LES Residents Propose Turning Lowline Site Into a Bus Depot During L Train Shutdown

July 6, 2016

There’s been no lack of ideas for how to deal with the impending L train shutdown, from realistic proposals like the East River Skyway to some more out-there concepts like a giant inflatable tunnel. The latest suggestion was presented at a recent public meeting between the MTA and Manhattan’s Community Board 3. DNAinfo reports that local residents discussed taking the old underground trolley station at Delancey and Essex Streets (the same site that’s been long proposed for the Lowline) and turning it into a transportation hub for the B39 bus that operates between Williamsburg and the Lower East Side.

L train shuttle bus

The Lower East Side is one of the fastest growing residential neighborhoods; the Essex Crossing development will bring 1,000 new units to the area in the coming years and One Manhattan Square another 815, just to name two new projects. This heightens concern from residents who fear the M and J trains and B39 bus will become overtaxed without the L. Though the MTA plans to increase bus service on the the B39, as well as the M14a and M14d, the agency’s Head of Operations Peter Cafiero said of the proposal: “We’re taking every idea and looking at it…It’s certainly something that, if it would make sense somehow and we can get the buses in, it might make sense to look at it, so we’ll probably take a look at it.”

Tunisia Riley of CB3’s land use committee pointed out that the Economic Development Corporation is still reviewing proposals for the Lowline and the project hasn’t yet locked down the site. The Community Board endorsed the project, but some of its members criticized the subterranean park for a lack of community engagement. Lowline co-founder Dan Barasch responded: “Not only would it be technically not feasible to use the space as a bus depot, but it would be disappointing to suffer such a poor lack of imagination as to use the historic one-acre site as a parking lot.”

The MTA will decide by the end of the summer whether they’ll shut down the L completely for 18 months or keep partial service that will cause work to last for up to three years. Those affected have expressed a preference for the former; work will begin in 2019.

[Via DNAinfo]


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