Testimony of Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney Regarding the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Section 4(f) Review for the Canarsie Tunnel Project
"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 closure of the Canarsie Tunnel for the repairs needed in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, while necessary, will cause a major disruption to our city’s transit ecosystem. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon the MTA and New York City Transit (NYCT) to adopt a bold and innovative Alternative Service Plan (ASP) that will serve displaced commuters and adequately handle the volume of new pedestrian and vehicular traffic in Williamsburg and Lower Manhattan."
"My staff and I have been working closely with the MTA, the Department of Transportation (DOT), the L-Train Coalition, the 14th Street Coalition, and several other community groups to devise the most efficient ways to mitigate the shutdown’s disruptive effects. I am pleased to note that the ASP detailed in this Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) has incorporated several of the suggestions that I and members of the community have made during these productive discussions. I would like to thank the MTA for listening to New Yorkers and modifying their plans accordingly."
"First, I appreciate that the MTA has increased the number of shuttle bus routes between Bedford Avenue and 14th Street from three to four. The MTA has told us that roughly 28% of L-Train riders end their commute on 14th Street, and, to be successful, the temporary shuttle service should take commuters to the places where a significant number need to go."
"Additionally, I am glad that the MTA has recently announced that, as part of the L-Train station repairs that will occur during the shutdown, the Sixth Avenue Station will be made ADA accessible, through the addition of four new elevators. This will not only allow disabled riders easier access to the L-Train, but also connections to the F, M, 1, 2, and 3 lines and to the PATH train. The MTA should continue investing in upgrading subway stations to make them all ADA-compliant, and this is a step in the right direction. I wish the MTA would take advantage of the shutdown and make more of them ADA accessible. New York has been woefully lax in upgrading its stations, and I am encouraged by NYCT Chair Andy Byford’s commitment to accelerating the pace of making stations ADA accessible."
"Further, I believe that there are several important steps that the MTA could take to improve the ASP and prepare more effectively for the impending L-Train shutdown. One component of the ASP where I would suggest some modifications is the plan for increased shuttle bus service. Specifically, I believe there should be shuttle buses between Bedford Avenue and adjacent subway lines. Accordingly, there should be a bus between Bedford Avenue and the G-Train stop at Nassau Street and another bus between Bedford Avenue and the J/M/Z stop at Marcy Avenue. Furthermore, I understand that the MTA plans to add about 200 buses as part of this ASP, but that only 15 of these will be All-Electric Buses (AEBs). Air pollution is a major concern for the residents of North Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan whose neighborhoods are about to see significant traffic increases. I encourage the MTA to increase the number of AEBs that will be included in the 200-bus fleet responsible for shuttling displaced L-Train riders."
"I am also concerned about the proposed ferry service’s ability to keep up with displaced commuters’ demands. The MTA has told us that it will run 8 ferries an hour in each direction, allowing it to accommodate 1,192 people an hour in each direction. My concern is that during the rush hours more than 1,200 people an hour will opt to use the ferries and that more ferry service will be required at rush hour. Additionally, there should be a shuttle bus between Bedford Avenue and the ferry to make it easier for people to reach the ferry."
"I would like to thank the MTA again for pursuing bold ideas, for demonstrating openness to public feedback, and for allowing me to speak this evening. I urge the MTA to continue working with the community to solicit feedback in creating an ASP that is effective and balanced."