Home L Train Shutdown First Look: DOT, MTA present initial plans for L train shutdown

First Look: DOT, MTA present initial plans for L train shutdown

by Benjamin Kabak

An overview of the L train shutdown mitigation plan. (Click to enlarge)

One strange fact of New York City that we — the royal we of this city — never contemplate involves the logistics of moving a few hundred thousand people every day in between the borough of Brooklyn on the Island of Long and the borough of Manhattan on the island of, well, Manhattan. It’s just a thing that happens every day, but beginning in April of 2019, just over 15 months from now, the 225,000 people that use the L train’s Canarsie Tubes are going to have to find another way to travel under the East River. The L train shutdown, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, is hardly a surprise, but the MTA and NYC DOT have been mum on mitigation plans. We heard about an initial proposal to implement HOV3 lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge in October, but Mayor Bill de Blasio did not want to release those in the lead-up to his reelection.

On Wednesday, after months of waiting and New Yorkers growing increasingly frustrated by the silence, DOT and the MTA finally unveiled their mitigation proposal. The plans involve that HOV3+ restriction on only the Williamsburg Bridge; new inter-borough bus routes between Brooklyn and Manhattan; a core busway for 14th St. in Manhattan with a two-way bike lane on 13th St.; and increased subway service on nearby and connecting lines. I have seen the public release DOT has put out regarding these plans and a presentation with more detail regarding the mitigation efforts. Today’s announcement “identified specific corridors and related transportation modes” targeted for mitigation, per the DOT release, and the agencies will next assess the “timing and scope” of various vehicular restrictions and transportation improvements. While these plans are not horrible, they’re also not great, and DOT seems to be afraid to tell single-occupancy car drivers that they’re banned from certain streets during the L train shutdown. Furthermore, that DOT and the MTA aren’t considering HOV3+ restrictions and a busway as 24/7 requirements off the bat is already concerning.

The images in this post are from the internal presentation. DOT’s release provides more context, and I’ll offer up some of that context as I discuss the images. Ultimately, this plan will be subject to public comment, and DOT and the MTA have vowed to revise it. It is also premised on the hope that at least 70 and perhaps as much as 80 percent of the L train riders will use alternative subway service to travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. To that end, the two agencies believe that anywhere from 5-15 percent will utilize buses, and they are planning for 3800 bus riders per peak hour across the Williamsburg Bridge. Meanwhile, 3-5 percent are expected to use expanded East River ferries, but how the remaining 10-20 percent get around could be the difference between crushing congestion and a successful mitigation plan.

Click to enlarge.

For better or worse, the underlying theory of mitigation divides the Canarsie Line into zones. Unavoidably, this division raises concerns about class and the socioeconomics of the L train that DOT and the MTA haven’t sufficiently addressed. Essentially, though, L train riders in zone 3 – and particularly those south of Broadway Junction who make up only 11% of Manhattan-bound riders — have numerous other subway options for access across the East River. Those in Zones 1 and 2 make up just shy of 50% of the L train’s Manhattan bound ridership during the A.M. peak hours, and they have worse access to Manhattan-bound alternatives. With 57 percent of the morning commute bound for north of 14th St., DOT and the MTA need to transport a lot of people across the East River in some way, shape or form that does not grind the city to a halt.

So what’s the plan for Zones 1 and 2? That HOV3+ lane on the Williamsburg Bridge and added bus shuttle routes. Take a look:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The bad news: As Polly Trottenberg stressed to reporters on Wednesday afternoon and as DOT’s document mentions, DOT is considered these lane restrictions “during rush hour at a minimum.” Based on L train ridership patterns and the impact of this shutdown, the HOV3+ lane should probably be a bus-only lane and should definitely be in place on a 24/7 basis for the duration of the shutdown. But here’s the story: The lanes will run from Grand St. in Brooklyn to Spring St. in Manhattan with bus service to the Essex/Delancey, Spring St. and Broadway/Lafayette-Bleecker St. subway stations. Additional bus priority lanes will be in place on both ends of the Williamsburg Bridge, and three new bus routes will provide inter-borough connections — including one that deliver riders to the 14th St. corridor. It’s not yet clear how HOV3+ enforcement will be implemented on the bridge, but enforcement will be key to ensuring buses can move freely. As to the other free East River crossings, DOT says they will “continue to analyze” how this plan will impact traffic on the other crossings.

But what happens when you get across the bridge? Right now, the focus is on the 14th Street corridor — a stretch of the L train that sees 50,000 passengers a day. That’s more than the busiest bus route and a ridership 66% higher than on the current M14 route. (Brooklyn-only travelers account for 125,000 trips per day on the L, and they’ll have service between Bedford Ave. and Canarsie at six-minute headways during the shutdown.)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The MTA and DOT did not embrace calls for a full Peopleway and have instead opted for what they are calling a “Core Busway” between 3rd Ave. and either 9th Ave. heading east or 8th Ave. heading west. Only buses and local deliveries will be permitted on those blocks with a major wrinkle — for now DOT says these restrictions will be “rush hour restrictions.” This is, in my view, a big mistake, and as I mentioned, any plan that isn’t 24/7 is doomed to lead to confusion and, worse, congestion. But again, this is a pattern of DOT shying away from inconveniencing drivers at the expense of pedestrians and transit riders.

Anyway, the agencies have adopted this “Core Busway” approach rather than a full busway because they feel it has less impact on bottlenecks, particularly near Alphabet City and a more distributed effect on traffic on nearby local streets. A block to the south, DOT plans to create a two-way protected bike lane down 13th Street, and Trottenberg did mention they hope to maintain these bike lanes after the shutdown. Again, enforcement on 14th St. remains an open question.

And what of the subway improvement plans? So glad you asked.

As the MTA and DOT anticipate that “alternative subway routes will carry the large majority of L riders,” the MTA plans to implement service increases throughout the subway system. I have been told that 480-foot G trains may run as frequently as every 4 minutes, and the MTA will implement MetroCard transfers between the L and 3 at Livonia/Junius, between the G at Broadway and J/M/Z at both Lorimer and Hewes Sts., and between the G at 21st St. and 7 at Hunters Point Ave. The M will run to 96th St. and 2nd Ave. during weekends and late nights.

The MTA also plans a series of passenger flow improvement efforts along the J/M/Z lines and at certain G train stations, and station entrances at three stops will be reopened. It’s not clear though how these subways lines will handle the increased capacity as it may be challenging to fit another 160,000 riders per day on trains that are very crowded as they cross the East River. This plan does not yet seem to add capacity to the A/C trains, the 3 train or, more importantly, the Queens trains, and riders of the 7 and E trains in particular are very concerned that the L train shutdown will completely overburden lines that simply cannot hold more passengers.

The shutdown, as I’ve discussed in the past, will include some system improvements to the L train stations, and I’ve heard rumors of a new escalator down to the L train platform from the mezzanine above the IRT at Union Square.

In addition to these specific improvements, DOT and the MTA are going to explore “major changes” to Grand Street in Brooklyn that could turn that road into a bus and bicycle corridor, and DOT is hoping to increase Citi Bike capacity throughout the impacted areas. So that’s the plan for now, and it’s going to evolve with more detail and more public input. But the lack of 24/7 commitment and, for example, the fact that DOT hasn’t acknowledged the impact for-hire vehicle services will have on surface congestion still make me worried that DOT in particular is underestimating the impact of the L train shutdown on the city at large. Those 225,000 rides per day aren’t just going to end up on an overburdened J train without significant work toward making rides tolerable.

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Walt Gekko December 13, 2017 - 5:09 pm

These are all very good, but my views have not changed on a few things:

1. This I would actually start as soon as the (M) returns to Metropolitan Avenue full-time: The (M) being split into (M) and (T) with the current (M) as it is now and the (T) running at ALL TIMES to 96th Street and 2nd Avenue (5TPH weekdays as a supplement to the (M), 3TPH late nights and 6-9TPH weekends when it would be the main service). There are going to be those on the upper east side once the (M) starts running there on weekends and late nights demanding the (M) run there at all times and this move would be to prevent political pressure to subsequently adjust service to have such to 96th and 2nd.

2. I would be encouraging riders to take the (G) the other way to Hoyt-Schermerhorn for the A/C and in that regard add a new OOS transfer at Fulton Street between the (G) and the 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R at Atlantic-Barclays (in addition to other OOS transfers). This would be to alleviate pressure at Court Square as much as possible, as Court Square is likely going to be a disaster short of having the G/M/R all extended to 179th so passengers can transfer from the (G) to the (R) at Queens Plaza or do an OOS transfer between the (G) and N/W at Queensboro Plaza.

Smart move to add a transfer between the (G) at 21st and (7) at Hunterspoint. That should help keep Court Square from becoming overcrowded, but I would also do the other things noted here.

aestrivex December 13, 2017 - 5:48 pm

It might make more sense as a permanent service pattern to send the 2 Av/6 Av/Williamsburg service you’re proposing to Broadway Junction where it can turn through the yard (or to send the M to Broadway Junction and the new service full time to Metropolitan Av). The Myrtle Av section has little need for additional service other than during the L shutdown time, when it will.

John-2 December 13, 2017 - 8:49 pm

What they can do with the added M service would be to keep the current Broadway Junction terminal for those extra trains, instead of sending them to Metropolitan. A to Broadway Junction would allow L train passengers from Atlantic Ave. to Canarsie the option of a two-seat ride to midtown-Sixth Ave without having to either double-back down to Broadway at Myrtle-Wycoff, or making a double change of trains, going from the L at Broadway Junction to the J/Z and then to the M at Myrtle (or taking the A from Bway-Jnct to West 4th and swapping for the B/D/F/M).

LordDeucey December 15, 2017 - 7:54 pm

Or, assuming M runs to Broadway Junction and 96th:

Z from Middle Village to Chambers St or Broad St days and Myrtle Av overnight;
G to 71st days and Court Square nights OR
V returns between 2nd Av and 71st

That way, due to line congestion, the busiest corridors still have adequate to robust service and minimal merges along with mitigation of R train delays.

Walt Gekko December 15, 2017 - 10:26 pm

The only way you can have the (G) go past Court Square would be to have the G/M/R ALL go 179th as 179 would be likely the one place all three plus the (F) could terminate.

As for the (M) to 96th all times:

The (M) / (T) split idea is you will have the bulk of riders get on at Myrtle-Wyckoff (transferring from the (L) for Manhattan) and that is the more crucial point than Broadway Junction. That’s also why I have my (T) from Metropolitan to 96th and 2nd being only 5 TPH on weekdays (3 TPH overnights) while 6-9 TPH on weekends since there are limits to how many additional trains you can run on both Broadway Junction and 6th Avenue.

Extend the L December 13, 2017 - 5:47 pm

If they really want to better serve all customers, they should extend the line from Canarsie down Flatlands / Kings Highway to give transfer opportunities to those at the far end of the line. This would provide connections to the 2, 5, B, Q, F, N

Chet December 13, 2017 - 7:03 pm

Extend which line?

Also, Ben, is there a link where we can read the plan and see the illustrations in a larger format?

Tim December 14, 2017 - 1:24 pm

I think he’s referring to the L. Several of the Triboro Rx proposals I’ve seen online (all fantasy maps, but bear with me) reference a turn off fromr the L down the NYCRR tracks to hit all the radial lines going to South BK/Coney. It’s basically Triboro Rx Lite. Would be doable, I think, and if oyu get it in now in the outer boroughs people will be screaming to get it finished.

Benjamin Kabak December 14, 2017 - 6:15 pm

Chet: Sorry I didn’t reply yesterday. I’ve embedded larger versions in the updated post but I can’t share the whole deck unfortunately.

Braighdan December 13, 2017 - 7:28 pm

Just perhaps this all might disgust enough of these people to move outta Brooklyn and go back from whence they came, and then the true Native Nu Yawkas can ride the subways more peacefully. Otherwise just STFU and deal with it…

Eric Bolden December 13, 2017 - 8:03 pm

“Additional stairs connecting to JZ platforms connecting to L”. Where is that going to be? The old stairway from the area now the maintenance crew quarters that went under the L to further north on the platform? (I was annoyed they removed that, and you have to hoof up the ramp and up the stairs and over to get to the Manhattan-bound. The other way was quicker and less tiring! But is the steelwork for that still there?)

Why does the L3 stop two blocks from the Bedford Ave. station? Why doesn’t it just use N7th, which is right over the L?

What about the G entrance on Broadway, that was closed (covered with temporary wood barriers) for the construction of the new houses and never reopened (the houses are long finished)?

LordDeucey December 15, 2017 - 7:58 pm

Probably because of the congestion at N7/Bedford – pedestrians and vehicles, along with the parking situation…

Eric Bolden December 13, 2017 - 8:07 pm

Also, they need to address this pattern of shutting the M down for everything that happens, not only on the line itself, but also anywhere on any other line
it runs with; as both today and Monday! They said increased service, but they will have to stop treating it as such a low priority line that’s so dispensible.

Leroy G. December 14, 2017 - 1:17 pm

Honestly the way that it was created due to budget cuts it is a dispensable line. Every time QB had a situation a lot of time time V trains were canceled or service was dramatically reduced. With the M they just send it to Chambers so it’s not in the way. It’s not anywhere as long as the F and the R, and the M can be easily replaced with alternatives when something happens meanwhile with the other lines they really can’t be.

John December 14, 2017 - 1:54 pm

Agreed; it’s annoying when it shuts down, but the line is redundant with nearly everything else. The biggest inconvenience is taking the J to Essex and switching to the F when it’s shut down, which adds a transfer to your ride.

Eric Bolden December 14, 2017 - 1:58 pm

Thing is, the M is not simply the V because it has its oqn end, and is not simply an extra Queens service; especially once it’s filling in for the L. The L has become (ironically!), a high priority line, where they had to keep increasing service, and even ordering more cars, yet it’s runneng by itself. When the M picks up a lot of its riders, it will no longer be expendable, but likely be as busy as the F.

Lynn December 13, 2017 - 8:33 pm

Enabling/creating a direct transfer between the G and JMZ seems a must. OOS transfers will not encourage this.

Court Square is already overcrowded and the platforms are unsafe during peak times due this overcrowding. They MUST improve Court Square transfer logistics. The station will burst from overcapacity.

Walt Gekko December 14, 2017 - 11:39 pm

This is exactly why I would be adding an OOS transfer between the (G) at Fulton Street and the 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R at Atlantic-Barclays and encourage riders to use that transfer OR take the (G) to Hoyt-Schermerhorn for the (A) / (C). That would alleviate SOME of the problem.

Court Square is going to be a disaster if they try to get everyone to transfer there.

Fredrick Wells December 14, 2017 - 5:53 am

I also say add service to the Q39 and extend the route to Grand Central Terminal. Many customers from Ridgewood, Queens to Midtown Manhattan generally use the (L) and transfer to a North bound Local train a few stops. With the (L) train out, the Q39 is the only other alternative towards Midtown terminating at Queens Plaza, and there will be a need to beef up service on that line.

ajedrez December 14, 2017 - 1:21 pm

Intra-Queens Q39 riders will have a riot. For those that want Midtown service, that”s what the QM24/34 are for.

Guest December 14, 2017 - 7:49 am

Once the extra heavy congestion begins on the alternate crossings, I wonder if this will be the event that finally pushes congestion pricing into reality.

Larry Littlefield December 14, 2017 - 10:13 am

I’m surprised they aren’t increasing service on the J/Z by rounding Canarsie Line trains from south of Broadway Junction on that line. And that they aren’t planning to increase service on the A/C.

J Adlai December 19, 2017 - 8:07 am

Well, they ARE increasing service on the A/C line: they’re lengthening C trains to 10 cars.

Also, you don’t want to encourage riders south of Broadway Junction to use the Williamsburg Bridge. Routing the southern end of the L onto the Broadway el does just that.

Scott from Gpoint December 14, 2017 - 10:20 am

There is no easy way to get from Greenpoint to Alohabet City under this plan – G gets you to Lorimer which is nowhere near The new bus connection up ton1st Ave. not sure what this will mean for getting kids to school.

ajedrez December 14, 2017 - 1:23 pm

At Delancey/Essex, there’s the M9 up Avenue C, as well as the M14A up Avenue A.

Tim December 14, 2017 - 1:30 pm

What’s the number of daily commuters going between ABC and G’point, though? It can’t be that high of a number.

Steve December 14, 2017 - 11:02 am

What is the reasoning behind running the L1 shuttle bus up to 14th and First without an L train to transfer to there? If the idea is to get passengers to the 14th St SBS so they can get to Union Square (which is where most people are probably headed to), shouldn’t the shuttle go directly to Union Square? It seems rather ill-conceived to run the shuttle up to First, especially when the M15 SBS is running on the same route. Have they made projections as to the destinations of passengers on the shuttle? If they’re going to Union Sq take them there, and if they’re going up further up First Ave on the M15 SBS let them transfer to it at Delancey, but 14th and First will not be the destination of anyone unless they’re going to Beth Israel or the old Stuy High (now 3 co-located high schools).

Full disclosure: I live on that block of 15th St where the buses will turn around – the otherwise residential block has the 3 co-located high schools in the old Stuy High, a New School University dorm, the Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School and part of Mt. Sinai Beth Israel. I’m far from a NIMBY, but it would certainly not be my first choice of a street to run a bus down.

Brooklynite December 14, 2017 - 2:59 pm

That is a very good question. Perhaps their modeling showed that many people worked at the medical center by 1st/14th? Also, sending a bus to Union Square might cause it to be overcrowded.

Steve December 14, 2017 - 4:51 pm

It only makes sense if their projections are if everyone who takes that shuttle will have Beth Israel as their destination, which I find very hard to believe. I can’t imagine that overcrowding at Union Square is a concern – no matter how many people take a shuttle bus the numbers will pale in comparison to the number of people who currently transfer between the L and the 4/5/6/N/Q/R/W there. Fewer people at Union Sq is one of the few things that make me look forward to the shutdown.

Brooklynite December 14, 2017 - 7:06 pm

There are other destinations in that area besides Beth Israel. I’m speculating here, but there might be a noticeable amount of people going there.

Alternatively, that route could get the same treatment the LIRR shuttles this summer did, a gradual and painful frequency decrease into oblivion.

And the fear of overcrowding is on the shuttle bus route, not the station itself. Everyone will decide “oh this bus goes to Union Square, that’s a familiar place on my commute, I’ll go there” and will swarm it.

AMH December 14, 2017 - 11:56 am

Wow, the G will really run every 4 minutes? They will absolutely have to run some F trains express between Jay and Church, no matter how loudly the Park Slope pols howl in protest.

John December 14, 2017 - 1:55 pm

Some Gs would short-turn at Bedford-Nostrand I would assume.

Brooklynite December 14, 2017 - 2:58 pm

That is not the plan, since people will be using the G to transfer in Downtown Brooklyn for Manhattan-bound service. And yes, some Fs will go express.

J Adlai December 19, 2017 - 8:10 am

In theory, G every 4 minutes, + F every 4 minutes should be doable, but you won’t be able to use Church as a terminal.

You could actually run the G express south of Smith-9th to rectify that problem…

Leroy G. December 14, 2017 - 1:11 pm

Before anyone complains about the M going to 96/2 nights and weekends instead of having it go to Forest Hills, they cannot do that because of the constant weekend construction along that corridor that has trains operate local in one direction and express in another, or all trains going local in both directions. The M would get booted off each and every time. This happened back when they were building the 63rd Street connector, the G got booted off QB nights and weekends, and with CBTC upgrades the G got booted off again. And no one knows when all these upgrades will be finished, and with the F train already serving Sixth Avenue and QB you really don’t need two Sixth Avenue trains on QB right now anyway.

ajedrez December 14, 2017 - 1:25 pm

That, and the R is generally close enough to most 6th Avenue stations anyway.

Tim December 14, 2017 - 1:32 pm

80th and 1st checking in, you will find no complaints here form an M service bump up to my ‘Hood. Double the TPH, it looks like! AND one seat ride to all the 6th ave line stops. I’m actually kind of thrilled.

Eric Bolden December 14, 2017 - 2:04 pm

I had heard a rumor that it was going to go to 96th 24/7, and that the N/Q/W would be reverted to 2010-7, temporarily, but I guess they would have said that now.
It needs to come off of the Queens corridor weekdays, if thex are going to shut it down whenever anything happens on even the other lines, like yesterday. Since they said an increase, I wonder if at least some will still go up there, like the N’s and one R, now. They need to do something different when it’s carrying all those people.

Walt Gekko December 14, 2017 - 11:44 pm

As said in the very first post of this thread, I would be myself splitting the (M) into (M) and (T), with the (M) running the same as it does now while the (T) runs 24/7 between Metropolitan and 96th Street-2nd Avenue (5TPH weekdays as a supplement to the (M), 3TPH late nights and 6-9TPH weekends when the (T) would be the main line). This is something as noted I would actually start doing as soon as the (M) returns to Metropolitan Avenue next spring as it’s something I suspect once it’s done regularly, the MTA will be under political pressure to run the (M) to 96th/2nd at all times from those on the upper east side who have a ton of political clout.

Brooklynite December 14, 2017 - 2:57 pm

What I’m wondering is why they can’t run the M to Queens Plaza on weekends. This would avoid the CBTC work while giving more options to L -> G train riders and avoiding having the same train go two different ways depending on the day of week.

Alon Levy December 14, 2017 - 6:36 pm

Queens Plaza has four tracks, so it can’t host three service patterns (local, express, terminating).

Brooklynite December 14, 2017 - 7:07 pm

The E runs on a 12 minute headway when there’s CBTC work going on. There’s plenty of time for an M to arrive on the express track, discharge, proceed to D5, reverse, and re-enter service on the Manhattan bound track.

Alon Levy December 21, 2017 - 1:07 am

But then there needs to be CBTC work at Queens Plaza, too…

Walt Gekko December 14, 2017 - 11:47 pm

As said in the very first post of this thread, I would be myself splitting the (M) into (M) and (T), with the (M) running the same as it does now while the (T) runs 24/7 between Metropolitan and 96th Street-2nd Avenue (5TPH weekdays as a supplement to the (M), 3TPH late nights and 6-9TPH weekends when the (T) would be the main line). This is something as noted I would actually start doing as soon as the (M) returns to Metropolitan Avenue next spring as it’s something I suspect once it’s done regularly, the MTA will be under political pressure to run the (M) to 96th/2nd at all times from those on the upper east side who have a ton of political clout.

This is why I would do it this way and encourage those who need the (G) to go the other way to either transfer at Fulton (via a new OOS transfer to the 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R at Atlantic-Barclays) or Hoyt-Schermeron to the A/c.

Walt Gekko December 14, 2017 - 11:48 pm

Disregard, I had added some of what I said at the end thinking that post did not go through the first time to the reply to Leroy G.

Stephen Smith December 15, 2017 - 12:00 am

So the Williamsburg Bridge speed restriction stays in place? And the Bushwick J train staircases stay closed? Great. So on top of having to wait for a train or five to pass before you can get on one, half of Bushwick will have to spend an unnecessary two or three minutes walking past shuttered staircases, and then another minute or two craaaaaawling over the bridge. Oh well. It’s not like anybody’s got jobs they need to be at, or an extra 10 minutes of their day that they could spend sleeping or being with their families.

Richard L Layman December 15, 2017 - 7:11 am

I agree with you about the 24/7 matter, as well as the need to provide exclusive transitways. I wrote a theoretical piece last year about this, suggesting the use of triple articulateds as a test.


But yes, NYC has a chance here to very decisively stand for sustainable mobilility and rebalance the use of right of way in terms of passenger throughput, and they are still punting.

That’s why I think what Toronto is doing with the King Street streetcar is one of the most important things going on transit-wise in North America.


They haven’t “kicked cars off” the street fully, but motor vehicles can only travel a few blocks before they are diverted off the street. Streetcars move more than 65,000 people per day on King St., while only about 20,000 cars used the street, but cars had priority.

NYC has the opportunity to “do a King Street of its own” and ought to be encouraged to do so.

AMH December 15, 2017 - 2:53 pm


Larry Littlefield December 15, 2017 - 9:37 am

The bottom line is they have to replace the 20 tph to Manhattan. The G doesn’t do that. The buses can’t, and neither can the J/M/Z alone.

You add as many M trains as you can, since those can bring in people affected by the L shutdown in both directions, but I’d think you’d have to add some A/C trains as well.

J Adlai December 19, 2017 - 8:17 am

Actually, you don’t need to replace 20tph. You simply need to accommodate the existing ridership. Many of them will board existing J/M/Z trains that have room for additional passengers. Some will board the G and take either the E/M through 53rd, or the 7 through Steinway, which also have some amount of room for more riders. I think we will find that the bulk of the ridership chooses one of these options, largely dependent on where they are headed within Manhattan.

E13 December 15, 2017 - 3:28 pm

No clearly stated statistical need or projection for that seg’d out dual bike lane. This is clearly a throw in by someone looking to add a star to their resume so it can be called “a first”. 14th st corridor is more than wide enough to accommodate bikes, as it presently does. E13th is a largely residential one-way street. Any mitigation plan could easily do more without expanding the footprint outside 14th.

John December 16, 2017 - 5:34 pm

Pretty happy that they’ve separated bikes and tons of shuttle buses onto two different streets. The amount of cyclists killed by autos is astounding. People that live on 13th live on a street in the middle of Manhattan, not some sleepy cul de sac in Westchester.

Nathanael December 17, 2017 - 11:42 am

MTA is still scared of the car lobby. Pathetic.

Also, what Richard Layman sid. See King Street in Toronto.

Kai B December 17, 2017 - 10:11 pm

I’m wondering how the reopening of the Hope/Powers Street exits will occur at Metropolitan. They’ll have to reopen a piece of the southern section of the mezzanine. I also assume the platform walls that make exiting a full-length train difficult will come down.

I’m guessing the narrow corridor next to the police station connecting the two full-width mezzanines will stay closed.


Gary Tomei December 19, 2017 - 8:50 pm

It is amazing that those in favor a car ban on 14st. have no idea of the havoc that would cause to residents, schools and businesses in the surrounding neighborhood. Moreover, they don’t seem to give a damn. Approximately, a year or so ago a number of meetings and workshops were held with the MTA, DOT and members of the community to discuss traffic options on 14 st during the repair of the L line. At the outcome of those intense discussions the consensus was that no ban on vehicular traffic would be imposed. DOT and the MTA gave local elected officials assurance of that.

Now the DOT is proposing the enactment of just such a ban, and Alt Left bike coterie has morphed into a nasty vulgar mob verbally attacking community residents opposing the ban. It’s as though this bike Mafia resents the fact that we live on 13 street, or in the immediate neighborhood. They are presumptuous concerning our finances, not understanding that we are not all extremely wealthy. Not taking into account that many of us moved here before the price of the homes rose so precipitously. Not understanding that there are a number of residents that park in the street because they can’t afford the cost of parking in a garage, and there are a number of people live in GV but use their cars to go to work elsewhere.
Ultimately, the bike radicals are attempting to circumvent the democratic process and impose their ideas on how we, in GV, should conduct our lives. We intend to fully resist this undemocratic arbitrary burden which the City’s administration intends to impose on us.

Adam Clybourn December 20, 2017 - 7:41 pm

Umm, are you okay?

mtsw December 20, 2017 - 7:46 pm

Glad you’re willing to add who knows how much commute time per day to 250,000 people to save a couple hundred parking spots.

You don’t own 14th street and the parking spots aren’t “yours” they’re public property and belong to the taxpayers. L Train riders are already severely burdened by the changes (my commute will be an extra 45 minutes each direction – assuming that there’s no traffic, but private vehicles like yours being allowed on the bus routes will make that unlikely) but nice to know our neighbors are unwilling to undergo even a minor hassle to assist us.

If you disagree and think we’re overreacting about the difficulty of crossing the river without an L train, there’s plenty of free parking spots in Williamsburg you can park your car in instead.

Rich December 20, 2017 - 8:14 pm

Exactly. Thank you.

Peter December 20, 2017 - 9:16 pm

Tru dat.

GARY TOMEI December 20, 2017 - 11:21 pm

While I’m sympathetic to the fact that the shut down of L line for repairs will add 45 minutes to mtsw’s commute, the question remains, how will a ban on vehicles on 14 street improve his(or her) travel time to or from work?

Alleviating the effect of the L shutdown on commuters, and changing the traffic patterns on 14 Street, are totally separate issues. Conflating them is a ploy to push the agenda of the bike Nazis, the Alternative Transportation organization.

Commuters from the outer boroughs presently do not drive unto 14 street. There is no bridge that would directly bring them there. Commuters currently using mass transportation use the L line primarily to connect to other subway lines. They do not have to actually travel on the surface of 14 street itself. Furthermore, during the time the L is not operating, commuters will be using alternate subways and buses, so again, they will not be using the surface of 14th Street.

When the L is closed for repairs those driving into Manhattan will take the Williamsburg, Manhattan, or Brooklyn bridges or the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and enter Manhattan much further south than 14th Street. Or they will take the Midtown tunnel or the 59 Street Bridge, and enter much further north. Thus 14 Street is not likely to see any great increase in vehicular traffic. Certainly not one which would warrant such a drastic change in its traffic pattern. In fact, the only people likely to travel on 14th street are those who live in the area or whose work is nearby.

The present plan is to divert all cars on 14 Street to the narrow 13 Street to the south. That street will have only one lane for vehicular traffic and two bicycle lanes, one in each direction. The residents, schools and businesses there will surely suffer noise and air pollution from backed up cars and trucks, including sanitation and delivery trucks.

This plan is particularly problematic for City & Country School on13 Street. Two way bike lanes directly in front of the school will clearly be a safety hazard for their students. Putting the lanes there, where children from two years old to thirteen go to school, is ripe for disaster. Particularly, when bike riders are notorious for not adhering to the traffic laws and rules.
Additionally, those lanes would take up all of the area outside of the school that is currently used for dropping off and picking up children. Anyone who drives or takes a taxi would not have a place to safely stop to let out children. If they stopped on the other side of the street, they would have to cross a lane of car traffic and two bike lanes with small children. If this were to happen, it’s not a matter if children will get hurt, only when.

The five restaurants and other businesses on the block will also suffer because deliveries will be almost impossible, and it will surely be difficult for their clientele to reach them.

All of these problems will unfold for the local community, but banning cars on 14 Street will not mitigate any of the problems which will be faced by those coming into Manhattan, whether by mass transportation or by car.

Rich December 21, 2017 - 1:15 am

The L train is a massive, vital artery for people to move through YOUR neighborhood today. 225,000 people use the L train EVERY DAY. That’s a lot of people. It is many magnitudes more than use private cars on 14th St.

Many people using the L, use it to commute between boroughs.

Crucially, others use it to change lines, as it one of the few crosstown lines. ON 14TH ST. (The other crosstown is the Times Square Shuttle, which is so overcrowded that they recently decided to tear out all of the seats.)

The L must be shut down or the tunnel will fail.

When the L shuts down, nearly 225,000 people will flood your neighborhood. Would you prefer they be in Ubers and taxis? Hoo boy! Your traffic problems will worsen beyond your wildest imagination. If enough people walk, great, but have you seen how crowded the sidewalks are already?! You want to add HOW many people to that?!

We need vastly more pedestrian space, and more space above ground for space-efficient transportation like bikes and busses. Those two statements are already true now, and will be doubly true with the L train shutdown.

Everyone changing subway lines crosstown will be forced onto 14th St, as will everyone using the special new replacement busses (did you even read the plan for busses to replace L train service?! Apparently not!) So 14th St will be VERY crowded.

These displaced L train riders have no other place to go. If they can’t travel underground, we need to make room OVERground.

We all need to share the finite real estate that is the city of New York. Is that really such a difficult concept to understand, or are you really that horribly selfish?!

GARY TOMEI December 20, 2017 - 11:48 pm

Alan, et.al.
I won’t waste my time arguing with someone who just wants to rant and explode with resentment and hate.
You are acting like the Trump supporters, just venting but not coherent.
You assume I own my home. You assume I own a car (I do, but plan to get rid of it. It’s a pain in the ass and expensive, and I generally use mass transportation).
Furthermore, all your spleen does not answer the question as whether taking cars off 14 st. will improve anyone’s commute.

Finally, I support funding mass transportation. Unfortunately, until the political will is there to support and fund that idea I’ll have to use a car on occasion.
Do me, and yourself, a favor don’t respond to this comment.

Tim December 21, 2017 - 10:07 am

I’m starting to think that whole “Elite Projection” dust-up btw Elon Musk and Jarret Walker is a far more deeper rooted thing than we thought.

Miles December 20, 2017 - 8:37 pm

umm…. do you live in NYC? just curious

Alon Levy December 20, 2017 - 11:06 pm

From the point of view of the median New Yorker, the median Manhattan car owner is extremely wealthy. The “We make $90,000 a year, not $500,000, so we’re working-class” line is really tiring in a city where most households, let alone most car-free households, make way less than that.

Alan December 20, 2017 - 11:08 pm

Yes, you are extremely wealthy if you own a house in Greenwich Village.

Yes, we do resent that you own property with a short commute to two of the biggest job clusters in the USA (and two of the only job clusters to grow much in the past generation), and are using that position to prevent others from accessing them.

And yes, the city allocating public space to serve the needs of the many over the wants of the few (you) is democratic, because there are more of us.

Tim December 21, 2017 - 8:42 am

” moved here before the price of the homes rose so precipitously”

So sell your fucking house, take the profit, and move to the South, were they will never bother your ass with transit issues ever again.

LLQBTT January 5, 2018 - 10:46 am

The SBS or whatever goody branding is assigned needs to go to Union Square. Ending at 1st Ave makes no sense. People want the 4 5 mostly, some want the N Q express, too, not to mention Union Square being a more central point in general.


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