Advocates Release First Comprehensive Proposal to Serve All L Train Riders During Shutdown

November 16, 2016
By Regional Plan Association
Regional Plan Association and the Riders Alliance released a comprehensive plan for managing the coming L train outage and improving transportation along the L train corridor over the long term. The report, “Fixing the L Train and Managing the Shutdown: A Community Consensus Proposal,” was presented Tuesday a news conference with elected officials and representatives from community groups along the L train line.
 
The shutdown, scheduled to begin in 2019, will close L train stations between Bedford Avenue and 8th Avenue. Advocacy groups contend that the shutdown provides the MTA and DOT with a unique opportunity to develop ambitious public transit alternatives for riders along the L. From improving service on connecting subways to more robust, Select Bus Service-like bus routes to improved access to ferries and CitiBike, the report highlights solutions that will help riders from Chelsea to Canarsie during the shutdown—and, in some cases, beyond.  
 
The full report is available online: http://library.rpa.org/pdf/RPA-Fixing-the-L-Train-and-Managing-the-Shutd...  It was written in consultation with more than 2,000 L train riders, community groups, business leaders, elected officials and transit advocates. In the report, RPA and the Riders Alliance outline a community-driven plan that offers comprehensive recommendations to the MTA and DOT, including:
 
Governance – how New York City and New York State should engage community and business stakeholders;
Street and transit improvements – including station access improvements, a 14th Street Transitway closed to private vehicles, a dedicated busway on the Williamsburg Bridge including HOV restrictions on other crossings, new technology to speed up buses, additional services to key routes, transforming Brooklyn streets to better connect people and cyclists, and more; and 
Transformation of the L train – to a modern, higher capacity, and more reliable subway through capital improvements that would increase ADA accessibility, establish wider platforms, improve circulation at stations for rider entrance and exit, and rebuild the 8th Avenue terminal to increase capacity for additional trains. 
The transit policy and advocacy groups sourced quantitative and qualitative data from the U.S. Census and more than 2,000 surveys of L train riders at stations throughout the corridor, as well as input from over a dozen elected officials and local community groups, to offer inclusive solutions during the route’s shutdown.  
 
"We already know riders in Manhattan and North Brooklyn are going to face the brunt of the L train shutdown, but what we learned by speaking to thousands of riders across the route is that the shutdown will affect riders from places like East New York and Canarsie almost as much--and they already have some of the longest commutes in the city, said Masha Burina, Senior Organizer, Riders Alliance. “Now more than ever, the MTA and DOT must implement new transit options that ensure that the needs of all L train riders are addressed during the shutdown."
 
Tom Wright, President, RPA, said: “The L train closure won’t be easy, but what we have sought to do with this report is offer solutions that mitigate the impact while also setting the stage for better transit service and more balanced streets over the long term. We look forward to working with the MTA, the Department of Transportation, elected officials and all other stakeholders on this effort.”
 
"We're looking forward to more planning conversations with key government agencies as the community of thousands, soon to lose essential train service, has demonstrated with this first statement/proposal,” said Felice Kirby of the L Train Coalition. “Commuters and businesses will no doubt suffer, but some of our ideas, such as big boat East River ferry shuttle service that runs Brooklyn-Manhattan and late night hours Thursday - Saturday, are some of the community-driven ideas that we think useful. We're two years away from tunnel closing; our sleeves are rolled up to work together. When's the meeting?"
 
"A functioning transit system ensures city residents access to educational institutions, jobs, groceries and medical care," said Layman Lee, Placemaking Manager at Community Solutions' Brownsville Partnership. "Hearing directly from residents in Brownsville and other affected neighborhoods is a crucial step towards ensuring quality of life is not lowered during the L shutdown and community-driven ideas for longer term improvements are seriously considered."