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How to get around during L train service changes

Riders who regularly rely on the L train on weeknights and weekends will be the most affected.

The L train rehabilitation project will begin April

The L train rehabilitation project will begin April 26 and last through summer 2020.  Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

It may not be a full shutdown, but L train riders are still going to see major service changes related to the Canarsie Tunnel rehabilitation project.

Starting at 8 p.m. Friday, the MTA plans to curtail service severely on the L line between Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on weeknights and weekends. The work will continue through summer 2020.

Riders who regularly rely on the L to get around during those times will be the most affected, as train service will be reduced to every 20 minutes. The MTA warned that overcrowding is expected to be an issue and urged commuters to seek other transportation options.

Freaking out? Don’t. Here’s your guide to surviving the service changes.

L train service changes between Manhattan and Brooklyn

The revised rehabilitation plan allows for the MTA to keep one tube of the tunnel open for train traffic while crews repair the other tube. Straphangers should see regular service during weekday commuting hours. This is what riders should expect, per the MTA:

  • Weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Regular service.
  • Weeknights from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Reduced service, winding down trains to every 20 minutes.
  • Weeknights from 1:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.: Trains will run every 20 minutes.
  • Weekends from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday: Service will operate every 20 minutes.

Service changes only in Brooklyn

The MTA plans to use extra trains between Lorimer Street and Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway in an effort to reduce headways during certain times. What you need to know:

  • Weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Regular service.
  • Weeknights from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Trains will run every 10 minutes.
  • Weeknights from 1:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.: Service every 20 minutes.
  • Weekends from 6 a.m. Saturday to 1:30 a.m. Sunday: Trains will run every 10 minutes.
  • Weekends from 6 a.m. Sunday to 1:30 a.m. Monday: Trains will run every 10 minutes.
  • Weekends outside of the above times: Trains will operate every 20 minutes.

Still freaking out? Let’s take a look at alternatives, avoiding the L train all together.

Increased G train service

  • Weeknights from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Five extra trips added to the existing train rotation.
  • Weekends: Service will operate every eight minutes, a two-minute reduction from the current wait time.

Increased M train service

  • Weeknights between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.: Service will be extended to 96th Street-Second Avenue via the Q line.
  • Weekends: Service will be extended to 96th Street-Second Avenue via the Q line. Trains will run every eight minutes during the day.

Increased 7 train service

  • Weeknights from 8:30 p.m. to midnight: Five extra trips will be added.
  • Weekends: Trains will run every four to 7-1/2 minutes.

The Williamsburg Link bus

Two new bus routes (B91 and B92) will connect commuters between L stations and nearby J, M and G stations. Buses will make stops at the Bedford Avenue (L), Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street (G and L) and Marcy Avenue (J and M) stations. The B92 will also stop at the Hewes Street (J and M) station.

  • Weeknights: Buses will operate from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Weekends: Buses will run from 5 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Getting across town in Manhattan

In June, the city plans to launch a redesign of 14th Street to prioritize bus service aboveground along the L train's route. In the meantime, the MTA will ramp up M14A bus service and extend the route to stop at the Delancey-Essex streets subway station, from which commuters can take the F, J or M trains to Brooklyn. Commuters can also connect to the M train at Sixth Avenue-14th Street or take the 6 train at Union Square, which provides a transfer to M trains at the Broadway-Lafayette stop.

The 14th Street redesign will feature two lanes in each direction. The two center lanes (one in each direction) will be reserved for buses and trucks. The two outer lanes will be for truck loading and private vehicles that need garage parking or to make pickups and drop-offs. Those vehicles will also be required to turn right off of 14th Street at the first available cross street. Left turns will be banned.

With Vincent Barone

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