L train shutdown: A Manhattan vs. Brooklyn breakdown | amNewYork

L train shutdown: A Manhattan vs. Brooklyn breakdown

The L train shutdown will impact thousands of commuters.
The L train shutdown will impact thousands of commuters. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Walter Wlodarczyk

Ding, ding, ding! Let the L train shutdown fight begin!

Just kidding. Whether you live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, there’s no winning when the 15-month L train shutdown begins in April.

As 225,000 weekday, interborough commuters prepare for the looming service outage, take a peek at what is planned for each borough.


Service suspension: The entire Manhattan portion of the L train — from First to Eighth avenues — will be shuttered during the Canarsie Tunnel reconstruction project.

Transit alternatives: If you’re trying to get across town, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and city Department of Transportation have set up alternatives to the L train.

  • A dedicated busway will operate along 14th Street — eastbound between Third and Ninth avenues and westbound between Third and Eighth avenues — from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The busway is expected to launch on Jan. 9, ahead of the shutdown.
  • The M14 SBS will run on a high-frequency route and connect to ferry service at Stuyvesant Cove in Manhattan.
  • A new crosstown, two-way protected bike lane will open on 13th Street.

Station improvements: The MTA will use the shutdown as an opportunity to make upgrades at the Union Square and First Avenue subway stations.

  • The First Avenue station will get new entrances on both sides of 14th Street and new elevators that serve both platforms as well as new turnstiles and MetroCard vending machines.
  • The Union Square station stairs between the Broadway line serving the N, Q, R and W trains and the L line will be widened and reconfigured to improve passenger mobility. A new escalator will be installed between the station’s mezzanine and the L train platform, and turnstile capacity will be improved.
  • All of the other L train stations in Manhattan will get a fresh coat of paint, staircase refurbishing and new lighting treatments.


Service suspension: The L line will continue to operate between Rockaway Parkway and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, but there will be no train service into Manhattan.

Transit alternatives: Since the L line will still run for most of its route in Brooklyn, the MTA and DOT have focused most of their energy on solutions for getting commuters across the East River.

  • Additional or improved subway service will be implemented between Brooklyn and Manhattan on the J, M, Z, C and G lines. Subway riders will also be able to transfer for free between the Broadway G train station and the J, M, Z stations at Hewes and Lorimer streets; the 21st Street G train station and Hunters Point Avenue 7 train; and the L train at Livonia Avenue and the Junius Street 3 train station.
  • Four “L-Alternative” bus routes with limited stops and high-frequency service will shuttle commuters across the Williamsburg Bridge via a dedicated bus lane. The bridge will also have high occupancy vehicle restrictions during peak commuting hours.
  • A new temporary ferry route will launch, connecting North Williamsburg to Stuyvesant Cove on East 20th Street in Manhattan.
  • Grand Street will undergo “major changes” to accommodate an influx of buses and cyclists traveling toward the Williamsburg Bridge. Further details on the upgrades have not been released.

Station improvements: In order to better serve the increase in subway riders on nearby subway lines, the MTA will be making capacity improvements at a number of stations.

  • The Marcy Avenue J, M and Z station will get wider staircases and more turnstiles.
  • The Lorimer Street J, M and Z station and Nassau Street G station will get additional turnstiles.
  • More stairs will be added to the Broadway Junction J and Z platforms that connect to the L.
  • At Court Square, more stairs will be added to the G platform and two control areas will see improved capacity.
  • New stairs will be installed from the Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street station mezzanine to the new G, L platform.
  • Additional station entrances will be opened at the Metropolitan Avenue G station near Powers Street and at the Hewes Street J, M, Z station.
  • Along the L line, the Bedford Avenue station entrance will see two new street-level stairways, an expanded mezzanine, new elevators and more turnstiles. The Driggs Avenue entrance will also get new street-level stairways, a mezzanine redesign and more turnstiles.

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