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The L Train Shutdown

LATEST UPDATE: Amid the upcoming panic of the "L-mageddon" 15-month shutdown, on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019, Governor Cuomo announced that the shutdown has been cancelled. Engineering experts have decided to implement European train system designs that have never been used in the US before. With this breakthrough in engineering, the new design will not require a full shutdown, but only night and weekend closures. The work will be able to be completed in the same 15-month time frame, easing the stress of the 250,000 New Yorkers who ride the L-train daily and were going to have to plan a new commute.


Since early 2016, when the MTA first announced that the L Train would be taken out of service to repair damages sustained during Hurricane Sandy, the plan and timeline for the shutdown has been in constant flux. While the shutdown itself is fairly old news, here is what you need to know about the current timeline, the recently released alternate transit plans, and how the shutdown will affect NYC. Starting in April 2019, L Train service will be suspended between Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn for 15 months. The L Train connects most of eastern Brooklyn to the rest of the city, and an estimated 400,000 people ride it daily -- 225,000 of them use it specifically for travel in and out of Manhattan. To reroute these commuters, the MTA’s latest alternate transit plan (released in early March) calls for increased subway service on the J, M, Z and G lines and a new bus lane exclusively for L Train shuttle buses on the Williamsburg Bridge. This new bus service will add hundreds of buses through the Lower East Side, Chinatown and SoHo, and will virtually shut down traffic on 14th Street during rush hour by closing down all but one lane to regular traffic. In addition to potentially crippling traffic in much of Downtown Manhattan, officials are not even sure the streets can handle the increased bus load, so work may be required to widen streets along the route. You can read more about the details of the plan and some of the backlash here.


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