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

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's sudden announcement in January that the L train shutdown would be averted stunned riders.

News 12 Staff

Apr 17, 2019, 11:36 PM

Updated 1,824 days ago

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo's sudden announcement in January that the L train shutdown would be averted stunned riders.
Here’s a breakdown of the how the L train saga played out:
In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy sent around 7 million gallons of East River waters flooding into the Canarsie tunnel. That busy tunnel, which connects Williamsburg to Lower Manhattan, was almost 100 years old and transports around 250,000 daily.
It corroded the old concrete liner inside the tunnel and the concrete benchwall that has housed cables for decades.
In January 2016, the MTA revealed it was seriously considering a plan to shut down that major stretch of L train service to make repairs.
The MTA laid out two proposals for the shutdown that would stretch from the Bedford Avenue station to Manhattan. The public had two options. One was quick and very painful: A complete shutdown lasting 18 months beginning in 2019. The other option was long and agonizing: Only a partial shutdown but lasting three years.
By July 2016, the official plan was set: a full shutdown but with repairs expected to take only 15 months. Between 2016 and 2018, the MTA and city Department of Transportation held dozens of community meetings to figure out what to do with all those displaced riders.
In the fall of 2018, the DOT launched its multipronged plan that included street changes to improve traffic flow, new bike lanes and HOV lanes.
At the time, News 12 sat down with Eric Beaton, the DOT’s deputy commissioner for transportation planning and management, to talk about what the agency was doing on their end to accommodate the plan.
“We are very confident in the plan we have put together. It’s taken a lot of work. It's had a tremendous amount of community input. It's had a lot of technical guidance behind it, but we are also committed to being flexible," he said.
In December 2018, just as the final stages were wrapping up before the shutdown, Gov. Cuomo toured the Canarsie tunnel to make his own assessment of the plans.
On Jan. 3, the bomb was dropped: Gov. Cuomo had consulted engineering experts from Cornell and Columbia universities who came up with a new plan to use new technology to avert a shutdown completely.
"With this design, it would not be necessary to close the L train tunnel at all,” he said.
Many commuters were left scratching their heads. Many MTA board members were outraged that they weren't consulted. Thousands of New Yorkers were still unsure about what’s next.
Only time will tell if the new plan will work.


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