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MTA offers two options for L train closure: bad and worse

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What the L kind of choice is that?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority presented subway surfers with two closure plans for fixing the Sandy-ravaged L train tunnel to Manhattan on Thursday — either sever the connection completely for 18 months, or drastically reduce service on the already overcrowded line for three years — but straphangers said it was pretty clear that the authority has already set its mind on option A.

“I don’t think they’re giving us a choice,” said Williamsburger and lifelong Brooklynite Patricia Dobosz after seeing the authority’s pitch to residents at the Marcy Avenue Armory. “They’re making it look like a choice, but I don’t think they really are.”

Agency honchos touted the full closure as the “most efficient” option, while warning that dramatically diminished service — which would offer one train every 12 to 15 minutes while workers repair one track at a time — would still grind to a complete halt any time there was a construction problem, and that only one in five customers would actually be able to squeeze into the infrequent cars.

In both scenarios, the L would operate as a local line in Brooklyn, but with only one train around every eight minutes — twice as long as the wait now during the morning rush and two minutes longer than the evening rush — which an agency presentation described as “near normal service.”

Officials stressed the need to act quickly — although work to repair the damage from the 2012 Superstorm won’t begin until 2019, and the public only found out about it when it did thanks to a media leak in February.

Residents largely agreed that the faster plan was the best of the two options on offer — though they were told that alternative suggestions of only closing nights and weekends, or building a new tunnel entirely, were out of the question.

Repairs would kick up toxic dust that takes time to clean — so opening and closing the tunnels every day would be impossible — and a new tunnel would take too long to design and build, agency czar Tom Prendergast claimed.

But many said the plan they really want to see is what alternative transportation the agency will offer.

Officials said they will add more cars to the J and M lines and more carriages to the G, and will ask the city if it will carve out a dedicated bus lane across the Williamsburg Bridge to ferry passengers from the Bedford Avenue station. Riders may also be able to transfer between some lines for free, including from the Broadway G stop to the Lorimer Street J and M stop, they said.

But one local entrepreneur said the agency really needs to offer shuttle service from every affected L stop — busing to and from the nearest alternate trains to keep as many visitors coming to the nabe as possible.

“If that went frequently enough, you wouldn’t sacrifice as much of the local traffic,” said Jen Durbin, who owns a business near the Jefferson Street stop.

The meeting itself went far smoother than some of the transit body’s previous interactions with locals over the proposed closure, including a February town hall where crowd members practically ran a rep out the door for refusing to answer their questions.

Officials only answered pre-written questions, and came armed with a slick video and a display of damaged hardware from the tube to make their case.

But officials will have to face the gauntlet again before they choose their final course of action — Prendergast said they will settle on a plan in the next few months after making the rounds at community boards of affected neighborhoods.

Reader poll

Which "option" do you prefer?

Posted 2:57 pm, May 6, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
I was at the public meeting and I am supporting a full, 18 month shutdown unless there is a cooperative and major contingency plan by both the MTA and the NYC DOT, as well as a cooperative and positive communication between the MTA and the NYC DOT and the general public such as stakeholders, small businesses and residents. I suggest the following: 1) Add more subway cars for the G train service, in order to make it from 300 feet to 600 feet; 2) Add more service on the G, J, M and Z train service; 3) Reopened all of the closed subway entrances in Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick; 4) Implement a free, most of system transfer between the Broadway G train station and the Lorimer Street J and M train station; 5) Replace the HEET turnstiles with low turnstiles and put CCTV Surveillance Cameras, in order to deter fare evasion; 6) Add more service along the existing bus services that will be impacted by this closure; 7) Use articulated buses for shuttle bus service; 8) Implement and operate Select Bus Service along 14th Street and if successful, make it permanent. With the overall construction costs of doing business with NYC are going up because of the aging, complicated and sophisticated infrastructure, it is vital to get in there are get it done, do it ASAP and as accountable, convenient, efficient, reliable, sustainable and transparent as possible.
May 6, 2016, 12:19 pm
Mélanie from Bushwick says:
Efficient A. Great!
May 6, 2016, 1:29 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:51 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:52 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:52 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:52 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:52 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:52 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:52 pm
John from W'burg says:
Get it done and over with - shut it completely for 18 months and let's get to the other side of it sooner rather than later - fully mitigate with the good suggestions Pedro makes above.

Cutting service by 80% and having it last twice as long is not a real or viable alternative. If you cut service by 50% and had it last twice as long that is a fair trade. For an 80% cut you might a well just not run it at all and get on with it and get it done as fast as you can.
May 6, 2016, 4:52 pm
Rudy from Williamsburg says:
I agree with John, John, John, John, John, John, John and John.
May 7, 2016, 10:03 pm
Rudy from Williamsburg says:
I agree with John, John, John, John, John, John, John and John.
May 7, 2016, 10:03 pm
Qwitcher——in from Auburndale Queens says:
buy a car and shut the f*** up
May 7, 2016, 10:30 pm

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