Brooklynites have been preparing for what the internet has deemed the “L-Pocalypse,” aka the shutdown of L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn until who-knows-when to accommodate necessary post-Superstorm Sandy fixes.
In an effort to meet straphangers halfway, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has developed a plan to “engage” with the community and consult with them on how best to proceed with repairs to the tubes, which take the L train under the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
“The Canarsie Tubes were heavily damaged during Superstorm Sandy when they were flooded with seven million gallons of saltwater, which has eaten away at the metal and concrete materials that make up the tubes’ infrastructure,” said MTA Chairperson and CEO Prendergast said. “We need to bring the Canarsie Tubes to a state of good repair, and we need to work closely with the community and its elected officials to determine the best way to proceed with this work and provide travel alternatives while it occurs.”
According to the MTA, regular meetings with residents, business owners and those affected by the Canarsie Tube work will be conducted. The agency is also looking to consult with elected officials in the districts that will be affected by the repairs before making any decisions about the construction process or service alternatives.
“The impact these repairs will have on the community is detrimental to thousands of riders and hundreds of businesses,” said Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, who represents Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Fort Greene. “However, our number one priority is to ensure everyone’s safety. By engaging the community in the planning and a dialogue about the need for the repairs, together we are taking the necessary steps towards an inclusive and transparent process.”
“The MTA had a very productive meeting with elected officials from Brooklyn on the situation with the L train,” added Councilmember Stephen Levin. “The meeting provided clarity for us on the significant damage to the line from Sandy as well as potential courses of actions. While a timeline and an exact course of action are not yet clear, we are confident that the affected communities will have good and productive dialogue with the MTA moving forward.”
After Sandy, the Canarsie Tubes suffered damage to tracks, signals, switches, power cables, signal cables, communication cables, lighting, cable ducts and bench walls, according to the MTA. The agency also released that it would make significant improvements to station and tunnel segments closest to the “under-river” section; new stairs and elevators will be coming to the Bedford Avenue Station and the First Avenue station in Manhattan; and three new electric substations will be installed, allowing additional trains to operate during rush hours.
In the meantime, the MTA has taken steps to ensure that the 225,000 commuters using the Canarsie Tubes daily are safe. The tubes will “remain reliable until permanent repairs can be performed,” the agency said in a statement.
The MTA plans to use as much federal Sandy relief funding as possible to perform the work.