L train riders were spared shutdown for more than a year at the last minute in January, but other construction work pushed back by the change of plans is looming — and costs are booming.
The projected price tag for structural repairs at the L’s five Manhattan stations along 14th Street could nearly double — from $43.8 million to $77.8 million — MTA documents project.
An MTA spokesperson said some of that work would have begun during the now-canceled full-time shutdown of the L’s Canarsie tunnel in the East River, as part of a “piggybacking” onto repairs in the tunnel.
But reports that provide updates on MTA capital projects now show that a bid opening previously scheduled for May 2019 has been postponed until January 2020 to “re-examine the scope of the work in light of the changed service plan of the Canarsie Tube.”
There is no timetable for when the bulk of repairs will begin to fix steel defects in station columns, beams and braces, as well as work to repair leaks and concrete defects in walls and ceilings.
The work could potentially have impacts on riders, the MTA acknowledges, as crews come in to shore up nearly century-old stations. Continue reading →
To help remedy the disrupted commute for L train riders during the partial shutdown between Manhattan and Brooklyn for Canarsie Tunnel repairs, the MTA introduced two bus routes, the B91 and B92, which have turned out to be a flop.
Beginning this Saturday, the MTA will introduce the B91A bus to replace the B91 and B92 buses in response to low ridership where “two or three riders per trip,” are the norm, NY1 reports.
L customers: Starting this Saturday, a new Williamsburg Link bus route will replace the current B91 and B92 routes. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/IJq1ObY4MD
The new route will be shorter and focused on connecting the Marcy Av Station with the Bedford Ave area.
It will have two new stops—one on Driggs Ave at Grand St and another on Roebling St at Grand St—for a total of four stops.
The new route will run every 8 minutes during busiest times, and will keep the current late night and early morning frequencies as is (every 10 minutes).
The bus will still be free.
The new route also helps you connect to other buses: Customers going between Metropolitan Av/Lorimer St and Marcy Av Stations can take the B24 bus for a direct connection between the two stations. Customers going between Metropolitan Av/Lorimer St and Bedford Av can take the Q59 to the B91A at Grand St.
There will be no L train service between Lorimer Street in Brooklyn and 8th Avenue in Manhattan 10:30 p.m. – 5 a.m., from April 15th to April 26th, according to the MTA.
April 15 – April 26 10:30 PM to 5 AM, Mon to Fri
No L overnight
What’s the work? As part of the revised L project, we’re still moving forward with the long-term reliability improvement work we had originally planned. This includes installing signal equipment. For you this means that we’ll have the right signals ready to run the one-track operation in April. We’ll also take this time to prepare the tunnel for the rehabilitation work, delivering materials, pulling fiber optic cable and installing tunnel lights so we can work efficiently during the one track operation.
What should customers do? If you’re traveling between Brooklyn and Manhattan, you can take the A , F, or J. For Manhattan L stations, you can take the M14 bus. In Brooklyn, the L will still operate between Lorimer St and Canarsie-Rockaway Pkway. Free shuttle buses will loop between Lorimer St G/L, Bedford Av, Marcy Av J, and Hewes St J.
Here are the key transfer points to remember during this service change:
Broadway Junction for the A, J or L Lorimer St/Metropolitan Av for the L, G or shuttle bus Marcy Av for the J or shuttle bus 14 St-8 Av for the A, E or the M14 14 St -6 Av for the F or M14 Delancey-Essex Sts for the F, J or M14A The G operates in two sections:
Between Court Square and Bedford/Nostrand Avs Between Bedford/Nostrand Avs and Hoyt/Schermerhorn, every 20 minutes.
The next MTA L train open house is Monday, Apr 8th, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the 14th Street Y, (344 E 14th St.).
The MTA is hosting the first of four open houses focused on the L train tonight (3/7) at Our Lady of Guadalupe St. Bernard at 328 W 14 St. in Manhattan from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The other three open houses are also scheduled from 6-8 p.m.:
Wednesday, March 13: Williamsburg Northside School, 299 N 7th St.
Tuesday, March 19: Grand Street Campus High School, 850 Grand St.
Monday, April 8: 14th St Y, 344 E 14 St.
The L train is currently undergoing service disruptions on nights and weekends through March 18, and while a night and weekend repair schedule is expected to be implemented for approximately 15 to 18 months during repairs scheduled to start this spring, a final plan has yet to be approved. Continue reading →
Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo held a surprise press conference in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon to announce last-minute changes in the two-year-old L train shutdown plan that was scheduled to start in April 2019. The plan for a full shutdown of the L train’s Canarsie tunnel has been scrapped in lieu of a new engineering plan (PDF) to keep the tunnel in operation during reconstruction. The announcement has a profound impact on Brooklyn residents working in Manhattan and the real estate developers with local interests, who are some of Cuomo’s largest donors.
Without offering many specific details, Cuomo said that L train commuters can expect service disruptions on some nights and weekends during the coming 15-to-20-months of construction on the Canarsie tunnel.
Cuomo didn’t talk about the MTA’s former plans to create express bus lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge and across 14th Street in Manhattan. Cuomo also continued to deny his control over the MTA: “No, I am not in charge of the MTA…Yes, I did ask this group, I convened this group, I got them access, I facilitated their research, they came up with their conclusion, they presented it to the MTA, and the MTA said it’s a better way to do it.”
The Canarsie tunnel was damaged way back in 2012 from the salty, corrosive floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy. The MTA announced its mitigation plan in 2016, and since then dozens of meetings in North Brooklyn have been held by local activist groups such as the L train Coalition and NYC Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso.
Cuomo’s team of Ivy League engineers drafted a new engineering design “never used in the United States” to supplement the full shutdown, Cuomo explained during Thursday’s press conference:
To make a long story short: They have proposed a new design to use in the tunnel. It is a design that has not been used in the united states before to the best of our knowledge. It has been implemented in Europe. It has never been implemented in a tunnel restoration project. They came up with that design suggestion that uses many new innovations that are new to, frankly, the rail industry in this country. But the MTA has gone through their recommendations and gone through the new design, and the MTA believes that it is feasible, it’s highly innovative but that it is feasible. Long story short, with this design, it would not be necessary to close the L train tunnel at all, which would be a phenomenal benefit to the people of New York City. There would need to be some night and weekend closures of only one tube, so service would still work because there are two tunnels, but it would be a major, major breakthrough, and that’s what we want to discuss with you today.
Imagine how much easier it would be for alternative transportation with the L train apocalypse if there was a parallel subway line from Williamsburg providing another route to Manhattan!
In 1929, such a godsend of a line was not only planned but began construction; the plans did not get very far. The city dug out a tunnel that still sits under Williamsburg at S. 4th Street. Subway historian Benjamin Kabak described the tantalizing phantom subway line in his blog Second Avenue Sagas.
Kabak revealed the existence of the huge subway shell as part of his underbelly project. He claims that the envisioned subway tunnel was intended to accommodate four subway lines, which would have made it one of the largest stations in the city. Cruelly, the partially excavated tunnel sits just above the Broadway stop on the G line. The plans were tragically visionary: According to Kabak, both the Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue lines would have passed through this station, bound for multiple points east, south and north.
Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo is set to tour the L train’s Canarsie tunnel on Thursday night ahead of the subway line’s 15-month shutdown between Manhattan and Brooklyn that is scheduled to start in April 2019.
While not exactly an eleventh-hour visit (pun intended), Cuomo will descend into the hurricane-ravaged tunnel flanked by ‘national and international experts’ for a photo-op around midnight.
This means some late night schedule changes on the L train tonight: the overnight schedule will begin at 12 a.m. instead of 1:30 a.m., when trains will run every 20 minutes. Regular service will resume at 1:30 a.m.
Amazon Cuomo called into WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday to dish on an array of issues facing the Empire State, including the impending L train shutdown. Read Cuomo’s meandering take on his L train visit:
“I am this week going to take a look myself at the L train. And as a project to close the tunnel that carries the L train, it would be highly disruptive for many people, of course. You want to make sure the tunnel is safe, and the train is safe. But this Thursday night, midnight, I’m gonna take a tour to make sure we are doing everything we can and explore every option to reduce any possible disruption.
I did the same thing with the 2nd Avenue subway to make sure that the bureaucracy is being flexible and open and creative. Because these are vital services; you close down the L train, they’re talking about 15 months, it creates a major problem.
The city’s worked very hard, the MTA has worked hard to come up with alternatives. But the functionality of this agency is key, and when it becomes a major situation that I can get involved in directly, like the 2nd Avenue subway…But the MTA day-to-day having the funding, to buy new trains, put in that new signal system, do the construction on time, that is vital. Remebering that the whole system is, has been neglected for decades, it’s a 100 year old system, and the volume is multiple times what it was designed to handle.”
File this one under doomsday prep: as we announced previously, the MTA is shutting down the L train every single weekend in October between Eighth Avenue and Broadway Junction (the train will run between Broadway Junction and Canarsie). The severe pain-in-the-train begins on Friday nights at 11:30pm and lasts until 5am Monday morning. If you get desperate, there will be shuttle buses along the train line. Signs will be posted at affected stations and subway and bus routes, and NYC Transit staff will also be available at select stations to answer questions and provide information. Continue reading →