To repair damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, the MTA will shut down the L train completely for 18 months between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The decision, announced on Monday, will cause commuting problems for the tens of thousands of daily riders who use the popular subway line. Officials chose the full shutdown over an alternative plan that would have allowed some trains to run but would have taken three years for repairs to be completed.
"This is the ‘get in, get done, get out’ option," Veronique Hakim, president of New York City Transit, told the New York Times. "It really came down to our wanting to pick an option that minimized inconvenience to the customer."
Under the chosen plan, no L trains will operate between Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. The MTA plans on adding extra cars to G trains during the shutdown and boosting service on the J and M lines, according to NY1.
"Throughout this process, we have committed to engaging the community and listening to all concerns so that we can address them as we prepare for this necessary work," MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in a statement. "We are committed to working with the community just as closely as we develop ways to add service to help minimize the impacts of the closure."
Riders Alliance is supportive of the 18-month plan, which in its own survey released in May showed that 77 percent of L train riders preferred it. But the transit advocacy group in a statement said that the best option will still be a "painful" one for riders, and is demanding an "aggressive plan" to provide service during the closure.
"I read today's news about the L Train from an M Train because for the second Monday in a row, the L train had unforeseen issues that prevented it from running into Manhattan. It was clear today that the current alternatives to the L train are not enough to handle an L train shutdown," Maxwell Zorick, Riders Alliance member and L train rider said in a statement. "I hope that the MTA and city do all in their power to increase bus service and train service to ensure that stations can handle the added L train passengers."
The Canarsie Tunnel, which the L train uses to get between Brooklyn and Manhattan, flooded during Hurricane Sandy and suffered extensive damage to tracks, signals, switches, lighting and other components throughout a 7-mile section, according to the MTA.
During the Canarsie repairs, improvements to stations and tunnel segments close to the under-river section will also be made, including new stairs and elevators at the Bedford Avenue station in Brooklyn and the First Avenue station in Manhattan.