What the L? The reversal and the damage done

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For years, commuters in Brooklyn and Manhattan were bracing for the “L-Pocalypse” – a complete shutdown of the L train in a stretch connecting the two boroughs. When it was saved at the 11th hour by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, many in the community believed that the damage was already done.

The planned L train shutdown prompted a mass exodus from neighborhoods served by the subway line.

Some businesses braced for the worst, while others saw a business opportunity. King Kog bike shop moved locations from their previous spot on Graham Avenue to Grand Street. The owner figured the shutdown would prompt a huge surge in cyclists, and they would happily accommodate.

The city worked for months to spin a web of protected bike lanes in the affected areas.

MORE: What the L? Only time will tell if new track plan will work 

“We really invested heavily in a robust bike network on both the Brooklyn and Manhattan sides of the bridge,” said city Department of Transportation official Eric Beaton. “You'll be able to ride in a protected bike lane down Grand Street over the Williamsburg Bridge into Delancey and Allen Street and Pike into First and Second avenues."

The DOT had already installed bus lanes, HOV lanes and made changes to city streets. The hours of planning and years of meetings had Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez demanding compensation from the state for all the trouble.

"The city should be reimbursed for all the dollars we spent for almost three years," he said.

The reversal left many wondering how much of the transportation plan will stay and how much will have to be reversed?

MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford said “90 percent of the work we were planning to do will still be done…We won’t have to fully shut down the trains, so that's good.”

At a public emergency meeting this year, MTA board members scrutinized the plan, many of them outraged for not being consulted – trying to detangle the engineering specifics they thought needed a full-time shutdown.

The MTA is holding several spring open houses in Brooklyn and Manhattan to discuss what will be happening under the new plan, and what measures will be abandoned to prepare for the "un-shutdown."

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