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Impending L train shutdown impels talks of another car-free zone

After ideas of closing Manhattan’s 14th Street, and Williamsburg’s Grand Avenue to cars were floated around, Bedford Avenue is also now being considered

[Update]: A study conducted by the Riders Alliance, now throws Bedford Avenue into the mix, suggesting that parts of the busy avenue should also become car-free zones, in addition to Grand Street. This would allow for more bike lanes, select bus routes, and increased pedestrian traffic. Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman from the mayor’s office, responded that all proposed options are being taken into consideration. “We are studying the possibilities, and welcome all ideas” (h/t DNAinfo).

The impending L train shutdown looms ever closer, and the city has been scrambling to come up with ways to keep hundreds of thousands of would-be straphangers moving for the 18 months the line will be closed for repairs. Last month, transit activists proposed one potential solution: turn 14th Street in Manhattan into a no-car zone, a proposal the MTA has agreed to consider. And now, they’re hoping to enact a similar plan on Grand Street in Williamsburg, reports the New York Post.

After all, the two thoroughfares have quite a bit in common. “Grand Street is a major backbone along the L train route just like 14th Street,” Caroline Samponaro, Transportation Alternatives’ senior director of campaigns and organizing, told the paper. “We are hoping to do a complete street redesign.”

While the group is currently “brainstorming many ideas,” the latest plan would ban cars from the Williamsburg Bridge to the intersection of Grand and Metropolitan Avenue, turning the stretch into a haven for buses, bikes, and pedestrians. The Post says city officials will consider the final proposal.

The shutdown is slated to start in January 2019, and—if all goes according to plan—would be expected to wrap in the summer of 2020. “We are working closely with the MTA to look at all ways to mitigate the impacts of the L train’s shutdown, with a focus on mass transit, bikes and ferries,” said a Department of Transportation spokesperson. Good luck to us all.