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L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan could shut for three years

L on Earth: Service between Brooklyn and Manhattan could shut for years!

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Prepare for commuter L.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority may halt all L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan for up to three years to expedite repairs on damage to the tunnel caused by Hurricane Sandy, as first reported by Gothamist.

The Canarsie Tube, which carries the hipster express under the East River, needs some serious repairs after being ravaged by seven million gallons of salt water back in 2012, claimed an agency spokesman — and the need is so dire the authority may get it all over with in a years-long construction binge rather than spread it out over weekend closures.

“We are weighing all of our options,” said Kevin Ortiz.

A long-term closure would be a massive pain in the butt for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who depend on the line to get around, but the all-in approach may be the most efficient and cost-effective way to carry out the much-needed repairs, according to a former transit authority employee.

“The more you stretch it out, the more disruptive it is,” said transit buff Joe Raskin, who penned a book on subway history during his tenure at the agency. “No matter what you do, work has to be done — the thing to do is to get it over and done with as quickly as possible.”

The transit authority was unable to explain how it would manage the L train’s enormous ridership during the closure, or whether shuttle buses would be provided. The authority also could not say when it will decide on a conclusive repair plan.

If the agency decides to go through with the years-long closure, straphangers who live off the heavily peopled line may have to find new ways to make their commutes into Manhattan. One rider, who has befriended the local peoples on the distant isle, says she will probably end up having to pay for an Uber to see her pals.

“The L train is kind of my only option to get into downtown’s East Village, which is where most of my friends live,” said Williamsburg resident Aisha Stordeur. “It will definitely be interesting as far as my Uber bill is concerned.”

Local businesses along the route already endured weekend closures for repairs last year, losing big tourist bucks in the process. At the time, many businesses offered discounts to entice visitors to find a alternative routes to reach their registers, and one long-time shopkeep says she will probably use similar emergency measures this time around.

“When the power goes out, what do you do?” said Harry Rosenblum, who co-owns Frost Street culinary shop the Brooklyn Kitchen with his wife Taylor Erkkinen. “These are the things you face as a business owner — we just need to be more creative.”

But it is not all bad news — R train commuters who were cut off from Manhattan for 13 months during similar repairs on the Montague Tube reported that the service was more punctual when the train ran as a Brooklyn local.

The agency is also seeking $300 million from the federal government to increase capacity and fix up stations on L line, which has become increasingly over-crowded at neighborhoods along the track have boomed. It said in 2014 that it planned to coordinate the upgrades with the tunnel repairs.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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Reasonable discourse

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Southside, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Keep in mind that this tunnel is severely damaged thanks to the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy, costing the MTA $300 Millions in damages. They have three options to rehabilitate this tunnel: 1) Shutting it down on weekends for several years; 2) Shutting it down on weeknights for several years, even via FASTRACK; or 3) Shutting it down 24/7/365 for three years while a design-build, public-private partnership projects will be made, I'm a cost-effective manner. I know that it will be a major inconvenience for all of the L train riders, but the MTA needs to make the NYC subway system resilient from future storms and sea level rises, thanks to climate change. It's better be safe than sorry and safety is the number priority for the MTA. By the end of the day, we have to look at the realistic, bigger picture, in the long haul.
Jan. 13, 2016, 6:15 pm
Never Will Happen from Williamsburg says:
It will be weekends or nights for 7 years. They are not shutting down the tunnel permanently.
Jan. 13, 2016, 9:48 pm
Sean from Williamsburg says:
Good! Maybe that new gigantic hotel will now go out of business, and all the crusties will stay in the city during the summer months. I'm sick of all the overflowing trash and try hards on my block.
Jan. 14, 2016, 2:06 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Maybe this will run all of these darn rent-rising yups outta there.
Jan. 14, 2016, 5:59 pm
Bababooey from Sirius XM says:
At least rents might get lower.
Jan. 14, 2016, 6:36 pm
jjm from c.hill says:
@baba I hope so, need to bring some more culture back to Brooklyn instead of all these damn coffee shops. And no Im not moving, just in case somebody wants to say the same ol' move-somewhere-else" bs. How about you move back to wherever you were?
Jan. 14, 2016, 8:16 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Let them ride Citi bikes.
Jan. 15, 2016, 12:59 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Done to lower real estate for the Mayor's connections. DeBlumberCuomzio strikes again.
Jan. 15, 2016, 10:25 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Pedro, shutting the tunnel for the L between Manhattan and Brooklyn won't be permanent, but work on it must be done. They will most likely just do this during late nights when ridership is low so that most won't be affected by it. Should it be done during normal hours, the MTA will probably provide shuttle buses for this as they would when this is the case for other lines, so there is no reason to panic on this.
Jan. 16, 2016, 3:55 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Southside, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Tal, the MTA have three options in renovating the L train tunnel: 1) Shutting down the tunnel for repairs for more than a year; 2) Shutting down one of the tracks for repairs alternatively for more than a couple of years; 3) Shutting down the tunnel every weeknight for more than three years; or 4) Shutting down the tunnel every weekend for more than three years. By the end of the day, remember what Governor Cuomo said: These MTA maintainence workers must get these renovation projects as quickly is possible. As of a result, even though L train riders will be severally inconvenience and must plan accordingly, it is better be safe than sorry while we learned a lot about the mower of Mother Nature. By the way Tal, do not underestimate the overall ridership trends of the L train: A majority of the riders are young professionals who not only focused on going to their 9 to 5 jobs, but also they go out to Manhattan for dine, explore, play and shop.
Jan. 16, 2016, 5:48 pm
samir kabir from downtown says:
Maybe the L train riders can jog to work in their super spiffy jogging outfits.
Jan. 18, 2016, 4:48 am
Ken Hatfield from Midtown says:
Not sure why they dont build J train access around Wythe / Kent. Infrastructure is already there. All they need are stairs and a platform. This would alleviate much of the pressure from an L shutdown.
Jan. 19, 2016, 12:53 pm

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