Home Superstorm Sandy Three years or 18 months: The two options for the L train shutdown

Three years or 18 months: The two options for the L train shutdown

by Benjamin Kabak
The MTA has published two proposed plans for the L train shutdown.

The MTA has published two proposed plans for the L train shutdown.

One new to New York could be forgiven for believing as though L train riders are the only people to ride the subway or be inconvenienced by long-term construction work. For six months, the entirety of the focus of news coverage of the MTA’s Sandy recovery efforts has revolved around the L train, and while L train shutdown fatigue may be settling in three years ahead of the planned work, with so many daily riders, ahead of tonight’s public meeting, the drumbeat will only grow louder as the MTA has unveiled their potential options for the work.

Before I delve into the details, it’s worth noting that, no matter the MTA’s ultimate outcome, many L train riders have easy access to alternative routes. Every one traveling near or to the east of Broadway Junction can access the J, A and C trains (or even the 3 train), and those who live in Bushwick and the southern parts of Williamsburg can get to the M. The G, with all of its flaws, provides a connection to Queens, and the MTA has expressed a willingness to improve G train service and lengthen G trains during any L train work. Other routes will be more crowded and trips will be slower, but along with a bus lane across the Williamsburg Bridge, the infrastructure is in place to handle the L train shutdown. In other words, it’s not nearly as bad as the dire predictions of doom and gloom make it out to be.

The duct banks that line the Canarsie Tube will have to be rebuilt entirely.

The duct banks that line the Canarsie Tube will have to be rebuilt entirely.

That said, it’s not pretty. By itself, the L would be the 10th busiest subway system in the United States, and a prolonged shutdown will lead to disgruntled commuters. To that end, the MTA is officially consider two options. Gone is the idea, pushed foolishly by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, of work only on nights and weekends. Besides a potential seven-year timeframe under that approach, MTA officials determined that, per The Times, the “complex work could not be done in such a narrow window.” WNYC notes that air quality concerns foreclose the nights-and-weekends approach. The MTA also has said that building a new tunnel is too costly and time-consuming to be a viable option.

So what remains is either an 18-month total shutdown of the Canarise Tunnel or a three-year partial shutdown which would see service reduced to around 20 percent of its current volume. In each case, the MTA would run L trains between Rockaway Parkway and Lorimer Ave., but the three-year plan would create a gap in service between Lorimer and Bedford Avenues. Meanwhile, J and Z trains would operate as local and M train service would be increased. The agency would lengthening G trains to bolster capacity, and the MTA plans to work with the city to increase East River ferry service. The MTA has also expressed a willingness to establish bus-only lanes across the Williamsburg Bridge which I have long believed to be key to an alternative service arrangements. In the event of a partial tunnel shutdown, L trains would continue to run under the East River but only approximately 4-5 times per hour in each direction.

The top map shows the effects of a three-year one-tube closure, and the bottom shows alternate routes for an 18-month shutdown. (Click to enlarge)

The top map shows the effects of a three-year one-tube closure, and the bottom shows alternate routes for an 18-month shutdown. (Click to enlarge)

Publicly, the agency hasn’t expressed a strong preference for one approach or another, and officials say they want to hear out the concerns of the community of L train riders before making a final decision. But in comments to the press, MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast seemed to indicate which way the winds are blowing. Emma Fitzsimmons reports:

After receiving input from residents and businesses, the agency plans to decide which option to pursue within three months. Asked whether he would rather close the whole tunnel at once, Mr. Prendergast said the agency was committed to hearing from the community before making a decision. But he noted that when people learned more about the plans, they often favored a full closing.

“I think there is an ‘Aha’ moment they have in their minds, like, ‘Geez if it’s only one in five people you can carry, maybe it would be better to have two tracks,’” Mr. Prendergast said in reference to closing the tracks in both tubes, the more efficient of the two options.

I’ve advocated for 18-month total shutdown. Get in and get out quickly seems to be better for the neighborhood that three years of frustratingly insufficient service.

Meanwhile, along with word of the potential approaches to the closure, the MTA released photos and a B-roll video of current conditions in the Canarsie Tube. You can see the footage below, and the MTA stressed that the tunnel remains safe. That said, despite protestations that trains will have run for six years before work begins, the MTA says it has no choice. “A collapsed duct bank could derail a train, and the worst place to be with a derailed train is in an under-river tunnel,” Prendergast said to reporters. “The longest distance between emergency exits is in the under-river tunnels.” That is, of course, the worst case scenario but one that inches ever closer to reality.

Finally, MTA officials confirmed that the shutdown would allow for new entrances to be constructed at both the Bedford and 1st Ave. stations to improve station access and passenger flow. The agency has not discussed the possibility of using a full 18-month shutdown to build tail tracks west of the 8th Ave. station, a move many transit advocates see as vital to improving L train service and line capacity.

The fun starts tonight with the first of two public meetings. Details are here, and I would expect a raucous and irate crowd. But the L train is just one part in a complex transportation network. Everyone will get through it.

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Tim May 5, 2016 - 2:17 pm

I’m down with the full shutdown. I don’t use the L train all that much, but I’ve lived near 2nd ave for the last decade, so I’ve been putting up with construction hassles for a long time. The hipsters will survive, and the folks farther out have several options.

They should fast-track that L/3 interchange, to help out a bit.

John-2 May 5, 2016 - 2:44 pm

The full shutdown would seemingly make the other infrastructure work at Bedford and First Avenue easier to install as well, without having to worry about passenger safety, let alone doing new tail tracks west of Eighth Avenue at the same time they’re trying to keep service running.

digamma May 5, 2016 - 2:49 pm

The thing about the dedicated bus route is that it’s hard to overestimate the amount of political opposition it will draw. We couldn’t even get a dedicated bus lane on 34th St for half of Queens to use. Are Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side going to give up part of 14th St for the dreaded Brooklyn hipster?

Corey May 5, 2016 - 2:54 pm

While it’s probably going to end up being a 18-month full shutdown, I wonder if there it’s a way to increase the capacity of the half-shutodown by eliminating all stops in Manhattan except for Union Square, and using the other track as a local shuttle between 8th ave and 1st ave.

Or, still using one side as a shuttle, have on train skip Lorimer and go directly to Bedford then 6th ave, while the next train skips Bedford and stops at Union Square.

Chris C May 5, 2016 - 3:04 pm

It really has to be full shutdown.

Throw everything at it to get the work done ASAP.

At the same time make sure all the stations that would need to be closed have every single outstanding repair completed as well – whether it’s a cracked tile, a broken step edge or light fitting. Fix everything and deep clean everything as well.

Asher May 5, 2016 - 3:09 pm

This press release by the MTA prior to the meeting is a DISTRACTION:
Clearly, a full shutdown will be done.
This release of the two options is to center the discussion regarding the question of which option is better (the answer is obvious), and to distract from the important questions:

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE IMPORTANT ISSUES that the community should hold the NTA accountable for that MUST be done with any of the L closure options::

a. Tail and storage tracks at 8th ave., which is the biggest constraint to increased service.

[The current max 19 TPH on the L line, or even the expected 22 TPH, isn’t a convincing PR case for more CBTC expansion. In fact, it makes the CBTC argument seem as just an untrue PR case for a very expensive signal overhaul but without a capacity upgrade. (By the way, how did they used to run 25 L TPH without the proposed additional substations?)]

b. Station platform extensions to accommodate 10 cars.

This was previously done on many NYC lines from 5 cars to 10 cars – from almost 9 to 10 shouldn’t be an insurmountable feat for the MTA. THIS WILL BE A 25% CAPACITY INCREASE (8 cars to 10 cars).

If not done now, even if in the future the option arises to adjust the East NY yards to accommodate 10 car trains – the MTA will say that they can’t shut down the L line to expand the platforms… So the time is now.

c. A feasibility study with a quick deadline listing the options – including construction timelines and cost – of being able to create G Loop service from either end through Manhattan.

[One of the options which is actually currently possible, reversing out of the last station at either end, would require a motorman at either end to eliminate dwelling time – but that wouldn’t even be an additional labor cost, as the G already has an employee at either end of the train, and the MTA can employ motormen at either end, which would perform the conductor duties (as is currently done) when the other one is driving].

[P.S. As far as system closure efficiency, one doesn’t need to look too far, to find other MTA system closures, with little, or inefficient, work to show for it. Many of the weekend closures show very little work being done there, as well as many of the existing many-month closures of stations.

These can be easily photographed and then publicized, e.g. from the opposite Sea Beach N line platforms, or on the weekend when traveling on the adjacent local/express tracks – to show that there isn’t much work being done on these long closures, many times without a single worker to be seen for many miles of closed track].

TimK May 5, 2016 - 4:35 pm

[One of the options which is actually currently possible, reversing out of the last station at either end, would require a motorman at either end to eliminate dwelling time – but that wouldn’t even be an additional labor cost, as the G already has an employee at either end of the train, and the MTA can employ motormen at either end, which would perform the conductor duties (as is currently done) when the other one is driving].

The G currently has OPTO, but the MTA has promised to lengthen G trains during the L shutdown, and I believe OPTO is only permitted on shorter trains. So what you may have on the trains is a T/O and a C/R rather than two T/O’s. Having a T/O at each end would bump the staff requirement up from two to three per train.

Alex May 5, 2016 - 4:21 pm

If I’m reading that map correctly, the 3 year partial shutdown appears to have Brooklyn trains terminating at Lorimer and Manhattan “shuttle” trains terminating at Bedford with a shuttle bus connecting the two stops. If that’s accurate, it seems pretty clear which option the MTA is planning to go with. Showing how crappy the partial closure option is makes the more practical one more palatable to the public.

Tower18 May 5, 2016 - 7:01 pm


Stephen Smith May 5, 2016 - 4:58 pm

I can’t read the captions – does it say “SBS” under M23 and M14?!?

Also – any word on whether the MTA is considering 24/7 M train service? (Like, real M train service, from Middle Village to Midtown.) It would be pretty awful if there were no way one-seat rides at all from Midtown to Bushwick outside of weekdays during the daytime.

Riverduckexpress May 5, 2016 - 9:30 pm

DOT has already started engaging with the public about SBS on the M23


Walt Gekko May 5, 2016 - 11:07 pm

As noted in my other posts below, my plan calls for a split of the (M) into (M) and (T) services, with (M) run as it is now and the (T) a 24/7 line to 96th/2nd (5-7 TPH weekdays including at peak, 7-9 TPH weekends and 3-5 TPH late nights/4-6 TPH late Friday and Saturday if warranted).

Mike M. May 6, 2016 - 6:53 am

Ugh. Enough with this. You keep posting your elaborate thing on this board and elsewhere even though every time, people explain to you at length why it’s absurd. L riders are going to be inconvenienced no matter what. There’s no need to compound the problem by expanding the confusion and disrupting service all over the city.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 11:57 am

It to me seems more people don’t like their lines being messed with, but in this case, doing so is likely necessary.

In this case, there’s NO change in the regular (M) on weekdays, it remains as it is now, 19/5 to 71-Continental. The (T) is an additional line that is exactly as advertised during the week, a supplement running 5-7 TPH to 96th/2nd and on weekends and late nights absorbing the (M) shuttles that run then. The problems I well noted already with adding (M) service to 71-Continental.

It’s better in this case to spread out the pain. Court Square by itself likely will not be able to handle all the displaced (L) riders and at the very least I would be looking to extend the (G) to Queens Plaza (timing such so it can quickly cross over between tracks to get back to the local the other way) so a transfer to the (R) at QP is an option.

Mike M. May 6, 2016 - 1:59 pm

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

Riders in Williamsburg are screwed no matter what. What you’re proposing offers them little relief, yet it screws around with other people’s service as far away as Jamaica, Washington Heights and the Upper East Side and jacks up Sixth Avenue and Queens Boulevard with extra trains and switching moves.

As for the shell game you’re proposing for Manhattan, there’s no way they will run a line without access to shops. First major breakdown and the whole operation grinds to a halt for the duration.

Dan May 5, 2016 - 5:47 pm

Has any serious consideration ever been made to installing an extra set of tracks on the Williamsburg Bridge? It seems like it would be easy enough to tie the G into that, and then going up 6th Ave, with the M going back downtown. Obviously there would be people who would moan about losing a car lane, but a train would carry way more people, and it would pretty much solve the whole L-shutdown issue.

Eric May 6, 2016 - 7:29 am

The G is underground and the JMZ elevated. It would be very expensive and disruptive to build a track connection.

Dan May 6, 2016 - 10:18 am

Yes, it’s underground, but a subway connection could be built from Metropolitan, underneath Grand to the bridge, after which it’s all underground anyway. It wouldn’t be cheap, but it is only a half of a mile to the bridge, and one would think the political will would be there to handle that disruption if it meant an easier L shutdown.

kevdflb May 6, 2016 - 11:14 am

Easy to draw on a map.
Hard to build.
Do you have any engineering studies showing that the WBB can structurally handle 4 subways tracks?

Dan May 6, 2016 - 1:07 pm

Hard to build as would anything, but I don’t see how that would be any more difficult than any service expansion. I’m not aware of any engineering studies, but I would presume that’s only because no one has wanted to waste the political capitol on the idea, and given that the bridge was built to carry 2 tracks of old heavy LIRR trains plus 4 trolley tracks, it seems to me an idea that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

bigbellymon4 May 6, 2016 - 11:48 pm

Wait, the WB used to carry LIRR trains? When was this and where are the connections for the this (the connections are long gone, but where we’re they)?

Dan May 7, 2016 - 8:48 am

If I’m not mistaken, the connection was just past the East New York station on the Atlantic Ave line, running elevated where the JZ trains are now over Broadway. They only ran it like that for a few years before it was converted to el/subway.

Bolwerk May 6, 2016 - 2:22 pm

It should be able to if it can handle cars and trucks. I think rail infrastructure is actually lighter because less support is needed (no ocean of concrete/asphalt/reinforcing steel).

Larry Littlefield May 5, 2016 - 5:53 pm

The shutdown proposal is a big mistake, because it keeps (empty) trains running on the L in Brooklyn.

The L should be shut down in Brooklyn beyond Broadway Junction, and all the stations closed.

And trains, train operators and conductors, and station personnel who would be wasted there should be redeployed to other lines providing alternative service.

Buses should be sufficient for those traveling along the route but no farther.

Benjamin Kabak May 5, 2016 - 5:59 pm

Why would the trains running along the L be empty?

Larry Littlefield May 5, 2016 - 9:24 pm

Because they don’t run through to Manhattan. You’d only have people going from one stop to another along the line within Brooklyn, which isn’t a lot.

Transferring from the L to the G to the M to something else isn’t going to be a better deal than walking to a line still running through.

And it will be worse if they take trains from the L to the other lines, because it will be long wait for the L followed by those transfers.

But if they don’t take trains from the L, they wouldn’t have enough trains and people to beef up service on the other lines enough.

Eric May 6, 2016 - 7:31 am

If they reduced the L headways from every 4 minutes to say every 10 minutes, there would still be an L, and plenty of trains would be left for elsewhere.

Michael549 May 7, 2016 - 2:17 pm

“Because they don’t run through to Manhattan. You’d only have people going from one stop to another along the line within Brooklyn, which isn’t a lot.”

Why do some folks think that a transit line that does not run through or to Manhattan is somehow “useless”?

Basically saying, “people along the line STAYING within Brooklyn, which isn’t a lot.” As if those folks do not have transit needs that are currently being met by the L-train – even if the Manhattan portion is closed for repair.

The 18-month duration of the 14th Street Tunnel closing does not make the remaining open sections of the L-train “useless”. Yes, plenty of folks will have to transfer trains or use shuttle buses to get to other lines to get to Manhattan. At least at a future point the 14th Street tunnel will be repaired and transit fans will find something else to complain about.



LLQBTT May 9, 2016 - 9:06 am

Many folk will still use the L as a connecting service from their home stations to Manhattan bound trains whether it be the A C G J M Z services.

kevdflb May 6, 2016 - 11:11 am

I generally like your comments Larry, but this one is completely asinine.
I read that 125000 use the L ONLY within Brooklyn every day.
Add to that the number of riders originating east of Lorimer who will now be transferring to the G, M, J, Z, A, C and 3 trains instead of transferring along 14th street you’ve got a level of ridership that buses cannot come close to handling.

Jimmy Snoogans May 10, 2016 - 2:51 am

I live in Williamsburg and rarely go into the city. I use the L to go deeper in to Brooklyn and Queens several times a week, and also to get the G to get into Queens at least once weekly (which used to be my 4x weekly commute).

Peter May 5, 2016 - 6:19 pm

Ben, when you say “the agency has not discussed the possibility of using [the shutdown] to build tail tracks west of the 8th Ave.” do you mean merely that they have not discussed this publicly, or that your sources tell you these discussions are not going on within the agency, period?

Chet May 5, 2016 - 8:56 pm

Further question about that idea… What are the costs of building such tail tracks and does that mean new tunneling beyond the 8th Ave station or is that part of the infrastructure there already?

Caelestor May 5, 2016 - 11:26 pm

Like the 7 extension, the tunnels would extend to between 9th and 10th Aves, enabling L trains to run into 8th Ave at full speed and allowing trains to be stored there off-peak.

kevdflb May 6, 2016 - 11:12 am

There are no tunnels there.
They would need to be built.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 11:50 am


That is something I would look at anyway with the intention of those eventually being used as part of an extension of the (L) in Manhattan via 10th/Amsterdam Avenue to most likely for now 72nd/Broadway.

SEAN May 5, 2016 - 8:07 pm

After getting my fill of rainbow bagels a few weeks ago, it became obvious witch option was the right one for the MTA. Shut the entire thing down for 18-months & get it over with already. Shockingly – even my girlfriend agrees with me on this & she rarely rides the subway.

Walt Gekko May 5, 2016 - 10:36 pm

Given this shutdown is expected to be right after the election for Governor of New York, you have to wonder if this closure is going to play into the Governor’s race in two years, especially if a strong candidate is put up against Cuomo who for example vows to order the MTA to keep the Manhattan side of the (L) running during this shutdown.

Given the Manhattan Borough President continues to insist on having 1st-8th Avenue service running during the shutdown, my compromise:

Close both tunnels BUT before doing so, taking across 6-8 sets of four-car trains that can be used for a shuttle between 1st and 8th Avenue (actually only using three sets at any one time, the spares (that can be stored on the lay-up track between 6th and 8th Avenue Stations and on whichever track between 1st and 3rd Avenues would NOT be in passenger use given only one track can be in use at any one time between just west of 3rd Avenue and 1st Avenue anyway) there so there are enough of them to get through any 6-10 week period between inspections should trainsets break down. All cars scheduled for use on this shuttle would be fully inspected just prior to being sent over.

One tunnel is completely shut down during this time at all times. The other is worked on simultaneously, but in a way where every 6-10 weeks (usually during late night hours), it can be reopened so non-electric leads can come in and take the cars in Manhattan back for inspections and replace them with a new batch of cars that take over operations on the shuttles (again 6-8 sets so there always are three sets available for operation of the shuttle). Once work on the completely shut down tunnel is complete enough so it can be used without any issues for transporting cars (during which time work on ADA access for 1st Avenue and the new Avenue A entrance is done), the tunnel that had been opened up every several weeks to switch out cars is completely shut down and work is completed on that tunnel while the other is only used to transport cars every few weeks until full signaling is restored and it is not longer necessary to run an absolute block through it.

Might take a bit longer this way, but it placates pols in Manhattan who I suspect will join the Manhattan Borough President in keeping 1st-8th Avenues running during the shutdown with the big concern being gridlock, not necessarily from extra buses that have to be run across 14th Street to accommodate those from the shutdown, but from those likely insisting on driving into Manhattan because the replacement options for the (L) are too inconvenient for them (and not necessarily on 14th Street itself either) and those as noted in New Jersey who likely can’t or won’t give up their cars that won’t necessarily go into 14th Street, but because of additional traffic there could create traffic problems elsewhere.

As for the rest, I would be looking a split M/T that serves the primary purpose of getting displaced (L) riders into Manhattan without:

The notorious conga line at 71-Continental: In a perfect world, you can have 13-15 (M) trains per hour go to 71-Continental at all times, however, there is that small problem known as the conga line that will only get worse with additional (M) trains. Add to that the added potential for unruly passengers not wanting to get off at 71-Continental and the line could be even worse.

Court Square handling the crush of displaced (L) riders by itself: We all know for many (L) riders, the (G) at Lorimer to Court Square is going to be the preferred option since you can get the (E), (M) and (7) there. The problem is, those lines by the time you get to Court Square are likely jammed with those who take other lines normally and crowding will likely be a major issue there.

These two factors were why I was looking at adding OOS transfers to the (G) at Broadway (for the J/M/Z) and at Fulton Street for the 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, encouraging passengers to take the (G) to either of those locations OR taking the (G) to Hoyt-Schermerhorn and switching there to the A/C (especially if looking for lower Manhattan). The two factors combined are also why I would be looking at having the (G), (M) and (R) all go to 179 via QB local (except late nights when all three would go to 71-Continetal) while the (F) is QB express all the way (except late nights) since (G) passengers then would have the option of transferring to the (E), (M) or (R) at Queens Plaza (with the (R) during the (L) shutdown being 24/7 to 71-Continental and extended to 179 outside of late nights if all three go there outside of then) or via a new OOS transfer the (N), (W) and (7) at Queensboro Plaza. Not idea, but being able to split the (G) passengers up between Court Square and Queens Plaza (and to a lesser extent Queensboro Plaza) is worth sending the G/M/R all to 179 (except late nights when it would be to 71-Continental).

Weekend CBTC Work on Queens Boulevard: This is the BIG sticky point as I doubt the MTA can delay CBTC work on QB because of the (L) shutdown because that could have a major ripple effect with future CBTC projects down the road. That likely means there will be times where on weekends only one track is available in one or both directions for the (E), (F) and (R), meaning no room then for the (G) that would have to be cut to Court Square or the (M) that would need most likely a Manhattan terminal other than Essex to terminate. My original idea was to have the (M) terminate at 96th/2nd on weekends when QB was unavailable so displaced (L) riders have direct 6th Avenue service at Myrtle-Wyckoff no matter what, but given what subsquently was said by others about Upper East Side riders demanding any weekend (M) service to 96th/2nd becoming seven days a week for them (and the political clout they have), that’s why I came up with the split M/T that has the (M) at its current service levels to 71-Continental 19/5 and the (T) supplementing the (M) on weekdays (max of 5-7 TPH to 96th/2nd weekdays, even at peak hours) and the (T) late nights (3-5 TPH, 4-6 TPH late Friday and Saturday) and weekends (7-9 TPH) being the line between Metropolitan and 96th/2nd, operating 24/7.

No matter how you slice it, this will be ugly.

Chris May 6, 2016 - 6:33 am

Walt –

I like the idea of how you’d keep one tunnel open for non-revenue service. It’s important that the Manhattan side of the L train still run as a shuttle. Since the L could only operate as a shuttle in Manhattan during the tube work, we have a chance to see how useful crosstown only lines could work if they existed outside of the 42nd street line.

What happens if we find that this line is almost as crowded when run as a shuttle? I think it will influence future generations when NYC finally gets back to subway development – something that the city should always keep expanding to meet increased population density in the city.


Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 4:55 pm

It would not quite be that, but the idea is that work in the second tunnel would be scheduled to be done in a way where every 6-10 weeks, that tunnel can be opened back up for non-revenue, non-electric work trains to come in and take back cars operating on the shuttle for inspection while eight new four-car sets are brought in to replace them.

The idea is to have eight trainsets and five spares that can be used for this. Three trainsets would operate during most hours, one or two would operate overnights.

Mike M. May 6, 2016 - 2:26 pm

This will have zero bearing on the governor’s race. It’s a statewide election and most of the state doesn’t give a shit whether Willamburgers have to take one train or two to get into the city.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 4:47 pm

You would think that, but as said elsewhere, a lot can happen in the next two and a half years.

If Cuomo faces a strong candidate who for instance vows to keep the (L) in Manhattan running if affected, the MTA may not have a choice but to heed.

Mike M. May 6, 2016 - 9:52 pm

A candidate can say anything he wants but that doesn’t mean he’ll get his way when he takes office and is confronted with reality. DeBlasio didn’t shut down the horse carriages and Obama hasn’t closed Gitmo.

Anyway, who exactly is this amazing candidate who will be able to unseat an incumbent governor by bestowing 14th Street shuttle service upon the people?

Walt Gekko May 7, 2016 - 1:47 pm

Did I ever say there actually would be one?

My point was, two and a half years is a lot of time (a full election cycle for some in congress in fact) and the fact is, we could easily see someone emerge who piggybacks the sentiment of the Manhattan Borough President for instance in that time. This amount of time is an eternity in politics.

Mike M. May 8, 2016 - 8:11 am

No one cares what a borough president says and no one is going to stake a statewide campaign on this issue. Pols bloviate all the time. Look up the word “grandstanding.” Seriously. None of this works the way you think it does.

John Q. Smith May 5, 2016 - 10:39 pm

The 18-month shutdown is definitely the way to go. The service can be made up by using the following plans:

– Additional M train service (service every 4 minutes), with alternating trains diverting to 96 St-2 Av beyond 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Center via the F line to Lexington Av-63 St, and then via the Q to 96 St, at least during rush hours (from 6:30AM to 10:30AM, and from 3PM to 9PM)
– Weekend M trains running from 96 St-2 Av to Rockefeller Center, then regular weekday service to Metropolitan Av AT THE VERY LEAST FROM 6AM TO MIDNIGHT, IF NOT INCLUDING LATE NIGHTS.
– Local J/Z service west of Myrtle Av, and slightly increased frequency.
– enhanced B32 bus service, to run from Williamsburg Bridge Plaza to Queens Plaza, providing service transfers to the 7 E M N* R trains, along with short-turn B62 buses, each line running every 4 minutes north of Williamsburg Bridge Plaza
– additional train cars added to the C line (via car swaps, etc) to make full length C trains, additional A/C trains during rush hours.
– double the length of the G trains and possibly increase frequency

Walt Gekko May 5, 2016 - 11:02 pm

If you read my post above, my plan calls for a split (M) into:

(M) running as it does now (8 trains per hour at peak) on a 5:00 AM-Midnight weekday schedule.

(T) supplementing the (M) during the week (5-7 trains per hour, including at peak times) to 96th Street-2nd Avenue where it also supplements the (Q) on the SAS.

The (T) in this format would actually be a 24/7 line between Metropolitan and 96th/2nd, with on weekends 7-9 TPH (a rare case of a line actually having more service on weekends than weekdays) to 96th/2nd and late nights, 3-5 TPH (4-6 TPH late Friday and Saturday nights if warranted) between Metropolitan and 96th/2nd. This new (T) absorbs the late night and weekend (M) shuttles.

The reason for it this way is the fact as noted that CBTC work on Queens Boulevard that likely can’t be halted even for the (L) shutdown forces the (M) to have a Manhattan terminal on most weekends anyway. That’s why the (T) becomes a 24/7 line on Broadway-Brooklyn to provide displaced (L) riders full-time access to 6th Avenue with UES riders also getting such as a bonus to a portion (SAS) that I think will be MUCH more heavily used than some think, especially those tired of dealing with 4/5/6 and the crush loads the Lexington Avenue line has.

John Q. Smith May 5, 2016 - 11:54 pm

While I was typing my response yours must have been posted because I didn’t get a chance to see it until I posted mine. But I definitely see your point. The whole M/T idea makes a lot of sense, especially with new subway cars coming in and being available to expand the subway fleet prior to the shutdown.

Yan May 6, 2016 - 1:22 am

What would sending alternate M trains to 96th street do? how would that help?

Cant increase the number of cars per C train, not enough spare factor available

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 11:17 am

The alternate (M) (or as I would do it, a split of the (M) into (M) and (T)) trains would serve the main purpose, that being to get displaced (L) riders into Manhattan via 6th Avenue. The problem is the notorious conga line that develops towards 71-Continental that would only be worse if all were (M) trains sent there, so the additional trains here get signed as (T) and go to 96th/2nd that has the side benefit of the (T) also supplementing the (Q) on the SAS that I think will be needed anyway as I suspect the SAS will be much more heavily used than many think by those east of 2nd Avenue on the UES and also by those tired of dealing with the Lexington Avenue (4/5/6) lines due to those lines being crush-loaded.

Other reason I do it this way as noted in other posts is CBTC work on QB on weekends that most of the time likely prevents the (M) from running on QB most such.

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 12:31 am

Can we get an independent engineer to verify that it’ll actually take 18 months to fix a single tunnel? Frankly I’m unconvinced that it will actually take that long, but that’s just me.

I’ll go against the popular opinion and throw my support behind the one tunnel at a time closure. Most important is the fact that a full closure will absolutely overwhelm the G and J/M/Z. There is no way those modes will accommodate the 225k people who use the tunnel, and ferries (takes too long to get to/from waterfront) and buses (too slow and take up too much street space for the volumes needed) don’t work well either.

Furthermore, it’s possible to get near 50% capacity by sending trains into the one open tunnel in threes, with the first going nonstop Lorimer to 8th, the second nonstop to 6th, and the third nonstop to Union Square.

Obviously 18 months is better than 3 years. But 18 months is not better if the alternatives are utterly unable to handle the necessary ridership, unlike the half-closure plan where the L would still be transporting some of those people.

Yan May 6, 2016 - 1:23 am

18 months for BOTH tunnels, not just one

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 8:55 am

Even though they will be done concurrently, each tunnel is still 18 months of work.

bigbellymon4 May 7, 2016 - 12:04 am

The Montague tubes were supposed to take 18 months also, but we completed in less time. Shutting both tubes will give access for ROUND THE CLOCK work to be done. And also, with your idea of sending the trains through in 3’s, you can’t turn them all back at Lorimer (2 track station for 3 trains?). Plus, no need to stretch the pain to 3 years when you get in and get out in half the time. They should include many other things when they shut the tunnels (10-car trains, tail tracks). Finally, most people get off at Union Sq, so that train is going to be the most crowded.

Brooklynite May 7, 2016 - 4:10 pm

The trains would not reverse at Lorimer, but would continue toward Canarsie. There would be no trains terminating at Bedford or at Lorimer.

And yes, 18 months is much less time, but if nearby modes can’t handle the displaced passengers then it’s not viable.

JM May 10, 2016 - 4:33 pm

The question is, will the work actually be round-the-clock? Clearly the economic cost of this is huge. I’d like to see them get some independent people from other countries to at least take a look at the project and say how long it would take them. If they say 18 months, great. If they say 6 then let’s figure out how.

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 12:37 am

@Wally: please stop. There is no reason for passengers at 179 Street to see a change in service because of something happening in the Canarsie tube. There is no reason for passengers at 96th & 2nd to see a change in service because of something happening in the Canarsie tube. (I’m not even mentioning C riders…) To address your argument, though, G riders are almost all going to bail at Court Square instead of riding on to QP for a transfer to almost the same exact trains. People are impatient.

All that we need to do in terms of alternate subway routes is run extra M service between Queens Plaza and Metropolitan (or Canarsie). That’s it. Eureka, empty trains at Court Square!! Quick fumigation at Queens Plaza can be done with a few platform CRs and a cop or two to “encourage” the reluctant ones to leave the train.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 3:01 am

One problem with terminating the (M) at Queens Plaza:

ONE unruly passenger at Queens Plaza who refuses to get off and holds up train service for 30+ minutes (especially during rush hour) and you have a big problem because of the way the tracks are there. That is why you won’t see that.

And in this case, it’s better to have the split M/T (M) to 71-Continental as it is now, (T) as described above to 96th/2nd and have if necessary the (G), (M) and (R) all go to 179 since that allows the (G) to stop at Queensboro Plaza and better distribute those who go that way. It’s also why I do the OOS transfers the other way to encourage people to go to Fulton Street and Atlantic-Barclays and use the vast lines there for instance.

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 9:49 am

As I just said, a cop stationed on the platform would take care of fumigation issues.

Also as I just said, nobody will stay on the G to QP to transfer to the same trains as at Court Square, and nobody will go above ground to the transfers at QBP or Atlantic. There is not enough demand, let alone enough cars, to send any locals to 179 or extend the G anywhere east of LIC.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 11:33 am

The idea is to encourage riders to do that to spread out the passengers. You could in theory have the (G) go to Queens Plaza and terminate there but then you run into the same problems as terminating the (M).

In the case of the (M) terminating at Queens Plaze, as said all you need is one passenger refusing to get off, not moving and concerns that physically removing someone could result in lawsuits to create a cluster**** with (E) and (M) trains backed up severely with having to possibly send the (E) to at least 145 and (M) to 96th/2nd anyway. With the (G) that would not be as bad because at least there you have the option of sending the (R) via 63rd OR to Astoria if that happened.

The compromise could be sending having the (G) terminate at Queens Plaza (timing it so the (G) can quickly cross over to where it can get back to the local tracks) so (G) riders can switch to the (R) if they are looking for Broadway there (or N/W via a new OOS transfer between QP and QBP) since that would for the most part not interfere with the (E) and (M), or at least not anywhere near as bad as the (M) could potentially if you get someone stubbornly refusing to get off at QP and holding up fumigation (especially since some are often looking for any reason to sue thinking they will get quick money by doing so). I simply don’t think Court Square will easily be able to handle the huge crowds of displaced (L) riders by itself and that is why I would do it the way I noted since that spreads things out and encourage riders to if possible use the alternate routes even if they are longer.

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 3:35 pm

People are not going to remain on the train in the hopes of getting assaulted and then suing. If someone does refuse, a cop will suffice to remove them. Cops have been removing people from places they are refusing to leave for ages now with no lawsuits. You’re thinking too hard.

And again, extending the G to QP does not add any significant transfers. The R every 8 minutes does not count, especially as the M essentially parallels it all the way down to Houston St. The G should be as self-contained as possible with the crowds it’ll be seeing; making it interact with the E, M, and R is a recipe for disaster.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 4:38 pm

You would think that, however, there are known cases of fraud that have happened all the time and in the litigious society we now have there is the risk of that. That’s why I have the (G) go to Queens Plaza (in a compromise) because at least there you have the option of sending the (R) via 63rd if an issue arises like I mentioned. You only need ONE person to create a problem.

And I think those who would rather be on a slightly less crowded train or are looking specifically for 59th-60th on the east side (and you forget, there are a good number of office buildings there) would be inclined to stay on the (G) an additional stop to Queens Plaza to get the (R) (or N/W at Queensboro Plaza via an OOS) with the same holding true if working near Columbus Circle.

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 7:38 pm

You’re thinking much too hard about this. The remote possibility that somebody will refuse to get up when asked to leave by a transit employee, and then provoke a cop to assault them, and then sue the NYPD, has absolutely no bearing on train service. Once the cop gets the guy off the train it’ll be a question for NYPD’s lawyers, not NYCT’s dispatchers.

And as I said below, the M is never far away from the R, and will have empty trains if it originates at QP.

Also, please stop repeating yourself over and over. Please. We understood your idea about the Orange T the first time, no need to write the same exact thing almost word for word when people challenge it. Same with the Manhattan BP, or Cuomo losing an election because of the snowstorm shutdown, or the Columbia expansion, or the C to Metropolitan, or the G/M/R to 179, or the W to 9th Av for displaced L riders that may transfer from the G, or the Z to 95th, or whatever else I’m forgetting here…

John-2 May 6, 2016 - 8:14 am

My guess is if the MTA decides to keep some expanded M serivce running east past Myrtle — as will be the case when the M north of Broadway is shut down — they’ll simply continue to terminate those extra trains on the center track at Broadway Junction. That would at least give Canarsie riders seeking the M the ability to avoid the detour all the way to Myrtle-Wyckoff or forcing them to change for the J/Z at B’way Junction and then for the M later (or do the A train from there to Jay Street or West Fourth).

It would make it easier on L riders south of there to have an M train that provided one-seat Sixth Avenue local service, given how much of a PITA the 18-month disruption is going to be. But the MTA will likely think most riders south of B’way Junction don’t know a one-seat ride from Canarsie to Midtown is possible — since the connection hasn’t seen revenue service since 1968 — and would demand the option be kept after the 14th Street tunnels were repaired and re-opened, just as many M riders up until five years ago didn’t know a direct connection to Sixth Avenue was possible, because the Chrystie Street connection hadn’t been in revenue service since 1976. You couldn’t go back to the old M-via-Nassau service pattern today without an uproar from Bushwick, Ricdgewood and Middle Village riders.

(From what I understand, the M can run five more trains right now along Sixth Avenue with the F and not run into capacity issues, so five rush-hour put-ins from Broadway Junction to Queens Plaza might be possible. But that would require a careful ballet with the E trains, which would always have to be given preference to go in front of the M at 53rd and Fifth, so that the fumigating M at Queens Plaza wouldn’t block Jamaica-bound E trains, before the M entered the center lay-up track east of the QP station.)

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 10:50 am

Those (M)’s are the ones I would have signed as (T) to 96th Street/2nd Avenue as a supplement to the (M). Those would be a max of 5-7 TPH. The real purpose of the (T) in this, however, is that it would be a 24/7 line between Metropolitan and 96th/2nd via 6th Avenue and SAS that absorbs the late night and weekend (M) shuttles, running 3-5 TPH during late night hours (4-6 TPH late Friday and Saturday if warranted) and 7-9 TPH on weekends when the (T) would be the main line from Metropolitan (this due to scheduled CBTC work on Queens Boulevard that likely can’t be pushed back making QB unavailable to the (M) then).

John-2 May 6, 2016 - 5:50 pm

If you send them to 96th you lose five TPH at Court Square for the transfer to the G during rush hours, and if those trains are terminating/starting at Queens Plaza, that’s five almost-empty trains you’re losing, at a time when the MTA’s going to expand the G to eight car, 600-foot trains to handle the expected passenger load from the L that’s not using the M via the Williamsburgh Bridge.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 6:55 pm

As I said elsewhere:

In a perfect world, all of the (M) trains would go to 71-Continental, but as it is you have a notorious conga line there that will only be worse if you send additional (M) trains there. That’s why I send the extra trains signed as (T) to 96th/2nd, which I don’t see as being empty at all. In fact, I’d even start that up as soon as the (M) comes back to Metropolitan after that shutdown is finished as I think demand on the SAS is going to be far greater than anyone expects.

This also has to do with CBTC work on Queens Boulevard as noted that makes it likely impossible most of the time to send the (M) via QB on weekends since that work likely can’t be delayed. My original idea was to have the (M) go to 96th/2nd on weekends and late nights so Broadway-Brooklyn riders have full-time service on 6th Avenue, but it was then noted by others that those on the upper east side (who have considerable political clout) would insist on such also being there weekdays and that’s why I do the M/T split with the (T) to 96th/2nd that I think would see ridership on the north end, especially to/from arguably the most densely populated area of the entire country.

It’s also why I look at extending the (G) to Queens Plaza so (G) riders can switch to the (R) (or N/W via a new OOS transfer between QP and Queensboro Plaza, timing such so it can make the crossovers quickly while minimally disrupting other service) and spread out those on the (G) there while also encouraging riders as much as possible to take the (G) the other way to new OOS transfers at Broadway (J/M/Z) and Fulton Street (2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R at Atlantic-Barclays).

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 7:29 pm

I would consider your argument about fumigation difficulties legitimate, but then you suggest having the G fumigate at QP in the very next paragraph. The G is even worse than the M in terms of reversing at QP because of the need to cross over EVERYTHING.

And for the tenth time, nobody will be staying on the G past Court Square. Telling people to stay on an extra station to transfer to the same exact trains won’t fly, and if they need the R they can take (empty, since they reversed at QP!!!) M trains to nearby stops.

John-2 May 6, 2016 - 8:04 pm

Yep. The M comes in on the center express track, while the G can only come into Queens Plaza on the local track, so any reverse there has to cross over in front of the E or the M (which itself is switching to the local track east of QP). That has the potential to lock up the E, M and R trains during rush.

Short-turning 4-5 Ms at QP per hour during rush would be one M train every 12-15 minutes that would need to fumigate. That’s workable, as long as the E goes before the M at 53rd and Fifth, so there’s time to get the train cleared at Queens Plaza and into the pocket track before the next E arrives.

Walt Gekko May 7, 2016 - 2:02 pm

The problem with short-turning 4-5 (M) trains at QP during rush is again the problem is ONE unruly passenger (or someone attempting to deliberately provoke an attack looking for a quick payday) can cause a clusterf***. The (G) at least if it happens there allows the (R) to still run on QP past that via 63rd Street.

This is why my original idea of extending the (G) (M) and (R) to 179 (and running the (F) express all the way) is how I would want to do it even if its only so the (G) can stop at Queens Plaza, which would better distribute displaced (L) riders because some will go to QP, especially if they are actually looking for 59th-60th on the east side or Columbus Circle and can go via the (R) (or N/W via an OOS at QBP).

The split M/T is something I’m doing at all times on weekdays, so even at off hours on weekdays there are actually a combined 11-14 trains running from Metropolitan through 47th-50th that may very well be needed (as the (T) would be 5-7 TPH at all times on weekdays other than overnights since it also would be supplementing the (Q) over what I think will be a MUCH more heavily traveled SAS than most think (with as noted the (T) also operating 7-9 TPH weekend days to 96th/2nd and 3-5 TPH late nights (4-6 TPH late Fri/Sat if warranted) to 96/2).

John-2 May 7, 2016 - 4:40 pm

That just moves the potential bottleneck problem from Queens to Manhattan — when the W is revived after the Q goes to 96th, you’re already going to have the N back as the second Broadway express, but switching to the local track north of Times Square to access the 60th Street tunnel.

If you move the R through 63rd Street to bypass Queens Plaza, now it’s got to cross to the express track while the N is crossing from the express to the local track to reach Astoria. So you’ve now got a double-switch between Times Square and 57th, potentially delaying not just the Queens Boulevard, line, but also the Second Avenue Q trains and the N and W to Astoria.

The extra trains on the M are needed west of Queens Plaza to handle the added G passengers who can’t get to Manhattan via the L. One short turn every 12-15 minutes on the middle track would avoid problems with the R, as long as the E is allowed to go before the short-turned Ms at 53rd and Fifth.

Walt Gekko May 7, 2016 - 6:29 pm

I get that on QP, except for the potential nightmare if ONE unruly or sick passenger holds things up for more than 30 minutes.

That is why I keep the (M) as it is and supplement it on 6th Avenue with the (T) to 96th/2nd (the latter being 24/7) and have the (G) (M) and (R) all go to 179 so the (G) can stop at Queens Plaza and allow those there to get the (R) (or N/W at QBP or E/M at QP) and more evenly distribute those passengers. It’s also why I encourage those where possible (especially if looking for lower Manhattan) to take the (G) to the A/C at Hoyt-Schermerhorn OR to Fulton and an OOS transfer to the 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R at Atlantic-Barclays.

John-2 May 8, 2016 - 2:23 pm

The MTA has already said they’re going to run more G trains when the L’s East River tunnels shut down, and they’re going to run 600-foot, eight car trains instead of the four-car 300-footers they’re running now.

If you extend the G to 179, and increase the trains per hour and double the length of the trains, where are you going to get the extra rail cars for that extension. You’re add 11 miles onto the route of the G, or basically the same distance as the A train from 207th to Canal Street (and remember, this is an 18-month project to start in 2019, while the R-179 order isn’t supposed to be fully delivered until 2022 due to Bombardier’s problems. So not scrapping the R-32/R-42 cars when the first of the 179s arrive still isn’t going to get you enough railcars to fill 22 miles of trackage with 600-foot trains in both directions).

Mike M. May 8, 2016 - 8:04 am

One unruly passenger can cause a clusterfuck anyplace. We don’t redraw the map because of it. We arrest those people and get on with our lives.

So now you want to extend the G train one stop, tying up the entire Queens IND, just in case someone wants to get out of the subway at Queens Plaza and walk to the same 7 line they can get at Court Square.

Walt Gekko May 8, 2016 - 11:12 am

That is true on the clusterf*** (for any reason), but as far as the (G), having it stop at Queens Plaza allows for those on the (G) to transfer to the (R). The part about having the G/M/R all go to 179 is something as said I’d be looking at doing anyway for reasons that have zero to do with the (L) shutdown.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 3:05 am

Obviously I meant QUEENS Plaza, not Queensboro Plaza in the last post.

Jesse McCann May 6, 2016 - 12:06 pm

Why not buy a TBM and just start digging new tunnels? If they start now they might be done in almost the same amount of time as the partial-shutdown option. At the end of it there would be two new tunnels that could be used to perhaps expand the line in the future to a 4-track line!

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 1:06 pm

Let see why they can’t:

Environmental impact studies for one. That alone would take years I believe.

Max Roberts May 6, 2016 - 2:47 pm

Just out of interest, what disastrous results of past NYC Subway construction are these draconian environmental impact study requirements intended to prevent? DId something in the past result in massive smoking craters or polluting all the local drinking water? Seriously, this looks like Precautionary Principle gone crazy to me, no wonder the NYC Subway is stagnant.

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 3:37 pm

There could be carcinogens on the riverbed that would be released by construction, increasing cancer risks for workers and riders. When the original tunnels were being built nobody tracked that, and the workers didn’t have the power to complain about hazards they found.

Phantom May 6, 2016 - 8:00 pm


Environmental impact statements have for environmentally friendly projects such as subways have become an anti environmental force involving great delays and cost increases

In practice, they are a problem, a special interest that benefits specialist companies, that is in urgent need of reform

Eric May 8, 2016 - 5:24 am

It’s a good question though why it takes a year to write an EIS. You’d think a small competent team should be able to write one in a couple months, given that the concerns are similar to what they were in all previous EISes.

JJJJ May 6, 2016 - 2:58 pm

The WMATA management are a salty bunch. They always have to come out and try and steal everybody’s thunder. You’re closing one tunnel? Ha! Watch us close all of them!

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. May 6, 2016 - 3:35 pm

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.

Walt Gekko May 6, 2016 - 4:44 pm

I like what you say, however, I think one problem (and why I came up with my compromise for 14th Street) is that the Manhattan Borough President already has said she wants that kept open, and I’m sure other elected officials, especially those up for re-election in 2018 will likely over the next two years join her in demanding keeping 1st-8th Avenue running on the (L) during the shutdown, most likely out of concerns of gridlock for reasons already noted if such feel it will get them votes, especially from those most affected in Manhattan.

As also said, I agree in the increase in the (M), but doing so as a split (M)/(T) as also already noted upthread.

Brooklynite May 6, 2016 - 7:26 pm

Who asked for the Manhattan BP’s opinion? Nobody. PLEASE STOP bringing her up.

Also, New Jersey-based gridlock on 14th is utterly irrelevant. Bus lanes can be put in so the buses get through, and the others won’t care because the overall traffic increase will be miniscule. Please stop repeating yourself on this forum, and on subchat, and on NYCTF, and wherever else. We understood you the 10th time…

Walt Gekko May 7, 2016 - 2:14 pm

The problem with what you said is the general public is more on the lines of what I was proposing. They are the ones who vote, and if they get pols involved they could “strongly suggest” to the MTA a lot can happen.

Like I said, two and a half years is a long way off.

And as far as Cuomo, assuming he runs for a third term in 2018 all he cares about is winning. If he’s faced with an opponent who has enough clout to make the MTA do what he wants and that candidate wants what the voters want, then Cuomo could do thinks in the months leading up to the election. Then you have those in congress who are up for re-election both this year AND in 2018 who could threaten to take federal funds away from the MTA unless they do everything they want.

Many different things can happen before 2018-’19.

Brooklynite May 7, 2016 - 4:21 pm

I’ll answer all your comments in one place.

The L train is completely irrelevant to Cuomo. There are much more important issues at hand in gubernatorial elections than the minutia of transit, and even if it’s brought up he will deflect with “it’s MTA’s issue not mine” like he does with everything MTA that isn’t good news.

For the millionth time, nobody will stay on the G past Court Square. If they want Broadway they can take the E M 7 to nearby stops.
For the millionth time, the chances of somebody resisting removal from a train so much that a cop can’t deal with the person in a minute or two are so remote that they are not worth worrying about. There is a higher probability of there being a sick customer on an M running to 179 than there is of a very unruly customer at QP. Therefore sending everything to 179 would be worse than short turning.
For the millionth time, keep SAS out of it. There is no way three stops will make 10tph Q service crowded enough to warrant relief. The number of servics

Walt Gekko May 7, 2016 - 7:39 pm

You and I will disagree on this forever. In this case, it’s better in my view to send the (G) (M) and (R) to 179 (71-Continental late nights) anyway for reasons irrelevant to the (L) shutdown that including having the (F) fully express in Queens (eliminating that track switch at 71-Continental) and on weekends likely squelching long-running complaints about the (R) as the sole QB local (when the (E) and (F) also are not running local due to CBTC work).

Still think the split (M) will be better with the (T) 24/7 to 96th/2nd because I think the (Q) is going to have far higher ridership than most think.

Brooklynite May 7, 2016 - 4:23 pm

…sharing a track should be kept to a minimum, both for navigational and reliability purposes.

Manuel May 6, 2016 - 8:30 pm

The MTA SHOULD invest in the south 4th station north Brooklyn is exploding with people and when the L needs to be shut down for whatever reason it’s HELL !!!!

Walt Gekko May 7, 2016 - 2:08 pm

Easier said than done.

There would have to be years of work done to get that station up to code, and also lengthened to allow for 600-trains for starters.

DGW May 6, 2016 - 10:11 pm

There needs to be an independent audit to determine why it would take 18 months to just replace the track, wiring and basically repair everything else. The Empire State Building was built in less than 14 months compared to an existing tunnel renovation. What is the track record with MTA delivering construction projects on time and on budget?
Why don’t the other flooded tunnels require this kind of disruption?

Ed Unneland May 8, 2016 - 12:10 am

The Montague Street Tunnel shut for eleven months.

Walt Gekko May 8, 2016 - 2:32 am

Montague was supposed to be shut down longer than the 14 months it wound up being. They were able to get the work done a lot faster than planned.

Some of the other tunnels like Cranberry are shorter and the time they have to be down is considerably less.

14th Street is a considerably longer tunnel plus there is CBTC wiring that has to be replaced that likely adds to the time.

Eric May 8, 2016 - 5:33 am

Five workers died during Empire State Building construction. Nowadays we wouldn’t tolerate an average of five workers dying per subway project. We pay for this increased safety.

David Brown May 8, 2016 - 12:05 pm

One thing that we are learning is both politically and economically getting projects done faster makes sense. For example: There was a plan @ Penn State to build Student Housing, that would take 7 years to complete. They changed it to 4 and will save $18m. The anti-Construction types are not happy, but money and time are saved. As far as Gale Brewer is concerned, I used to call her “The Cat Lady” because no one likes her, they just put up with her and her crazy Aunt act and hats because she feeds them. She offers nothing positive ( not even an idea ( let alone leadership)) as far as construction, transportation or anything else are concerned. It’s just satisfying NIMBY’s nothing more nothing less. If a NIMBY person or group cries about something Brewer is there just like when stray cats cry for food. I would not give in to her crazy demands.

Rick May 10, 2016 - 11:36 pm

Here’s a quickie construction project that could help manage the L tunnel closing and would be of permanent value to Williamsburg. How about adding a J/Z/M station on the Williamsburg Bridge above Bedford and Wythe Avenues. A couple of elevators, a couple of platforms alongside the tracks, and voila — a new station much closer than the Marcy Av stop for thousands of people. (There used to be a street car platform in this location.)

wiseinfrastructure May 15, 2016 - 2:56 am

Technology exists for optical guided multi-articulated rubber tired buses requiring but paint or hammered plugs to be place along the route. As of now I believe that only the very front wheels steer, but given technology, all axles should be (computer) steerable – kind of like a hook and ladder firetruck (the back wheels are steered) on steroids allowing for longer lengths with tight turning.

Bus trolleys of say 4 connected lengths could give near light rail service (but without the fuel and pollution savings) on fixed routes such as 42nd and 34th streets and could be quickly pressed into service for such needs as the L train repair.

Infrastructure of street rails and overhead wiring would be saved.
Building such vehicles to allow for two way operation would add to the flexibility.

A fleet of such vehicle could allow for routes to tested without massive infrastructure investments and would allow for both system expansion and emergency/event operations.


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