with no redundancy. In essence, there are already extra tunnels and bridges near the Montague tunnel. It makes sense that the L has a backup tunnel considering the volume of use and the frequency of need.
Feb. 25, 2016, 9:38 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Keep in mind that the MTA was underestimated by the devastating effects of the storm surges caused by Superstorm Sandy. The MTA needs to be make these subway tunnels resilient to future flooding, storm surges and sea level rises, while doing it as quickly and as cost-effective as possible. The MTA still needs to decide if they would need to shut down the L train tunnel for either: 1) 18 months in both directions; 2) 3 years in one direction then the next; or 3) several years via weeknights and weekends. Despite that, the MTA must have a contingency plan for the following: 1) Increase the number of subway cars of the G train from 4 to 6; 2) Extend the M train to 57th Street - 6th Avenue; 3) Implement a free, out of system subway transfer via a Metrocard between Broadway G train station and Lorimer Street J and M station. BTW, the MTA must have a positive and reliable communication between then and the general public in the next several months.
Feb. 26, 2016, 8:41 am
jjm from c. hill says:
Im with anything that'll drive down the rent & drive out the yuppy population. I say let these entitled think-they-know-it-alls go ahead & keep on packing that L train so when it gets shut down for years on out, they better not say sh*t.
Feb. 26, 2016, 8:59 am
Ted from Ft. Greene says:
Does anybody really not understand how difficult it is to drill a tunnel? That would take more years than repairing the current tunnel! What, if you don't like the answer, you're gonna just hold your breath and stomp your widdle foot-ums?

Grow up, you spoiled brats!
Feb. 26, 2016, 9:20 am
b from gp says:
The working commuters are the ones who will suffer. Many of the weekend shoppers guzzle their way here via obscene vehicles, to buy overpriced tee shirts.
Feb. 26, 2016, 10:53 am
Eddie from Fort Green says:
How am I supposed to get to my dealer?
Feb. 27, 2016, 3:37 am

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