L Train Repairs

During Superstorm Sandy, the 100-year-old Canarsie Tunnel that brings the L Train under the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn was flooded with 7 million gallons of saltwater and was forced to close for 11 days. According to the MTA, this was the subway tunnel most adversely affected by the storm, and that the aging and overcrowded tunnel needs additional upgrades. 

 

Ridership on the L Train has risen nearly 240% since 1990, with an increase of nearly 470% at Bedford Avenue alone. With approximately 400,000 riders per day, more than half of whom commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan, the L Train is one of the most important elements of New York’s public transit system. The MTA is proposing major repairs that will have a significant impact on commuters to and from Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn and 14th Street in Manhattan. As part of the repairs, the Canarsie Tunnel will be significantly upgraded, as will the 1st Avenue and Bedford Avenue Stations. Much of the cost of the repairs will be funded from Superstorm Sandy Recovery Funding, federal formula funding and the Cost of Good Repair program, for a total of roughly $700 million in federal funds.

 

The MTA is starting the tunnel rehabilitation phase of the L Project—a project that will ultimately also bring ADA accessibility to three new stations and increase service on the L line. The partial closure of the Canarsie Tunnel for the repairs needed in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, while necessary, will reduce the frequency of L Train service on nights and weekends, beginning Friday, April 26, 2019 and lasting 15-18 months.

 

Getting Around During the L Train Project

It’s important to plan ahead before using the L Train as it will be crowded, and alternatives might be faster.

In Brooklyn, the MTA is introducing a new bus, the Williamsburg Link. It will operate on two routes, one clockwise (B92) and one counterclockwise (B91). This bus will provide double the normal bus service when there is no L Train service during weekend and weeknight construction work. These buses provide connections between:

  • Bedford Avenue (L),
  • Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street (G / L),
  • Marcy Avenue (J / M), and
  • Hewes Street (J / M)

In Manhattan, the MTA is planning additional M14A bus service to connect customers to the M-, G-, and 7-Trains, which will have enhanced service during weeknights and weekends. The extra M14A route service will extend to connect with the Delancey/Essex Street F/J/M Station. On weekends, the M14A/D buses, combined, run every 3 to 5 minutes for most of the day along 14th Street. The MTA is also planning to implement Select Bus Service (SBS) along the M14A/D route to increase bus speeds.

The city has also decided to pilot a new design for 14th Street. To further increase bus speed, 14th Street will be temporarily converted to a “busway” for the duration of the L Project. NYC Department of Transportation will set aside 14th Street between Third and Ninth Avenues for buses only, with allowances for private car drop-offs and deliveries. The new design is founded on international best practices for busy transit corridors that are proven to facilitate quick and reliable bus travel and improve truck traffic. You can view details on the City’s design for the 18-month pilot here

 

To help you plan your trip, use these resources:

MTA website, including maps: https://new.mta.info/l-project/service-alternatives

Video Travel Guides:

Station-Specific Travel Guides (detailed information by station):

Manhattan Stations

Brooklyn Stations

 

If you have questions or need help trip-planning, you can contact the MTA:

  • Call “511” and say “L train”
  • Tweet @NYCTSubway using #LProject

 

Air Quality on the Subway

Rep. Maloney's number-one priority for the L Project is ensuring the safety of all commuters, including when it comes to the quality of the air in the Canarsie Tunnel and on the L-Train platforms. Tunnel rehabilitation work creates dust, which includes respirable crystalline silica. The MTA has required its contractor to create a plan for managing dust. The MTA, in consultation with a public health consultant, has established an extremely conservative threshold that the contractor will be required to meet or the dust producing work will be stopped. By applying the OSHA established long term exposure limits (for workers exposed to these levels for 8 hours a day over 45 years), to the short-term exposure of our riders, the MTA is confident that it is establishing a threshold that is health protective to our riders. In addition to managing and mitigating the dust, the plan includes constant environmental air monitoring within the tunnel work zones, adjacent to any work zone and on the platforms adjacent to the tunnel at 1 Av and Bedford Av. The MTA has promised to make the results of the air monitoring available to the public, but the agency is still working to finalize how that data will be shared.

 

What I’m Doing

Rep. Maloney has met many times with MTA officials over the past several months to express my concerns about the L Project mitigation plan, air quality monitoring, and the agency’s efforts to solicit community feedback during the L Project’s planning phase. Rep. Maloney is continuing my involvement as NYC Transit forms its plans for re-designing 14th Street and for implementing Select Bus Service on the M14A/D route.

More on L Train Repairs

Jul 23, 2019 In The News

A Brooklyn lawmaker is asking the MTA to better inform L train riders about upcoming service disruptions.

Last week, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney penned a letter to MTA CEO and Chairman Patrick Foye about the agency’s lackluster efforts to notify straphangers about service changes for late nights and many weekends.

Since late April, the MTA has been repairing the Canarsie Tunnel, which was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Since the project began, L trains have been running with 20-minute headways on nights and weekends.

Jul 16, 2019 Press Release

NEW YORK, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to do more public outreach to inform L Train riders of service disruptions and the upcoming planned closure of the L train for many weekends and late nights in the coming months in a letter sent yesterday to MTA CEO and Chairman Patrick J Foye. While the MTA’s newsletter “The L Project” included information on the planned closures, most riders of the L Train do not get the newsletter and would have no way of knowing that they may have to switch to a shuttle bus. 

 

Jan 9, 2019 In The News

When Democrats take control of the House of the Representatives in January, we will have an opportunity to change the course of our country by pursuing a bold progressive agenda that serves all Americans and providing a badly needed check on President Trump and his administration.

Jan 6, 2019 In The News

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) --Thousands of people are in limbo days after Governor Cuomo announced a plan to avert the L train shutdown. Some people moved out of their apartments, and some apartment owners offered lower rents to get them to stay.

Now, elected leaders want answers from the MTA.

"How did we find out by surprise - how did we find out by surprise?" said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Jan 3, 2019 Press Release

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement regarding Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement regarding the L Train:

Sep 28, 2018 Press Release

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) lauded an announcement that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) have entered into a contract with NY Waterways to provide larger than planned ferry boats to carry passengers across the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan during the L Train shutdown. Maloney had been pressing the MTA to increase ferry capacity during the shutdown.

Sep 17, 2018 In The News

BROOKLYN — It was a celebration of sorts in Willamsburg on Monday afternoon as commuters and politicians cheered a small victory for L train riders with the impending shutdown just seven months away.

Monday the MTA announced plans to add a fourth bus line during the closure. It will take commuters from Williamsburg to 14th street, saving some riders as much as 20 minutes on their commute.

"That is a big, big improvement," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. "We are thrilled that we have this extra line for Brooklyn and I thank the people with me."

Sep 17, 2018 Press Release
NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, and members of the community to call for additional service to address community needs during the L Train shut down starting April 2019. Residents are concerned that the MTA is making it too difficult for Brooklyn residents to access ferry service and offering too little ferry service. But just today, Maloney’s office received news that the MTA is working with the contractor and hopes to expand ferry service – increasing the capacity of boats from 149 passengers to 240 passengers and having three boats running instead of two.
May 16, 2018 Press Release

"I’m sorry I cannot be here in person, but I am in Washington voting.  Thank you for holding this public forum so that you can hear the concerns and suggestions of the community.  I believe it is very important to hear from the people who will be most directly impacted by this shutdown and who understand how their community will be impacted by the mitigation plan.  For residents of Brooklyn who use the L Train, a proper mitigation plan is critical – a robust plan will ensure that they can reach their jobs and other destinations in reasonable time, a weak plan will cause businesses to close

Apr 24, 2017 Press Release

New York, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), a long time champion for investing in New York City’s infrastructure, expressed serious concerns about the proposed cuts to infrastructure investments in President Trump’s recent budget preview. On March 16, President Trump submitted to Congress his budget outline, or “skinny budget,” which proposed massive cuts to the Department of Transportation that will hamstring infrastructure projects across the country. His full budget is expected later this spring.