2019 isn’t that far off, and it’s certainly not too soon to pit designers against each other to dream up alternative transit solutions for the dreaded L Train Shutdown. Although some fantastical entries included the above Donnie-Darko-esque translucent tunnel, the winning design involved small (and speedy) ferries jetting along Newtown Creek and the East River.
On Thursday, May 5, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) held its first community meeting to discuss two proposed plans for the Canarsie Tunnel renovation, the final step in the MTA’s Sandy Recovery Work plan and a major concern for Brooklyn residents who use the L train daily.
The first plan, which all officials seemed to favor (emphasized by the noticeably longer “pro” list in the presentation), proposes an 18-month turnaround, with work beginning in January 2019 and ending in July 2020, and requires a complete shutdown of the L train from 8th Ave to Bedford Ave. The train would run as normal from Bedford Ave to Rockaway Parkway. This plan would give the agency more flexibility with contractors and would get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The second plan, which would take three years, would leave one tunnel open, allowing the train to run at 12-to-15 minute intervals from 8th Ave to Bedford Ave: only 20% of the current level of service the L train provides. There would be no train service at all between Bedford and Lorimer, with a shuttle bus as an alternative. Service would run as normal between Lorimer and Rockaway Parkway. Continue reading
On May 5 at 6 p.m. at the Marcy Avenue Armory, city officials will be hashing out the details for the impending L Train Carnasie tunnel repair work that has Greenpointers and New York City residents alike worried about future transportation options in and out of Brooklyn. Continue reading
Do we smell another passive-aggressive Cuomo/de Blasio standoff? A state audit found that the MTA fudges its numbers on how often subway trains show up on time, and that service sucked more in 2015 than it did in 2014. But wait! Want to know the real shocker? The G Train performed better than any other line in terms of meeting target wait times: a rate of 81.3%.
One reader responded to a recent post on the problems involved in building a bridge over Newtown Creek, suggesting that the article was too negative toward the project and that no infrastructure would ever be built if people only saw the inherent flaws — certainly a valid viewpoint.
However, before we begin a new multi-billion dollar project, we need to evaluate the time, expense and displacement it will create and decide if those billions of dollars might be better spent on subways or other existing forms of mass transportation. The city says that the streetcar will be ready in 2024, but critics feel this is a wildly optimistic timeframe.
John Orcutt, a streetcar critic and spokesman for Transit Center, a non-profit public transportation advocate group, stated, “The biggest concern is these kinds of transit projects haven’t performed well and have been difficult to implement.”
Washington D.C experienced years of delay and large cost overruns on a much smaller streetcar line, and the New York plan is far bigger than what any other American cities have recently built. The de Blasio administration envisions 30 stops over a 16-mile route and 60 streetcar vehicles. The very scope of the project almost ensures many more years of delay than Washington’s tiny system.
Another issue that many have with the streetcar is that in a city already short on parking, the rail line would eliminate hundreds of parking spots, so that drivers all along the route would be vehement enemies. It is hard to imagine City Council members backing a plan that would draw the ire of their driving constituents, especially if they never take the streetcar line.
It is still not clear if the streetcar would be woven into the subway system or if it would be an independent system. There is also the huge question of whether the system would honor MetroCards. It is hard to imagine that many riders who already pay a lot for public transportation would shell out even more money for the tram if the streetcar fare costs extra. A limited ridership would mean that the billion-dollar cost of the streetcar cannot be justified.
There is one other problem with bridges: bureaucracy. Besides the time and expense of constructing a bridge, building spans today mandates conducting long and costly environmental impact studies that could take years and push back the 2024 date even further into the future. Let’s not even begin to contemplate the delays legal challenges to the light rail line would create.
Perhaps the more than $2 billion earmarked for the trolley could be better spent on a renovation of the inadequate G line. Certainly improvements to the G would have a greater impact on the local transportation situation in the near future. Clearly, the city needs to explain how the plan for the streetcar is more positive for Greenpoint than a subway overhaul.
Is it the Streetcar Named Desire for the people of New York, or is de Blasio’s proposed streetcar linking Brooklyn and Queens a developer’s fantasy in the making? In either case, here’s what we know so far.
We know slightly more about the L Train Shutdown than we did last week. Brace yourselves, because it seems as though “1 year vs. 3 years” was a generous estimate.
It only took a year, but the reports from the CitiStorage fire investigation have been wrested into public view by The Brooklyn Paper. The fire was allegedly sparked by a light fixture, subdued, and then reignited. Kind of weird that department reps maintained their line that the investigation was ongoing, even though investigators signed off on the report on Jan. 8. Continue reading
The L Train is facing an imminent, extensive shutdown in the wake of lingering Hurricane Sandy damage, and North Brooklyn hasn’t taken the news very well.
And why would it, given the amount of daily riders who travel through the Canarsie Tube every day — around 350,000 — not to mention the huge impact ridership has on local businesses?
Currently, the MTA is considering two options to implement as early as 2017: to close the entire tunnel nonstop for one year, or to leave one side open and reduce traffic to half-volume, which would take anywhere from three to four years.
Not ones to bide their time quietly, a number of local residents and business owners have already formed The L Train Coalition to demand a better solution from the MTA, though many know full well that the answer will definitely be “pain.”
Pain, of course, can be abstract or painted in sharp relief. And while a fair amount of ink has been spilled over the implications for L Train commuters, there are fewer educated guesses regarding the fate of surrounding areas like Greenpoint, which will absorb a great deal of shock from the closure as riders scramble to find alternative routes. Continue reading
Hey, hey Greenpoint! We’re already three weeks into 2015 and a lot has gone down, some of it good, some of it ugly, and some of it downright funny. In the spirit of community, Greenpointers is happy to announce the addition of Word on the Curb—the latest source of juicy gossip lifted off the street and out of your lips.
So without further adieu, let’s tackle some issues plaguing Greenpointers these days: Continue reading
Five weeks ago, we all bemoaned the G Train closure and the anxious questions that came along with it: How are we going to get around? Will that damn Ferry be up and running? Where the hell did I put the air pump for my bike tires? After an August of shuttle buses, long lines, and traffic, all the bitching has come to an end. The G train is finally restored.
When Sandy hit we all knew it was going to be bad for our subway tunnels. Millions of salt water and copper wires made fore a corrosive mess; our G line was one of the hardest hit tunnels in the system. So while we were being shepherded over the Pulsaki Bridge and down Manhattan Ave in air-conditioned shuttle buses, which some seemed to prefer, crews of MTA workers repaired tracks and switches. The whopping total for fast track repairs in a post-Sandy NYC came out $80 million dollars.