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L Train Shutdown Between Manhattan and Brooklyn Will Officially Begin in 2019

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Getting between the two boroughs will soon get much more difficult

Joel Raskin/Curbed Flickr Pool

The day that Brooklyn and Manhattan residents have feared has arrived: the New York Times reports that the MTA will announce today the official details of the L train shutdown. As suspected, the transit authority will opt for a full cessation of service between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 18 month, beginning in 2019, to facilitate Hurricane Sandy-related repairs in the Canarsie tube. The line will operate between Canarsie and Williamsburg, but will stop at Bedford Ave in Brooklyn; in a particularly sucky move for Manhattanites, all five stops along 14th Street will be closed for the duration, too. Ouch.

There’s no getting around the fact that this is going to cause massive problems across the board for commuters—but transit officials maintain that this option will actually be the least disruptive. "This is the, ‘Get in, get done, get out,’ option," Veronique Hakim, the president of New York City Transit, told the Times. The other option seriously being considered would have kept service running, but repairs would have taken three years to finish.

The fact that work isn’t due to begin for three years is likely cold comfort for those who’ll be affected by this plan, which is basically everyone who may ever need to get to a point between Canarsie and the Meatpacking District. But the MTA also says that it’s looking into transit alternatives that will alleviate the shutdown’s impact. Per the Times:

The authority is considering several plans, including extra subway service on nearby lines and a new bus and ferry service. Cars could be added to trains on the G line, which is known for having short trains that riders must scramble to board.

And hey, the MTA could always build a transparent tunnel in the East River to ferry commuters, or turn 14th Street into a lengthy pedestrian plaza. (Or not—those are admittedly pie-in-the-sky ideas.)

The MTA estimates that repairs will cost about $800 million, with the federal government kicking in funding.