Home Brooklyn MTA vows to talk on L train shutdown

MTA vows to talk on L train shutdown

by Benjamin Kabak

Before Mayor de Blasio’s streetcar bombshell last week, the MTA’s L train problem had taken center stage. With word out that the agency will have to shut the Canarsie Tube for either 18 or 36 months to perform unavoidable Sandy-related repairs, the Williamsburg and Bushwick communities, to say nothing of those further east, were up in arms, and the group’s first meeting with the MTA ended badly. The MTA official sent to listen wasn’t prepared to talk, and the community organizers summarily kicked him out of the meeting. Things could only go from there, and so far, they have, bit by bit.

Following meetings at the end of last week with local politicians, the MTA sent out a Saturday press release promising to work collaboratively with the neighborhoods to minimize the affects of the shutdowns. As the bench walls that line the Canarsie Tubes, for starters, will have to be torn out and rebuilt, lengthy shutdowns are all but unavoidable. The agency, however, will listen to concerns and plot alternative options as best it can.

“The Canarsie Tubes were heavily damaged during Superstorm Sandy when they were flooded with 7 million gallons of saltwater, which has eaten away at the metal and concrete materials that make up the tubes’ infrastructure,” agency head Tom Prendergast said. “We need to bring the Canarsie Tubes to a state of good repair, and we need to work closely with the community and its elected officials to determine the best way to proceed with this work and provide travel alternatives while it occurs.”

On Friday, Prendergast and new NYC Transit President Ronnie Hakim met with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney along with State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, City Council Member Stephen Levin and representatives from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ and Senator Daniel Squadron’s office. It was a veritable gathering of the minds, and these politicians convinced the MTA to consult with the communities affected by a shutdown while planning the work. Maloney, who was key in securing billions of federal dollars for the Fix & Fortify work, seemed happy. “Our meeting with Chairman Prendergast was productive,” she said, “and I am very pleased that the MTA has agreed to host community engagement meetings in the near future so that all my constituents who will be affected by the work can be sure that their concerns are heard.”

In announcing these meetings, the MTA stressed the benefits of the L line work. The agency plans to piggyback additional upgrades onto the Sandy repair work, which will include more entrances at the Bedford Ave. stop and staircases at Ave. A on the Manhattan side of the tunnel. The MTA will also install three new power substations which should allow for more frequent service. If only digging out tail tracks west of 8th Ave. were part of the plan as well.

But in announcing this community consultation process, the agency stressed that, while the tubes are reliable for now, 7100 feet of tunnel need to be repaired, and there’s no real good way around that. The community group is set to convene again on February 24, but the MTA hasn’t yet pledged to attend that meeting. Hopefully, the next few sessions are more cooperative and collaborative on both sides that the last. Otherwise, this already-painful process will just become worse.

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Roger February 10, 2016 - 12:15 am

Are they going to shutdown the entire L? Will the 8 Av to 1 Av section be shut down as well?

Also, a good opportunity to build to transfer to 3 at Junius.

MF February 10, 2016 - 12:19 am

Unknown at this point; it may be a complete shutdown similar to Montague or a partial shutdown with some form of shuttle operating in one tube at a time. My bet is on the latter since the Canarsie tunnels don’t really have any redundancy.

SEAN February 10, 2016 - 11:36 am

I agree since the former makes the most sense. Just do it & get it over with.

Dexter February 10, 2016 - 12:18 pm

they aren’t going to shut down the entire L service. I don’t know where people keep getting that from. Shutting down the tubes and closing the entire line are two completely different things.

Avi February 10, 2016 - 12:58 pm

The eastern portion will remain open, but closing both tubes will mean shutting down the Manhattan segment too. With the tubes out of commission there will be no way to get trains to/from the yard for repairs.

One of the biggest advantages for a 1 tube 36 month shutdown over the 18 month complete shutdown is that limited Manhattan shuttle service can remain.

Roger February 10, 2016 - 5:51 pm

A complete shutdown will not just be a Williamsburg issue but a LES/Stuvy town issue as well.

MF February 10, 2016 - 12:15 am

Forget tail tracks, how about a new station at 10th Ave? (I work in MPD; I can dream, can’t I? 🙂 )

Roger February 10, 2016 - 12:17 am

And then a 10th avenue line to 72th street 1/2/3…. Let’s dream big 🙂

MF February 10, 2016 - 12:20 am

I wasn’t dreaming *quite* so big; I just thought of finishing the 7 extension with a station at Chelsea Piers and a transfer to the L at 14th and 10th. 🙂

BruceNY February 11, 2016 - 2:44 pm

Indeed, the “tail tracks” on the 7 already extend all the way down to 25th Street (how many train lengths fit in nine city blocks???) so only a station cavern from 23rd to 25th needs to be carved out. Since 7 trains seem limited to about 20mph on this brand new section of track as it is, how vital would tail tracks beyond 23rd be anyway?
They manage at 8th Avenue on the L without them.

adirondacker12800 February 11, 2016 - 3:24 pm

Wikipedia, pointing at a dead link at the MTA, says the 7 line can run 29 trains an hour.
With the tail tracks, the train doesn’t have to creep into the station which increases capacity. It would increase capacity on the L if they built some.
The station description on nycsubway.org says ” The tracks continue past the platform approximately to 26th Street, long enough to store two 11-car trains each. “

Stephen Bauman February 10, 2016 - 7:57 am

If only digging out tail tracks west of 8th Ave. were part of the plan as well.

There’s a quick and relatively inexpensive alternative to tail tracks for increasing tph on the 14th St Line. That’s building a wye junction to the middle storage track from the 6th Ave Station. This would permit alternate trains to terminate at 6th and 8th Aves without interfering with one another.

The 8th Ave Station currently handles 20 tph. (It’s handled 24 tph in the past and still could.) The wye relay at 6th Ave should be able to handle another 20 tph (1 minute to enter the wye, plus 1 minute to reverse direction and 1 minute to leave the wye.) The wye’s capacity could be increased to 30 tph, if the trains were modified so they could change direction without discharging and recharging their brakes.

Bigbellymon4 February 10, 2016 - 1:32 am

From the way it looks like, Canarsie tubes were hit harder than Cranberry and Rutgers tubes, but not as bad as Montague tubes. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Anyway, the MTA needs to do a full shutdown so they can get in and get out faster. Not only did that method prove effective with the Montague tubes (they really had no other choice), it will return regular service to the passengers faster. If the Essex Street trolley terminal was a bus terminal, the MTA could run shuttle buses from Bedford to/from Delancey/Essex Street. Only street space near the Bedford Av station would need to be restructured to acommodate the buses. In the end, pray for the riders of the L and hope the MTA can complete on-time.

John-2 February 10, 2016 - 2:55 am

The MTA really does need to just bite the bullet on this, lay out all the damage caused by Sandy in diagrams, documents and images and go for a full shutdown, which wouldn’t just make the tube repairs easier but also would make it easier to add the stairways at Bedford Avenue and especially the new entrance at Avenue A (which presumably will include ADA elevators).

Maxing out M train service along Sixth Avenue and making it a 24/7 service during the shutdown would seem like the best alternative option, even if that means some oddball runs from, say, Broadway Junction to Queens Plaza in order to pick up some of the L’s load (as well as to handle the added Williamsburgh passengers transferring from the G at Court Square). Nothing’s going to be perfect or fully handle what the L’s handling now, but it’s best just to get the work over and done with as fast as possible, instead of trying to maintain single track service through both tube and station construction work.

Will February 10, 2016 - 3:18 am

Could the MTA build a new L station at 14th and 10th in Manhattan?

Walt Gekko February 10, 2016 - 7:39 am

One piece of good news I’ve read elsewhere is this may not start until 2018, well after the SAS opens, which would be a big help:

Obviously, no matter WHAT is done, there are going to be major problems and residual effects. What I have is a two-pronged plan to combat this:

Part 1 is to beef up the (M) on 6th, but except for MAYBE 1-2 extra trains to Queens Plaza or 71st-Continental during rush hours, these trains (as I have previously noted elsewhere) would be an “Orange (T)” that would instead of to Queens run with the (F) to 63rd/Lex and then with the (Q) to 96th Street and 2nd Avenue, where it would terminate. This new (T) would run 6-7 TPH seven days a week (except late nights when it would run at standard overnights level), supplementing the (M) during the week and replacing the (M) along Myrtle, Broadway-Brooklyn and 6th Avenue late nights and weekends. An added bonus would be upper east side riders would have direct 6th Avenue service to Midtown with this (T) in addition to the (Q) that is scheduled to run along the line.

Part 2 is a bit more complicated:

In this case, it would have the (L) truncated to Broadway Junction (Google Earth shows there is a switch between Broadway Junction and where the line goes underground) where it can better serve the much more heavily traveled part of the line. Meanwhile, we see the flyover between the Broadway-Brooklyn and Canarsie lines wind up in revenue for the first time since 1968, in this case with the (C) train that is also a 480′ train be re-routed after West 4th, run via the (M) and then (J) to Broadway Junction and then via the current (L) to Rockaway Parkway. This version of the (C) would be a 24/7 line between Rockaway Parkway and 168th Street (I have read elsewhere there are still signals on the stretch between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Parkway so non-CBTC cars can access the Rockaway Yard). During this time the (C) and (M) (and if implemented, “Orange (T)”) would run express in Brooklyn (M/T to/from Myrtle, C to/from Broadway Junction) during peak hours while the (J) and (Z) would run local then.

I’m well aware this would create a slew of other issues (most notably the (C) merging with the (M) (and possibly (T)) and (F) at Broadway-Lafayette and the (J) at Essex, but there are going to be issues no matter what because of the (L) shutdown and this would likely minimize those. If necessary, you either run 1-2 (F) trains per hour during peak periods via the Crosstown OR you cut the (F) by 1-2 TPH and add additional (G) service to replace it during that time to help with the issues the (G) is going to face no matter what shutdown happens.

If those changes are made, there are other ripple effects, those being (as I would do them):

The (E) is extended to Euclid Avenue to replace the (C) in Brooklyn at all times and late nights is further extended to Lefferts to eliminate the late-night Lefferts shuttle. Because of capacity issues between Canal and Chambers Streets, during peak hours, select (E) trains (including ALL (E)’s that begin and end at 179th Street) are designated as and terminate at Chambers, running local while during those hours, (E) trains to Brooklyn run on the express track with the (A). Since the (C) would be leaving the line at West 4th, there would also be a supplemental (K) train (running a max of 2-5 TPH) at all times betweeen Chambers and 168th Street.

Again, I know this a far from perfect situation, but it might be the most doable for at least this period (and if proven successful could be made permanent after the (L) closure is over). There are going to be MAJOR issues all over the place with the ripple effects of this shutdown and keeping enough people off the (G) and (L) by running BOTH a re-routed (C) between Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn and 168th Street in Manhattan AND a “Orange (T)” (that really is the (M) but signed under a different letter) that runs from Metropolitan Avenue in Queens to 2nd Avenue and 96th Street in Manhattan may be the best way to minimize those problems even if it creates logjams in some cases in doing so.

Stephen Bauman February 10, 2016 - 8:00 am

All these solutions require more peak hour rolling stock than are currently available.

mister February 10, 2016 - 1:23 pm

This is why current budget forecasts include extending the life of the R32s. The R179s will be in service by then, so fleet expansion is not out of the question.

Mike M. February 10, 2016 - 8:21 am

So basically you want to disrupt service all over the city in order to create a through route to Manhattan for the least-busy section of the L line.

Walt Gekko February 10, 2016 - 8:53 am

There are going to be disruptions no matter what. Even if it doesn’t look it now, there are going to be MAJOR ripple effects all over the place caused by the (L) tunnel shutdown.

The through route from Rockaway Park to in this case 168th Street (a re-routed (C) train) has everything to do with keeping not just Canarsie passengers from adding to issues at Broadway Junction, but also to:

Keep the (M) (and possibly the (T) I suggested) from getting overcrowded along the Broadway-Brooklyn line that likely is going to be getting a massive boost in ridership from people switching from the (L) at Myrtle-Wyckoff (if not taking the (L) the other way to Broadway Junction first) as well as the (J) (and (Z)) from the same while at the same time giving those on Broadway-Brooklyn between Broadway Junction and Myrtle a direct midtown option and those between Myrtle and Essex a SECOND midtown option at a time when two (or with my (T) three) likely are needed.

Keep as many riders as possible off the (L) if they are going to Manhattan and those who would be contemplating switching to the (G) at Lorimer and going to Court Square to switch to (E) (M) and (7) trains that are already overcrowded in many cases (and if they have to do the (L) to the (G), encourage them to take the (G) the other way to Fulton where I would have special OOS transfers to the (C) at Lafayette Avenue and the 2/3/4/5/B/D/F/N/Q/R and by then possibly (W) at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center).

The expected increase in demand on the Broadway-Brooklyn line in particular is why I would do this, truncating the (L) to Broadway Junction so it can better serve the portion of the line that is MUCH more heavily traveled.

This is far from perfect, but we are dealing with what is going to be a very rough situation for an extended period of time with the (L) shuttles shut down.

LordDeucey February 10, 2016 - 2:28 pm

Or, more simply (in my mind at least), run a “V” train from Marcy Av on the Jamaica line over Chrystie St to Bway/Lafayette, then express to West 4th where it navigates that switch to run express to 8th AV/14th to short turn at the stub track right before 34th St station. (Or have it continue into Queens as a local or up 2nd Av if there’s a connection between that line and the E).


johndmuller February 12, 2016 - 8:33 pm

It would appear that the necessary switches to get to/from the 8th Ave express tracks would need to be constructed somewhere. I’m not sure what the point is anyway; is it that you think that you need more M trains and there is not enough room on the 6th Ave line? If so, and it was worth the interference with the E & F lines, you could run the C express in midtown and use the W 4th St junction to move some of the M’s over to 8th Ave (rejoining the other M’s on 53rd St.). You’d still have to find room for them in Brooklyn with the JZs.

Walt Gekko February 10, 2016 - 3:33 pm

In my earlier post at the top, I meant between Canal Street and Hoyt-Schermerhorn, NOT Canal and Chambers.

Russell February 10, 2016 - 9:27 am

The MTA should definitely throw a bone to the L train riders as they endure this shutdown. The additional entrances and elevators at Bedford Ave and 1st Ave are a good start. The above mentioned tail tracks at 8th Avenue are also a good idea. I would also like to see another staircase added between the L platform and the A/C/E mezzanine at 8th Avenue – that staircase gets awfully crowded during rush hours. They might even be able to accomplish this by re-configuring the mezzanine so that if go up the western-most staircase, you can remain within the control area on the mezzanine level.

More pie in the sky – Extending the platforms to 600 feet. It’s crazy to think that more than 50 years ago in the NYC subway, platform extensions were routine, but they haven’t happened in a long time. However, there may be space limitations at the Canarsie yard, requiring expensive eminent domain to expand the yard to accommodate 10 car trains.

Regardless, politicians should leverage this shutdown to get improvements added to the L train.

Walt Gekko February 10, 2016 - 3:31 pm

The 600 foot platforms need to be done anyway and that could be done there. In most cases, however, it would actually be about a 65 foot expansion or so since most of the platforms used to be able to hold eight-car trains of BMT Standards that were 67 feet in length, or 536 feet total.

What the MTA probably could do as it is (if not now in the future) is link four and five-car sets together on the (L) that would allow those trains to be nine cars or 540 feet. It would be a tight fit with the very front and very rear of such outside the stations, but likely workable.

Brooklynite February 10, 2016 - 5:10 pm


Can someone with some clout in the transit blogosphere (like Ben!) suggest to MTA that they make the platforms 600′ if they’re closing them anyway? Judging by the lack of discussion of this it seems they just haven’t thought of it. Ideally they would have done it during the Catch Bus to Canarsie era, but now is (hopefully) the last long-term L shutdown we’ll have for decades.

Russell February 12, 2016 - 3:45 pm

Canarsie Yard is definitely a limiting factor in having 600 foot trains, but it would be worth the cost to relocate 5-10 households in order to expand the yard. Ridership is only going to continue to grow along the L train corridor.

Stephen Smith February 10, 2016 - 2:38 pm

All of this talk about doing the repairs in one go or spreading them out over nights/weekends seems to be conceding that the MTA can only do the repairs at the rate it plans. Nobody seems to be pushing for them to actually do them more efficiently, to lower the overall time that the tubes need to be shut. The cynic in me says that’s because nobody really understands what the MTA is going to do (or how it would be done abroad).

Brooklynite February 10, 2016 - 5:19 pm

Yes. I look at videos like this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s__ysTCD1wo) and recognize that our way of doing things is quite far from international best practice. It seems to me that it could be done in much less than 18 months if they actually cared, but since there’s nobody to challenge MTA’s word (those who do are met with “oh you don’t work here, you don’t understand”) nothing changes.

Roger February 10, 2016 - 7:50 pm

East Asia generally has a homogenous culture based on the concept of shame. It is hard to accomplish something like the one in your YouTube link when you are encouraged to sabotage shamelessly and get away with a six figure income.

Oh, wait. This is America, and Americans are notoriously patriotic! If I were in charge of the MTA I would instill Sptunik style paranoia by propagandizing how fast Beijing’s (or maybe Moscow’s?) subway system is growing, and brand any MTA project as being vital to the national image, interest and security of the United States. Any saboteur would be publicly denounced as a traitor and would-be terrorist on the homepage of mta.info and would be visited by joint terrorism task force on a daily basis.

AMH February 12, 2016 - 11:39 am

Very interesting–that reminds me of how the IRT constructed the Lexington and 7th Avenue lines while keeping the original route in operation, then connected the tracks in a matter of hours to create the new East and West Side lines. Not really comparable to a project where an existing tunnel has to be rebuilt, necessarily interrupting service for a long period, but the point that we should be able to get things done faster is certainly valid.

Fbfree February 10, 2016 - 3:34 pm

Maximizing capacity on the BMT Eastern division is going to have to be required pretty much regardless of the plan. Do that end, how badly does the flat junction at Marcy restrict frequencies?

Brooklynite February 10, 2016 - 5:12 pm

I’m assuming you mean at Myrtle/Broadway, and it would take some careful coordination to make increased M frequencies work despite the grade junction. London’s SSL network has loads of grade junctions but manages close to 30tph; I’m not sure if our local dispatchers can match such a performance.

TomS February 11, 2016 - 1:18 pm

Could you rebuild the station on what used to be the Myrtle Avenue El over the Broadway Line and turn the M into a Shutle that terminates there, and then run an M from rockaway Parkway as a local on Broadway when the J/Z go express? That would allow L riders from Canarsie access to Midtown, let people from Bushwick ride to Broadway Junction for an express ride to Manhattan (oh, change Marcy avenue back to a local stop and run express from Myrtle to Essex Street), and people from L stops near the Myrtle line to get a decent transfer to an express into Midtown.

Gorski February 11, 2016 - 4:33 pm

Certainly not in time for the shutdown–I could be wrong, but I’m not sure that stretch of the Myrtle El was ever really able to handle full-weight subway cars. At any rate, it’s structure that hasn’t really been used in 50 years, and there’s no stairway from the Jamaica-bound platform to the top.

The worst-case scenario would be to have it run to Broad St as it did prior to the 2010 service cuts. Given that it runs 8-10 minute service during rush hour now, adding another local train from Myrtle to Marcy shouldn’t be that bad.

Also, Marcy needs to remain an express stop because of the bus transfers from the WBurg Bridge Plaza.

TomS February 11, 2016 - 7:52 pm

Yes, it would need a structural upgrade. The Myrtle cars were the last wooden cars in the city. A look at the girders makes that clear. Why no staircase to Jamaica-bound? The upper platform was a center island; being unable to transfer to an outbound M would be a problem. (Now, you’d need to add an elevator, too.)

I don’t see the logic on keeping Marcy an express stop. If you are transferring at Wbg plaza, aren’t you going into Manhattan? If so, then any train headed into the city will do. I guess the problem is outbound, waiting for the right train to stop at Marcy?

Marcy was converted to an express stop at the request of the Hasidic community, as I recall. It makes little sense, especially with the Broadway express only skipping three stops.

Brooklynite February 11, 2016 - 5:22 pm

Whether or not it’s structurally feasible, we need to have Myrtle/Wyckoff have a direct train to Manhattan so people transfer from the L there. Shuttlifying Myrtle will encourage people to remain on the L, which we don’t want.

TomS February 11, 2016 - 7:45 pm

The transfer at Myrtle/Broadway is short, maybe 30 seconds, as no need to go from underground up. (fwiw, I rode the last train from Jay Street into Myrtle Bway. Car was ripped apart by people looking for souvenirs.) so it’s not THAT painful, except that you lose 50% of potential riders for every switch. The transfer at Broadway Junction is also very direct and fast. I’d guess M/W is a 2-3 minute transfer. Cutting out the M and running service from Canarsie does eliminate the at-grade crossing at M/B, and should allow for more service, and faster service if the J/Z can go express from Eastern Parkway (a great express run, for what it’s worth.)

Better not to have to worry about it, though.

What will they do to plug the tunnels next time?

Fbfree February 12, 2016 - 4:22 pm

The SSL manages 27 tph in the peak, which I think the Brooklyn Broadway line may be able to manage. Outbound M trains would have to be able to stand at Myrtle/Broadway without blocking outbound Js and Ls, thus they would have to run express at all times in Brooklyn. The schedules of the inbound and outbound M trains would also have to be matched, so that paths across the flat junction are maximized. This means there should be little to no bunching of the M. Therefore, the M should terminate at Broad or Chambers, and either the Canarsie or J/Z service should go up 6th Ave.

Then the critical part of the line seems to be Marcy, where a 10 mph speed restriction and high dwell times would enforce a 27 tph limit (980 feet at 10 mph = 66 seconds. + 10 s reaction time + 15 s acceleration penalty + 25 seconds dwell + 15% slack = 133 s, 27.0 tph).

Brooklynite February 12, 2016 - 10:10 pm

The point of a train service is to get people to their destinations. I don’t have the pertinent data but I’m pretty sure well over 50% of the people currently riding Manhattan-bound Ls are going to points north of Delancey St, as opposed to south of there, and would therefore prefer a 6th Avenue train to one via Nassau. Since many of the L’s passengers will be transferring at Myrtle/Wyckoff, the service through there should take them to their destinations. In other words, current M service should be maintained.

As for throughput, I’m pretty sure the Williamsburg Bridge is a big limit on capacity. After the crash there in 1995 capacity was significantly decreased in the name of safety (by increasing block lengths, lowering speed limits, etc.)

Fbfree February 13, 2016 - 3:52 pm

Many customers on the Canarsie trains will also want to head north. To make operations reliable, I’d send 9tph from Canarsie up 6th Ave rather than the Myrtle trains.

Brooklynite February 13, 2016 - 5:28 pm

Why not both? Run 15tph on the M with half going to Metropolitan and half to Canarsie. Southbound L’s can turn at B’way Jct.

Brooklynite February 10, 2016 - 5:14 pm

Obviously a quicker shutdown is better but before both tubes are closed MTA needs to be absolutely sure they can accommodate all the passengers on alternative routes. I’m not convinced that’s possible.

Things like sending selected additional M trains to Canarsie are good ideas, but the capacity of the Williamsburg Bridge (and Queens crossings) is finite. Furthermore, if westbound L trains terminate at Lorimer with any sort of frequency the passageway between the G and L will likely become a crowd control disaster.

Walt Gekko February 10, 2016 - 10:28 pm

My plan (as noted above) calls for:

The (M) to be supplemented on weekdays and replaced late nights and on weekends by a new “Orange (T)” that runs to 96th Street and 2nd Avenue at all times.

The current (L) truncated to between Bedford Avenue and Broadway Junction (there are track switches coming out of the portal before Broadway Junction that allow this). This would allow the much more heavily served portion of the line to be concentrated on.

The (C) to be re-routed via the (M), (J) and then (L), running between 168th Street and Rockaway Parkway (there are signals between the flyover and Rockaway Parkway on that part of the (L) to do this).

The (E) being extended to Euclid Avenue to replace the (C) in Brooklyn (24/7 with the (E) extended to Lefferts late nights to eliminate the current shuttle between Euclid and Lefferts there) with during peak hours some (E) trains still terminating at Chambers due to limits between Canal Street and Hoyt-Schermerhorn via the Cranberry Tunnel.

A new (K) that runs between Chambers and 168th that is 2-5 TPH and supplements the line at all times (since the (C) would be turning after West 4).

This again is far from perfect, but even if it means for example having to EITHER run a couple of (F) trains (1-2 TPH) during peak hours via the crosstown OR cut a couple of (F)s and add additional (G) trains to Court Square to accommodate the expected big-time increase in ridership on the (G) during this period, it would spread out the pain between lines rather than have it concentrated in one area (as also noted, those who have to take the (L) to the (G) would be encouraged to take the (G) the other way to Fulton Street as I would add OOS transfers between the (G) there and the (C) at Lafayette Avenue and the 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R and possibly (W) at Atlantic-Barclays for that purpose), especially trying to keep riders who with the additional routes on Broadway-Brooklyn can take those instead of the (L) and and keep people as much as realistically possible from taking the (L) to Lorimer and the (G) to Court Square to avoid overcrowding the (E) (M) and (7) even further than those already are.

What would help a lot is during the time before the (L) tunnels close is to do an emergency rebuild of the tracks and platforms at Atlantic Avenue on the (L) that were very shortsightedly cut back to two backs 10 years ago. Enough of the old structure remains there that it could be rebuilt to four or even six tracks rather easily with two tracks (presumably those leading into the old Snediker Avenue platform) being used as a terminal for the (L) or as storage tracks (or both) while otherwise, the old four-track area can be rebuilt to four through tracks, allowing for separately a line to run from Rockaway Parkway via Broadway-Brooklyn while the (L) terminates at Atlantic Avenue (with in that scenario a cross-platform transfer in most cases) so it again better concentrates on the more heavily traveled portion of the line. This is something that should have been looked at anyway, but with this shutdown looming if it can be done first it should be.

Brooklynite February 10, 2016 - 11:00 pm

Please Wally, stop. STOP. The L train shutdown is bad enough, and capacity will need to be increased on the M (both along 53rd and Brooklyn Broadway), J/Z, and G. That’s it. There is no need to drag other lines into the picture! You have these ideas about the platform at Atlantic, and about the C to the Eastern Division because clearly the interlockings are not overworked as it is, and all this other stuff that’s just not necessary.

A Brooklyn Broadway service replacing the L to Canarsie is a decent idea, because it will get Canarsie riders off the L unless they absolutely need it (in which case they can transfer at ENY). The rest of your long-running ideas are simply needless complications.

Walt Gekko February 10, 2016 - 11:39 pm

The idea is to spread the pain so it’s the least amount of pain and overcrowding for any one area as I think everyone can agree this (L) shutdown is going to hurt and have major ripple effects no matter what is finally chosed.

Broadway-Brooklyn is going to get slammed beginning at Broadway Junction, which is why I have both a re-routed (C) and the “Orange (T)” (that in the latter case are really additional (M) trains signed as (T) because they are going to 96th/2nd instead of 71st-Continental) to keep people off the (L) and (G) and cut down on those going to Court Square. The added bonus of the “Orange (T)” it would besides giving those on Broadway-Brooklyn a 6th Avenue option at all times, it ALSO gives those on the upper east side the same option in addition to the (Q).

Yes, I know the logjams, but this is not about switch fantasies or anything else. Others are going to be dealing with ripple effects anyway and the idea is to simply spread out those ripple effects to where they are minimized over any one area as much as possible and to prevent for example overcrowding on the (G) where it meets the (L) and at Court Square in particular.

Sometimes, going the “complicated” route is better even if people get confused at first. People who pay attention get rewarded in this case as they should and people who complain (as there are going to be complaints no matter what) are going to have to realize this is trying to spread out people from a line that current at peak runs 20 TPH onto as many other lines as possible and prevent overcrowding as much as realistically possible.

Brooklynite February 11, 2016 - 3:33 pm

The capacity of the Brooklyn Broadway line is finite. Let’s assume you run maximum service there. If you call those extra trains (C), you’re affecting people on 6th Av, CPW, and Fulton. If you call them (M), you’re only affecting people on 6th Av and 53rd St, which is the existing (M) route. That’s not to mention that Court Square needs a supply of empty trains to take on L-train refugees from the G. Adding K service and sending the E to Euclid just useless. Just because a service can be run doesn’t mean it should be run.

In short, keep it simple. Making service complex for its own complexity is a terrible strategy. We could simply run arbitrary routings and stopping patterns, with CRs announcing everything so people “paying attention” would understand, but there’s no reason to do it. Keep in mind many users of the subway are not fluent in English or work enough hours of the day to want to get home without mental exertion in choosing a route and listening to announcements.

Walt Gekko February 11, 2016 - 8:09 pm

And as said, one of the things I would do is ALSO add additional (G) trains even if (necessary) it meant cutting 1-2 (F) TPH at peak times (or sending such (F) via the Crosstown) to do that knowing the (G) is going to need additional service to cover those taking the (G) to Court Square. It’s also why I would have the OOS transfers the other way at Hewes/Broadway (J/M/Z) and from Fulton at Lafayette Avenue (C) and Atlantic-Barclays (2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R and possibly W). Those transfers would be to encourage people to NOT take the (G) to Court Square if at all possible and instead go to the other way from Lorimer because you and I know Court Square is going to be adding to what already will be massive headaches on the E/M/7 there.

And as far as doing the merges and so forth, to me in this case it’s either that or having to deal with massive crowds at many stations as (L) riders look for alternatives.

This shutdown is going to have bigger ripple effects than people seem to realize and what I’m looking at is making it so the pain in any one spot is as minimal as possible even if it means more areas have to share the pain overall, especially since it will be felt no matter what.

Tower18 February 12, 2016 - 11:24 am

It makes no sense to needlessly “share the pain” onto riders who have nothing to do with the L shutdown.

Mike M. February 12, 2016 - 12:51 pm

The idea shouldn’t be to spread the pain. It should be to contain it.

Walt Gekko February 13, 2016 - 3:23 am

The problem is here, containing the pain may not be possible.

There are going to be massive ripple effects regardless of what is done. The ripple effects are going to be all over the place whether people want to believe that or not.

Brooklynite February 13, 2016 - 1:16 pm

Running 15tph on the M won’t be the end of the world. If there’s a delay, your “ripple effects” will affect the E, F, and J. That’s it.

If you drag the C/K, G, Q, and whatever other else into the picture, you’ve created delays on virtually half the system. By rerouting all the other lines you HAVE NOT EVEN INCREASED CAPACITY on the trouble segment (Brooklyn Broadway)… so what’s the point? You’re just making service more confusing, less reliable, and not even going where people want it to go.

Michael549 February 11, 2016 - 4:10 pm

Disaster At The Community Board Meeting
March 9, 2016

Montrose Avenue Community Gathering Center
264 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206
East Williamsburg

L Train To Montrose Avenue
Last night at the Montrose Avenue Community Gathering Center, community board president Louis Tommaso introduced the speaker for the evening, Mr. Walt Gekko who gave a presentation of his ideas for the closing the 14th Street L-train Tunnel that connects East Williamsburg to Manhattan, and eastern Brooklyn. The MTA says that tunnels need major repair work due to the corrosion effect of salt water on the tunnel walls during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Then several subway tunnels were filled with millions of gallons of salt water leaving the MTA with the task of repairing those tunnels and repairing an entire subway station in southern Manhattan.

Mr. Walt Gekko explained that he is proposing that the MTA close those subway tunnels for three (3) years to allow the re-construction to proceed smoothly. He proposed a series of items that he said would help East Williamburg subway riders to get to and from their destinations and work places during the tunnel outage. The crowd at the community were very, very skeptical of his ideas, and the evening took a dark turn as the night wore on.

Mr. Walt Gekko said that he’d like to take half of the trains assigned to the L-train and create a new route of “C” trains running up to Washington Heights. These trains would have to run through a complicated network of tracks during their journey. Jamil, a long time resident interrupted him to say, “What! You want to take away half of our trains and send them to Washington Heights?”

“Well yes, that way everybody shares the pain of losing the 14th Street tunnel” said Mr. Walt Gekko.

“How does sending half of our trains to Washington Heights help us? Their tunnel is not closing! said Jamil shouting. “Their tunnel is not closing!” he repeated. How are they “sharing” our pain? Jamil demanded to know.

“Well you people have to understand that my plan has everything to do with trying to spread the pain out as much as possible because people are going to be affected all over the place no matter what is chosen, even if they live in areas not even close to the L,” explained Walt Gekko.

“So you take half of our already crowded trains, so that we have to wait longer for very over-crowded trains – because that is “sharing the pain”! Have you have lost your damn mind!” Screamed Jamil.

Those people in Washington Heights are NOT in pain! We Are! Right here! Right Now! What are YOU going to do about that! Screamed Jamil. Nothing! Screamed Jamil.

Well, I want to send some of those L-trains – that won’t be yours anymore, I want to send them up the eastside of Manhattan on the new Second Avenue subway, said Walt Gekko.

“Fuck That” – “You wanna send our trains to the rich upper Eastside! Talk about taking from the poor and giving to the rich! You have some nerve! Shouted Maria, a long time quiet church going woman in the community.

The community board president Louis Tommaso interrupted and said, “I know you’re going to discuss shuttle buses and other transit services that will be made available, right?

“No, no, nope. I don’t need to talk about such mundane things, because I have a grand plan. You see I want to re-build the Atlantic Avenue station in East New York so that I could …” Walt Gekko started to say.

“And how the hell does that help us right here, right now? said Louis Tommaso, a man usually noted for being very polite to every one.

The discussion at the meeting did not get any better. “You people just have to understand that I envision an Orange T train that will help folks get around Manhattan better and …” Walt Gekko trailed.

“You see its the people who pay attention who are the ones who … it is complicated, may be you’re not capable of understanding ..” Walt Gekko tried to explain.

Jamil shouted, “And just how do we get from here to Manhattan?”

“Well, I’m thinking that you could walk to the G-train, and then once you’re in downtown Brooklyn we’d have walking transfers to the other subway lines. That might add 40 minutes to an hour of extra traveling, but I don’t have to worry about that,” said Walt Gekko. “Some you might even have suffer an additional hour or 2 hours extra traveling time once everything is taken into account, but that’s okay. It is the sharing the pain that’s important!” Walt Gekko added.

By this time, the crowd had risen to their feet & the lights in the center suddenly went off.

At one point in the evening, Maria was seen in the kitchen heating several large pots on the stove that later analysis revealed were filled with cooking oil. The NYPD confirmed that feathers that were to be used for an art project from the arts and crafts room was stolen. Later closed circuit cameras recorded Jamil ripping open several large pillows to gather the feathers. Cords and rope were also found in the large community room.

The location of Mr. Walt Gekko however remains a mystery, but sources at the NYPD revealed that they will be looking into board president Louis Tommaso and the usage of his regular workplace at 264 Bushwick Ave, Brooklyn.

Walt Gekko February 11, 2016 - 8:36 pm

Even I had to get a laugh out of that one:

I get it, but this is going to be a BIG case of “dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t” and it won’t matter what you do, people are going to be PO’ed at you no matter what. I’d be looking at it knowing I’m going to have a slew of people PO’ed at me regardless of what is done.

What I wrote is to me is the way to make the least number of people PO’ed as possible.

I do get where you’re coming from. I’m also looking at it from the perspective we know what is going to happen at Court Square if the shutdown happens over 2-3 years on both tubes and how severely overcrowded the (E)/(M) and (7) platforms are and ALSO the fact CBTC work on Queens Boulevard is going to make it near impossible over much of that time to have the (M) run weekends on QB is why I have the “Orange (T)” to 96th and 2nd at all times as that would be the (M) supplement weekdays and replace it late nights and weekends.

Fact is, there are going to be jam-ups all over the place no matter what and this going to be a game of “pick your poison” regardless of what direction this eventually winds up in.

Brooklynite February 12, 2016 - 3:53 pm

By getting the C, E, G, and T involved you are making people along those routes MORE angry but NOT making the people along the L line LESS angry. Therefore you should keep the service changes as isolated as reasonably possible.

Walt Gekko February 13, 2016 - 3:26 am

Actually, you’re going to have people PO’ed no matter what as noted.

And yes, they will be angry, but you’re trying to move 300,000 people who normally take the (L) into Manhattan in most cases to other lines. There is going to be massive pain no matter what.

Brooklynite February 13, 2016 - 1:17 pm

And you’ve just PO’ed three times the number of people, with no gain for L train riders! Keep it isolated.

Spendmor Wastemor February 12, 2016 - 9:42 am

This is all too complicated.

Get planks from excess sidewalk sheds around the city, attach them end-to-end with hinges, and set them across the East River. Charge $10 each way for the East River TuffWalk, but with a special deal for MTA customers: a free transfer from the L train! That’s a $20 per day, $100/week value FREE just for riding the subway! If people complain about 10 minutes of free, healthy open sky time with spectacular views of the 14th st Edison plant, well there’s no hope for’em.

Will February 19, 2016 - 8:22 am

Just look how the TA handle the Williamburg bridge closing. You had the M terminated at Mytle Ave. J/Z trains at Marcy and shuttle service on Nassua st. and shuttle buses between Brooklyn and Manhattan. For L train shutdown, the L will have a Manhattan shuttle. Tubes are closed and two shuttle bus. One to midtown through 34 street tunnel and other to 14 street and 1ave connecting with L shuttle. I would also send 4tph M to 8ave 34street. That way there I some capacity attain from the shuttle buses


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