In June, the MTA and DOT began to pitch proposals for transportation alternatives during the shutdown, which includes shuttle service over the Williamsburg Bridge; increased service on the J, G, and M lines; regular and/or Select Bus Service across town in Manhattan; and additional ferry service.
The following plans are currently being presented to community boards along the L line in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but are subject to change.
The MTA is looking at increasing subway service on lines near the L train in Brooklyn by either running more trains or by lengthening the trains to allow more capacity.
Between 75 and 85 percent of L train riders are expected to transfer to other train lines that serve Brooklyn neighborhoods, including the 3, 4, A, C, G, J and M, per the MTA. The agency has suggested to increase service on the G, J, M and Z lines in particular.
- J and Z trains would run local between Myrtle and Marcy avenues in order to support increased demand at stations in South Williamsburg.
- Free transfers would be available between the L train at Livonia Avenue and the 3 train at Junius Street, and between the G train at Broadway and the Lorimer Street J, M and Z.
- The M train would run to and from 96th Street-Second Avenue on weekends and overnights.
The MTA expects about 5 to 15 percent of displaced L train riders to rely on buses, depending on what the DOT decides regarding street designs.
A major concern surrounding the L train shutdown is an increase in traffic flow over the Williamsburg Bridge. To mitigate traffic, a three-point plan has been introduced which includes lane designations for specific types of vehicles, dedicated bus lanes on the approaches and exits to the bridge and HOV lanes.
When it comes to inter-borough buses, the MTA is looking to provide "simple, direct connections" across the East River. To achieve this, the agency has suggested the following three bus routes that would target neighborhoods where buses would be a faster option than the subway. The following routes could change depending on public input, the MTA said.
- Route 1: North Williamsburg - South Williamsburg - Delancey Street/Essex Street - Spring Street - Prince Street - Broadway/Lafayette streets - Bleecker Street
- Route 2: Grand Street - Delancey Street/Essex Street - First Avenue/14th Street
- Route 3: Grand Street - Delancey Street/Essex Street - Spring/Prince streets - Broadway/Lafayette streets - Bleecker Street
For folks looking to get across town in Manhattan, the MTA has floated four possibilities to get New Yorkers across Manhattan along 14th Street, including standard Select Bus Service; enhanced Select Bus Service; a car-free busway on 14th Street's middle section; or a car-free busway that spans the entire length of 14th Street.
Commuters in waterfront neighborhoods like Williamsburg could be looking at additional ferry service between North 6th Street in Brooklyn and East 20th Street in Manhattan.
The capacity of one ferry is 1,200 - roughly the same as one L train - and the MTA said it could operate up to eight boats per hour. Ferry fares would be linked with M14 Select Bus Service and M23 Select Bus Service. Proposed hours of operation are as follows:
- 6 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday
- 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday
The MTA anticipates additional ferry service to carry about 3 to 5 percent of displaced L train riders.
The MTA is looking into improving bike lanes on both sides of the Williamsburg Bridge, including a separation of bikes from buses. Other options that are being considered include high capacity bike parking and a potential Citi Bike expansion.
(Credit: MTA handout)