New Yorkers have managed to survive just over four months of the L train slowdown, and while doomsday projections of nightmare commutes have largely failed to materialize, straphangers are not out of the woods yet.
MTA officials announced on Wednesday that nearly the entire L train line will shutter one weekend in September as crews work to install a new escalator at the 14th Street-Union Square station. The work is separate from the L train slowdown’s Canarsie Tunnel rehabilitation, which the MTA says is progressing ahead of schedule, and will ensure “significant improvements to mobility” on a train line that shuttles some 400,000 riders per weekday, according to Janno Lieber, the MTA’s chief development officer.
“It’s a big undertaking to dig a pit for an escalator and take out all of that construction in a single weekend, but it’s going to be done,” says Lieber. “We’re going to get service back up and running in time for the morning rush hour.”
There will be no L train service from Canarsie to Broadway Junction from Friday, September 13 at 10:45 p.m. through 5 a.m. Monday, September 16, according to the MTA. Transit officials announced the major service change just nine days before it’s set to take effect. Lieber said his team finalized the construction work over the last few weeks,
In addition to the slashed service, for about three to five weeks in October and November, L trains will not stop at the Eighth Avenue and 14th Street-Sixth Avenue stations in Manhattan on nights and weekends as MTA crews conduct elevator work to make the platforms more accessible for riders with limited mobility. The specific dates have yet to be announced.
Those changes could include skipping the Union Square station to accommodate work, but are crucial to improving how New Yokrers navigate the subway system, said Alex Elegudin, NYC Transit’s senior adviser for systemwide accessibility.
“Advancing this work now at these critical stations as we had promised will help to minimize disruptions later while also getting the accessibility and ease-of-access improvements done as quickly as possible, a huge win for our customers,” says Elegudin.