Call it Gov. Cuomo’s gift to straphangers!
Christmas may come early for local L-train riders, who are now waiting with baited breath for Gov. Cuomo to reveal findings from the late-night — and arguably last-minute — tour he took of the subway’s superstorm Sandy–ravaged Brooklyn–Manhattan tunnel on Dec. 14.
The pol — who promised to share recommendations resulting from the cross-river underwater trek he took with engineering experts in the next three weeks — toured the Canarsie Tube to see if there are better and faster ways to repair it than the long-in-the-works, 15-month fix that state transit leaders are set to begin in April.
“I need personally to feel confident in that decision, and frankly I don’t want to hear it secondhand, I want to hear it for myself,” Cuomo said on a platform of a Manhattan L-train station during his recent tour.
Engineering experts from Cornell and Columbia universities joined the state’s Commander-in-Chief to inspect the tunnel at no cost to taxpayers, acting as checks and balances to Cuomo’s own transportation officials, who in October announced that they will close the Canarsie Tube on April 27, 2019, beginning the L train’s stint as a local subway line running between Canarsie and Williamsburg until June 2020.
The looming “L-pocalypse” will wreak havoc on the commutes of some 250,000 straphangers who ride the L train to Manhattan daily and will be forced to adopt one or more forms of alternative transportation being rolled out during the fix — making it imperative to ensure the $477-million project is done swiftly and correctly, Cuomo said.
“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority believes their methodology is the best way to do it and the fastest way to do it. New Yorkers tend to be a skeptical bunch,” he said. “This is going to be highly disruptive. And I wanted to make sure we get the best minds, again, on the globe, to review the project, because I want them to be able to validate we know this is disruptive, but there’s no alternative.”
And although the experts could suggest scrapping the state’s current repair plan altogether, it is more likely they’ll suggest minor tweaks or simply sign-off on what officials already proposed, according to Cuomo, who told radio station 1010Wins that commuters shouldn’t get their hopes up for any less than 15 months of L come April 2019.
“I’m not holding out hope,” he said following the tunnel tour. “New Yorkers are willing to bear the expense and the burden of change, and they get that sometimes big projects are required, but they want to make sure that it’s really done right and it really has to be done.”