R train service will be shut down for the next 14 months in order to repair the Montague Street Tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan. That tunnel, the longest in the system, was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy and has been experiencing signal failures and other issues since it reopened after the storm.
Yes, this is decidedly inconvenient. But no need to panic. The R train "shutdown" only affects the connection between Brooklyn and Manhattan: inconvenient but not impossible.
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One solution that has been hyped by city officials is an added stop on the Rockaways ferry. The ferry will stop at 58th Street in Sunset Park before continuing on to the Wall Street/Pier 11 dock and its second and final stop in Manhattan at East 34th Street.
If you work anywhere near East 34th Street, your commuting options are limited anyway, so you're already a survivor. You can handle this.
Otherwise, you can hop off at Wall Street, catch the R at Whitehall Street and continue on your way as though nothing has changed except you got a nice boat ride in before work. The ride between 58th Street and Wall Street takes 15 minutes, officials said.
The added ferry service starts Monday. However, the extra stop is a pilot program intended to expire on Labor Day. City officials are hoping that if large numbers of people use it, the program can be extended past the summer and the stop could become a permanent fixture on the Rockaways ferry.
The ferry costs $2. MetroCards cannot be used to board the ferry, though the EDC noted that the $2 fee is cheaper than the subway (up to $2.50 since the latest fare hike in March).
If you get seasick or are feeling stubborn about sticking to your unlimited MetroCard, not to worry: The R train intersects with nearly every other train line in the city over the last few stops in Brooklyn. Catch the A, C or F at Jay Street/MetroTech or the B, N, Q, 2, 3, 4 or 5 at Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center.
This could also be a good time to get in on the Citi Bike program: There are Citi Bike stations aplenty throughout Downtown Brooklyn and in Manhattan up to 59th Street. Check out the station map here.
If this was just too many words for you, WNYC created a handy flow chart.
Note: The R train won't be stopping in Downtown Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan over the weekend, as it will travel over the Manhattan Bridge between the two boroughs, essentially becoming the N/Q between Canal Street in Manhattan and the DeKalb stop in Brooklyn. MTA has the details here.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat