An East River gondola or even inflatable tunnel are just some of the far-fetched proposals made for when the L train shuts down between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months in 2019.
“A way to reroute the flow of these commuters would be to provide E train service that runs along the G line. Currently the E train has a World Trade Center terminus that aligns with the Chambers Street A/C tracks. ReThink Studio proposes an extension of the E train into Brooklyn via the existing A/C tunnel, then along the Court Square-bound G tracks. Adding a rail switch at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station would make this route possible. This new service would reduce the congestion on J/M/Z trains coming from Jamaica Center and Central Avenue,” the proposal reads.
ReThink Studio, which is currently working on a plan to expand the city’s “car-optional” region beyond Manhattan, says that “this will give L train passengers a two-seat ride into Manhattan by transferring at Lorimer Street, and a single-seat ride to present G train passengers north of Hoyt-Schermerhorn station.”
Though not as complicated or time consuming as building a tunnel, the proposal would require two-track switches to be constructed at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station, but since the A/C and G trains already “converge at the same platform, the construction will be minimal,” Rethink promises.
Founder and principal designer Jim Venturi explained that from about 7 a.m. to 9 on weekdays, the Cranberry Street Tunnel, which carries the A/C is at max capacity. During those times, riders could use cross platform transfers between the G and A/C trains at Hoyt-Schermerhorn. Outside those hours, the tunnel could be used to carry more riders.
“Why are we leaving all of this capacity on the A/C tunnel on the table when we could be using it," Venturi said.
He also sees the proposal as a test run for rerouting the E line permanently — giving G train riders and an ever-increasing ridership more options.
Venturi plans on getting feedback from the public after already informally speaking about the plan with the MTA. He hopes public support will spur the transit agency to move on the project.
“We’re floating it out there. It’s completely viable,” he said.
“This isn’t that complicated to do. If they delayed [the L train shutdown] six months it wouldn’t be the end of the world,” he added.