The MTA is asking for members of the community slated to be affected by the looming closure of the L train line to come and voice their concerns.
The agency announced Monday it will be holding the first of two public meetings to discuss the upcoming reconstruction work on the Canarsie Tunnel — through which the L train runs under the East River connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan.
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The first of the meetings will be on May 5 at 6 p.m. at the Marcy Avenue Armory located at 355 Marcy Ave. in Brooklyn. The second meeting — this one in Manhattan — will be held later the same month.
“The public meetings that the MTA will host in partnership with elected officials will mark the official start of a robust community engagement effort in which we will detail the need for the project, solicit feedback from the public on the potential construction options and begin a collaborative process to develop an alternative service plan to mitigate impacts on L train riders,” said Thomas Prendergast, MTA chairman and CEO.
The public meetings — which will highlight construction options and alternate service plans — will include in-depth discussions of potential construction approaches currently being considered, open houses where community members can bring up their concerns with MTA staff, a presentation by MTA staff, and a question and answer section.
Even after the meetings are complete, the MTA will also continue an “aggressive community engagement process” through which staff will meet with residents, business, community boards, merchant groups and civic associations along the L line in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Along with reconstructing the subway line, the MTA will also make improvements to stations and tunnel segments closest to the section of the line under the river. New stairs and elevators will be installed at the Bedford Avenue station in Brooklyn and at the First Avenue station in Manhattan.
The agency will also install three new electric substations, which will offer more power to operate extra trains during rush hour.
“The heavy damage sustained by the Canarsie Tunnel during Superstorm Sandy requires that we undertake a full reconstruction in order to ensure the integrity of the tunnel and the safety of our riders for generations to come,” Prendergast said.
The Canarsie Tunnel — which was one of nine underwater tunnels that flooded during Superstorm Sandy — underwent extensive damage to tracks, signals, switches, power cables, signal cables, lighting, bench walls and more.
According to the MTA, bench walls throughout must be rehabilitated in order to “protect the structural integrity of the tubes.”
Any 24/7 closure of the line is unlikely to begin before January 2019, according to the MTA.
According to a recent report by the New York Daily News, the closure of the line is expected to last anywhere from 18 months to three years.
Although the full closure is not expected to occur for another few years, the MTA did add that getting design and construction services for the project must start to occur this year to make sure federal funds are not lost.
“The reconstruction of the Canarsie Tunnel will be an unprecedented response to an unprecedented natural disaster and will unfortunately lead to substantial inconvenience for many of our customers,” MTA New York City Transit President Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim said. “We are committed to working hand in hand with the community to inform our decision on construction alternatives and to replace as much service as we can during this unavoidable reconstruction project.”