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Impending L train shutdown is still causing anxiety among New Yorkers

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Many riders also seemed resigned to their fate and said they had to do the best with what they had

Joel Raskin/Curbed Flickr Pool

The city held its second information session or “open house” ahead of the L train shutdown starting next year, at the 14th Street YMCA on Wednesday night, and many New Yorkers continued to express their frustration about the planned work.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, a group of commuters rallied outside the YMCA demanding that the city do more for the residents and business owners along 14th Street.

In April 2019, the MTA will shutdown the Canarsie Tunnel, which connects Brooklyn and Manhattan on the L train, for 15 months of repairs owing to damage from Hurricane Sandy. L train service will run normally between Canarsie and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, but there will be no trains crossing the East River on the line, and no service whatsoever on the Manhattan side.

The city has put forth many alternatives including the increase of service along the J, M, Z, and G lines; the addition of ferry service; and the potential creation of a busway along 14th Street that would restrict access to private vehicles during rush hour. The specifics of all of this is yet to be determined, and that is what the MTA is hoping to do through these open house meetings.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, many commuters expressed a sense of resignation over the impending shutdown.

“We just have to roll with the punches,” said Tara Crichlow, who commutes to Williamsburg for one of her jobs. “I know that work needs to be done, I just wonder if this is the best way to move forward.”

Ridgewood resident Rosemary Grosse said she was preparing for the influx of commuters planning to take the M train near where she lives.

“It has to be enough,” she said, when asked if the MTA’s measures were appropriate for the shutdown. “All the ideas they’ve presented here are good, but we’ll have to wait to see if they actually work.”

Ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting, the transit nonprofit, Transportation Alternatives released a report calling on the MTA to make a bigger effort to mitigate the effects the of the shutdown.

“The city’s L Train shutdown plan is a good start, but there’s so much more we could do to provide transit riders the service they need, including fare-free service and all-door boarding on all 14th Street bus routes,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “And critically, here in the city that never sleeps, we need a 14th Street that’s dedicated solely for buses 24 hours a day.”

The MTA will host two more open house meetings this month to go over its shutdown plans and continue finessing the final details of the closure.