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As L train shutdown approaches, bus tour previews the challenges ahead

More than 400,000 people ride the L train every day between Brooklyn and Manhattan—and we’re just seven months away from its shutdown for necessary repairs of the so-called Canarsie Tunnel.  So, now’s the time to make sure there’s a substantive plan in place to get people to and from Manhattan.

Last month, I led a bus tour in partnership with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYC Transit President Andy Byford for local elected officials and community board representatives to see first-hand the challenges ahead for the massive expansion of  bus service during the shutdown.

Starting at Grand Street at Bushwick Ave. in Brooklyn, we traveled over the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, made a loop through the Lower East Side and SoHo, and then turned left onto  14th Street at First Avenue and travelled westbound all the way to 10th Ave. It was a mash-up of the multiple bus shuttle routes which will be put in place come April 2019.

There will be vehicle restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge to make way for buses; cars will be required to carry two or more passengers for 17 hours a day (between 5am and 10pm); and buses will travel along 14th Street at a rate of one every minute during rush hours. Other train lines will see added capacity (more cars or more frequency) and NYCT hopes that about 70% of L train riders will be accommodated by other lines.

But it’s clear much remains to be done. The Transit Authority must plan to do a better job communicating with customers in real time; I suggested to NYCT President Byford that the agency create an app so that L train riders better understand their options into and out of Manhattan.

I will keep you informed as shutdown planning progresses.

Categories: Transportation