Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has been trying to stay focused on grounded solutions–literally, as opposed to the tunnel and skyway ideas that are also being discussed–to mitigate the anticipated possible chaos when the dreaded 15-month L train shutdown hits. The organization is aiming for the ear of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the MTA which control street design and bus expansion, respectively. The group recently held an “L-ternative” contest seeking pedestrian-centered proposals for main transit corridors along the L line, such as 14th street, Gothamist reports. The winning proposal, called 14TH ST.OPS, imagines a (car) traffic-free 14th Street with a six-stop shuttle bus using dedicated lanes, plus protected bike lanes.
L Train Shutdown
It’s official. The Metropolitan Transit Authority board voted to approve a 15-month shutdown of the L train on Monday, instead of the originally proposed 18 months. The Board also awarded a $477 million contract to Judlau Contracting and TC Electric, who will responsible for repairing the train’s Canarsie Tunnel, which suffered severe flooding damage after Hurricane Sandy (h/t WSJ). The planned shutdown is set to begin in April 2019 and cuts all L train service between Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.
Finally, there’s some good news for the nearly 225,000 daily L train riders commuting to Manhattan. This weekend the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that the Canarsie tube, which carries the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, will be closed for 15 months instead of 18, three months ahead of schedule. As reported by the Daily News, the MTA plans to begin rehabilitating the tunnel in April of 2019.
A month ago, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, City Councilman Stephen Levin, and State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol drafted a letter to the Mayor, urging him to advocate for the East River Skyway as a solution for the impending L train shutdown. Building on this momentum, a digital petition addressed to de Blasio has launched on Change.org where the public can show their support for the plan, as well.
It looks like the East River Skyway is getting a big boost from local elected officials. Three politicians have jumped on the idea, including U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, City Councilman Stephen Levin, and State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol. The trio together drafted a letter to Mayor de Blasio, encouraging him to back the transit initiative as a solution to impending L train closure. “This is the coolest thing we could do for the neighborhood,” Lentol, told DNA Info. “I don’t want to denigrate the BQX but this is even a greater plan to have a gondola going from Brooklyn to Manhattan forever.”
Transit advocacy groups and politicians who have been promoting the idea of ridding Manhattan’s 14th Street of private car traffic during planned L subway tunnel repairs, and only allowing bus, bike and pedestrian traffic, have also suggested that the no-auto plan would be good for Grand Street in Williamsburg, the New York Post reports. Grand Street is a major neighborhood thoroughfare similar to 14th Street, and advocates say giving the streets to bikes, pedestrians and shuttle buses would be one way to lessen the impact of the shutdown.
One of many ideas to mitigate the forthcoming L train shutdown in 2019 (in addition to others such as the East River Skyway, more bike lanes, and even an inflatable tunnel) is to shut down 14th Street to vehicular traffic and make it a bus-only zone. The idea was first presented in June by State Senator Brad Hoylman, and now he and a group of his government colleagues have won a request to the MTA for a traffic feasibility study of the proposal that they say will “relieve congestion and improve traffic flow.”
The city’s newly released, five-year transportation plan is all about the bikes. As part of his larger Vision Zero initiative, the Mayor announced yesterday that he’ll roll out 75 miles of new bike lanes by the end of this year, which includes 18 miles of protected lanes, reports Gothamist. They’ll be dispersed throughout the five boroughs, but centered in areas where the highest number of cyclist and pedestrian fatalities occur.
The MTA plans to announce today that the long-dreaded L train shutdown for repairs needed on the Canarsie tunnel that runs beneath the East River will commence in 2019 and take the line out of service from Manhattan to the Bedford Avenue station in Brooklyn for 18 months, as reported by the New York Times. The 18-month option was the expected choice, the alternative being a partial three-year shutdown that would give about one in five passengers service to Manhattan (20 percent of current service). The agency needs to do major repairs on damage done by the 2012 superstorm Sandy, and while the tunnel is “not in grave danger of collapse,” according to the MTA, it can’t go untreated. As 6sqft previously reported, night and weekend service is off the table because of the amount of work that needs to be done, and building a third tube would be time- and cost-prohibitive.
Since word broke that the L Train would be shutting down for upwards of a year, many have been wondering just how this would affect real estate prices in the immediate term. Well it looks we may finally be getting a taste. As DNA Info first reports, The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) released their quarterly findings this week, and REBNY found that although the number of condos sales were up in Williamsburg by 43 percent this last quarter over the same time last year, the average sales price dropped a considerable 13 percent to $937,000. To put this further into perspective, for Brooklyn as a whole, REBNY recorded a nine percent rise to $923,000 over the same period; Manhattan condos by comparison grew by 21 percent to an average $2.843M.
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.
Among the proposals gaining steam to mitigate the imminent L train shutdown are the East River Skyway, an aerial gondola system that would run along the Brooklyn waterfront and into Manhattan, and a car-free 14th Street. But the Van Alen Institute wanted to open the brainstorming to the wider public. As part of their “L Train Shutdown Charrette,” this past Sunday, six interdisciplinary design teams who were selected as finalists presented their creative and fanciful proposals, including everything from a floating inflatable tunnel to an all-access transportation pass called Lemonade Line. The winning design “Transient Transit – Revitalizing Industrial Infrastructure” comes from Kohn Pedersen Fox and Happold Engineering, who propose utilizing Newtown Creek for a water shuttle and the LIRR freight tracks for passenger service.
The MTA announced at a town hall meeting Thursday night that they would “decide in the next three months at most” on the final details for the planned Canarsie Tunnel work to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy that would halt L train service west of Bedford Avenue, according to DNAinfo. The agency is considering two options: shutting down service for that portion of the line completely for 18 months, or having partial service that would give only “one in five passengers service to Manhattan” (or 20 percent of current service) and last up to three years.
For the past couple weeks, not a day has gone by without some mumbling about the possible L train shutdown. On Friday, 6sqft shared an interactive graph from NeighborhoodX that shows which other neighborhoods offer commute times similar to the L train stops and how their rents compare. This led many to wonder how, if at all, the possible years-long service change could affect real estate prices. Will rents suddenly plummet or will they remain the same thanks to the neighborhood’s established popularity and the fact that the shutdown will have a foreseeable end date? Share your thoughts below.
We’re hearing lots of anguish and anxiety over the possibility of an L subway shutdown for repairs for as long as a year or more, and we’ve taken a look at some possible solutions. Now, we’ve asked the real estate data geeks at NeighborhoodX to go a little deeper beneath the grumbling to find out just how much convenience can be had along that thin grey line, and how it stacks up against other neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
So which other neighborhoods offer commute times similar to the L train stops—and—just as important when choosing a neighborhood–how do their rents compare? And if you’re living along the L, in light of the shutdown, what neighborhood alternatives do you have in the city that provide a similar commute?
Image via Allen1628famm/YouTube
The MTA’s announcement of possible plans to close the L train for months or even years at a time to repair the Hurricane Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tunnel has businesses scrambling and commuters (the train has 300,000 riders on the average weekday) fearful. Data mapping company CartoDB offers a bit of “location intelligence” to better understand the consequences of a shutdown for people living in Brooklyn and, more importantly, what some realistic alternatives to the L train might be.
For example, shuttle buses: “If the shuttle bus takes 20 minutes, we are able to calculate the best choices for riders along the L needing to get to Manhattan. Should they go all the way to Lorimer and take the shuttle bus or should they transfer earlier at Myrtle-Wyckoff to the M train or at Broadway Junction to the A?”