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Stranded L Riders Could Find An Unlikely Savior In the E Train: Proposal

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Among a sea of alternative proposals this might be the most grounded

On Monday, the MTA made the L Train shutdown official, a suspension of service between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months starting in 2019. It’s what local residents, business owners, and real estate agents had known and feared for months, and in the lead up to the closure many alternatives were put forward including a gondola across the East River, and a giant inflatable tunnel to connect the two boroughs. However a new plan to reroute the E Train from the World Trade Center stop along the G Line in Brooklyn may just be the most grounded proposal we’ve heard so far.

That proposal is the brainchild of Jim Venturi and his firm ReThink Studio, an organization focused on providing solutions to infrastructural problems in cities. So what exactly is his firm proposing as an alternative during the shutdown?

Currently the E train terminates in Manhattan at the World Trade Center stop. This stop is already aligned with the Chambers Street A/C stop, and Venturi’s firm is proposing that the E Train continue on this line to Brooklyn — to the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop to be precise, and with the construction of a new rail switch be rerouted along the G Train line heading north up to Court Square in Queens.

"This isn’t a new idea by any means but it just makes a lot of sense for the L Train, and it’s a relatively minor proposal," Venturi told Curbed.

Venturi isn’t suggesting that it will be cheap or easy, but just that it won’t be a large-scale project. It’s not easy on an engineering level he told Curbed but his proposal calls for the construction of two track switches at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station by slicing away part of the existing platforms which are longer than trains stopping there require. The G Train already connects to the A/C lines at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, so the E Train would then run north along the same line as the G and allow L Train commuters to switch at the Lorimer Street stop. L Train service in Brooklyn is expected to continue almost on the same schedule.

"This isn’t the ideal option of course, but at ReThink Studio we’re constantly thinking about the ideas of resiliency and finding different options," Venturi said. He admitted that the proposal would add travel time for existing L Train riders, and that it would be particularly problematic during regular rush hour on the E and G trains without the city providing additions cars, but it certainly sounds like one of the more realistic alternatives proposed for the closure.

Venturi hasn’t formally introduced the plan to the MTA, but said he’s just looking to get feedback from the public at the moment before he moves forward with the next steps.