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.

But a new one — that reroutes the E train via the G line — could be more grounded in reality.
ReThink Studio , like many current L train riders, sees a problem with the solutions the MTA has given so far to manage the shutdown that will suspend service from Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn to 8th Avenue in Manhattan: Additional cars added to G, J and Z trains; a shut­tle bus ser­vice that will oper­ate from Bedford Avenue to Delancey/Essex Street via the Williamsburg Bridge; and a new ferry ser­vice that may be pro­vide service from North Williamsburg to 20th Street in Manhattan.
“The prob­lem with MTA’s pro­posal is that it will not be able han­dle the L train’s cur­rent daily pas­sen­ger load on its own. “Shuttle buses and fer­ries are not nearly as con­ve­nient as sub­way ser­vice, and redi­rect­ing pas­sen­gers onto exist­ing nearby sub­way lines will lead to fur­ther over-crowd­ing,” ReThink Studio said of its plan.

“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.