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MTA to Hold Emergency L Train Public Meeting Tuesday

The MTA is holding an emergency L train public meeting Tuesday at noon to discuss the new plans regarding the non-shutdown of the Canarsie tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The meeting will be live streamed.

Cuomo’s announcement two weeks ago rocked the Brooklyn universe and understandably upset the renters and business owners who already relocated, not to mention the community leaders who worked for three years on mitigation plans and questioned the announcements’ lack of specifics.

The L train was scheduled to see 15 – 18 months of major service disruptions beginning in April, but as the story goes, a distraught Brooklyn man pulled Cuomo’s lapel, inspiring the Governor to assemble an engineering team of experts to visit the Canarsie tunnel. Continue reading

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L-Train Apocalypse Averted, Reconstruction to Take 15 – 20 Months

Gov. ‘Amazon’ Cuomo at Thursday’s press conference in Manhattan.

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 flooded Canarsie tunnel in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy

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.

Watch the full press conference:

Continue reading

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Cuomo to Make Surprise L Train Announcement Today

Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo will take a break from striking backroom deals with monopolistic billionaires and make a surprise announcement during a press conference today at 12:45 p.m. in Manhattan regarding the L train shutdown, Gothamist reports. Just two weeks ago Cuomo submerged himself into the Canarsie Tunnel that runs between Manhattan and Brooklyn to take a hard look at the reconstruction plan with a team of experts. As of now, the plan (four years in the making) is to shut down the tunnel to train traffic for 15 months begging at the end of April 2019.

A potential switch may be a three-year shutdown with one track remaining in operation, Gothamist reports:

MTA sources told Gothamist that they have heard rumors that the governor was planning on altering the L train shutdown. “We usually have provisions that allow us to get out of contracts at any given time, but there’s been a fair amount of work done already,” one source said. “If there’s a new plan only the very upper management knows what that is.”

Another source in contact with city decision makers said the governor may switch from the 1.5 year total shutdown timeline to one that would last 3+ years by partially shutting down one track.

Update: The NY Times reports that a full Canarsie Tunnel shutdown will not happen. Specific details are still to be announced.

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The Abandoned Subway Tunnel Teasing Williamsburg

The shell of the never completed subway tunnel above the G Line ( courtesy of secondavenuesagas.com)

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.

Map of intended subway line from 1929.

In September 1929, the Board of Transportation announced a subway expansion plan called the Second System, which is documented in Joseph Raskin’s book The Routes Not Taken, a Trip Through New York City’s Unbuilt Subways. Continue reading

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L Train Tunnel to Get Hard Look From Amazon Cuomo Tonight

Amazon Cuomo (courtesy of Zak Seward)

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.”

Continue reading

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Greenpoint Ave G Train Service Suspensions Announced

The Greenpoint Ave G train station will experience a series of service interruptions this winter starting Nov. 30, the MTA announced on Wednesday.

December will see the most interruptions for the Greenpoint Ave G train station, which is scheduled to close during weekends, and weeknights 9:45 p.m. – 5 a.m. from Dec. 3 through Dec. 24. Southbound G train service is also suspended from the station Nov. 30 through Dec. 31, but northbound trains will run.

The closures are due to the upcoming L train reconstruction and the ongoing $23.4 million MTA project to make the Greenpoint Avenue G subway station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by installing three elevators, powered gates, and braille signage amongst other upgrades.

Construction on the elevators commenced in September and is estimated to wrap in spring 2021. The southern end of the station will have elevator access on the East side of Manhattan Avenue between Greenpoint Avenue and Kent Street. Two addition elevators will be installed for the north and south G train platforms. Continue reading

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L Train Officially Shuts Down April 27th

The MTA confirmed today that the L train’s 15-month shutdown between 8th Avenue in Manhattan and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn will start on April 27th of next year.

The damage to the Canarsie Tunnel caused by the floodwaters of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 will be repaired through 2020, during which time the L train will run as usual in Brooklyn between Bedford Avenue and Rockaway Parkway. Continue reading

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Get Ready: No L Train Every Weekend in October

L-train

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

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Previewing, Pumping and Polluting – The Hook-up (8/10)

Happy Friday, Greenpoint!

There has been much in the news this week about L-pocalypse, what with this weekend’s L closure, and the city’s cap on ride-share vehicles, but that’s not all. On Monday, the MTA showed of it’s L-ternative bus routes to city officials, who rode public transit throughout the two-mile route.

While there are few things as dirty as the way the MTA has been handling the L-train closure, it turns out that one quarter of the city’s most polluted sites are in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.  Continue reading

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L-Pocalypse Pre-Show Countdown: L to close for 15 weekends prior to “official” shutdown

How is this weekend like Christmas? No L!

In fact, the MTA announced on Saturday, The L train will not run between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 15 weekends between now and April, when the agency plans to usher in L-pocalypse.

While North Brooklyn has been aware of, and preparing for, April’s planed 15-month suspension of service through the Canarsie Tunnel with a litany of enterprising, madcap solutions, commuters were entirely unaware of the MTA’s pre-show closure countdown.

Now, purveyors of L-ternatives will have to fire up their tanks earlier than expected, because the first of the 15 weekend closures will take place this weekend (from 11:30pm Friday, August 10 – 5am Monday, August 13th). 

The other 14 weekend closures will take place throughout October, November, February, March and April.

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