In a surprise move yesterday, Gov. Cuomo announced that the L-train won't be completely shut down between Brooklyn and Manhattan for Sandy-related repairs in April after all.
With this new plan, workers will repair the Canarsie tunnel one tube at a time on nights and weekends, with one track remaining open for service... all over the course of 15 to 20 months.
According to Cuomo, crews will install cables on racks along the inside of the tunnels, and leave the old cables where they are. Per various published reports, the workaround relies on the use of a fiber reinforced plastic, which hasn’t been used in the United States for this type of tunnel repair.
There are questions about all this...
I'm trying to break down what Cuomo did to the L train today, and at a very fundamental and basic level, I think there are two gating questions: "what the hell did he even just propose?" and "how do we have any assurances it will work?"— Second Ave. Sagas (@2AvSagas) January 3, 2019
The lack of rigorous analysis missing from today for a project of this scope is staggering.— Second Ave. Sagas (@2AvSagas) January 3, 2019
Gersh Kuntzman at Streetsblog has the best post (link here) on answering some questions raised following yesterday's presser.
Meanwhile, here's reaction from two local elected officials...
Sen. Brad Hoylman:
“As the State Senator who represents the entire stretch of the L train in Manhattan, I welcome any alternative to the L-train tunnel shutdown that repairs the tunnel within the current project timeline and maintains train service, while eliminating the need for hundreds of additional dirty diesel buses in our neighborhoods and traffic on side streets.
That said, after three years of planning and community input, my constituents have reason to be circumspect about the details. It’ll be the job of the new Senate Democratic majority along with our Assembly colleagues to provide sufficient oversight of the MTA and this plan.
In addition, we must continue to push for more reliable train and bus service, planned upgrades to our station and bike infrastructure, and work toward the ultimate goal of reducing car traffic through congestion pricing.”
District 2 City Councilmember Carlina Rivera:
“While I believe that the State and MTA are committed to providing the best L train plan for New Yorkers, I am disappointed that today’s news was announced without warning and with nowhere near enough detail, after years of careful planning by our communities.
Residents in my District are now in the dark about how they will be impacted by this new plan, and I am worried that many New Yorkers unnecessarily moved from affected areas and local small businesses suffered preparing for the expected shutdown.
In my discussions with MTA officials [yesterday] afternoon, I did hear some encouraging information, including potentially less noise and construction along 14th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue B. But I am still left with more questions than answers.
As we learn more and weigh the dramatic impact this plan will have on our city, I am calling on the City Council to hold hearings this month on this plan so we and the public can have our questions fully answered from State and agency officials well ahead of the plan’s commencement.
In addition, the city Department of Transportation must stay the course with that the current L Train Alternative Service Plan, including new bike lanes, bus routes, and protected bus corridors, until the public and advocates are able to process and comment on this new plan.
But regardless of how the L Train Tunnel repair goes, our State and City agencies must deeply evaluate how the mishandling of these announcements continues to erode public trust in our most important institutions, and work to redouble their efforts with our communities.”
At an unrelated event yesterday, Mayor de Blasio said that "anything that avoids disruption I favor obviously and a lot of people in Brooklyn, a lot of people in Manhattan have been really worried about the L train shutdown," as reported by the Associated Press. "So, if there is a plan that can be better for the people of our neighborhoods, that's great, but I want to reserve any further judgment until I hear more."
The immediate impact this might have on the construction along 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue B isn't known just yet. There are many questions, such as what does Cuomo's new plan mean for the power substation slated for 14th Street and Avenue B?
The Times had more on East Village impacts:
Construction and congestion on side streets in the East Village could be abated, sparing neighbors fumes from supplemental buses and asbestos in the debris removed from the tunnel.
Andy Byford, who oversees New York City’s subways and buses, said there would likely not be a high-occupancy vehicle lane over the Williamsburg Bridge, as had been planned. Additional ferry service from Brooklyn to Manhattan will also not be needed.
No decision has been made regarding shutting down 14th Street in Manhattan for bus service...
Previously on EV Grieve:
Town Hall provides a few more details on the 24/7 construction at 14th and A
Renderings reveal the MTA's plans for the Avenue A L station; why does everyone look so happy?
Nightmare scenario for residents who learn that 14th Street and Avenue A will be the main staging area for the L-train reconstruction
What the L: Cuomo calls off full L-train shutdown
Prepping for the new bike lanes on 12th and 13th streets
Bike lane line work continues on 12th Street
DOT puts down the green paint on the new 13th Street bike lane (except for one mysterious spot)