Community proposes to build a third Canarsie Tube to ease the L train shutdown

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The fate of the L train — part of which runs through Ridgewood — is still off track, and riders are demanding answers from the MTA.

On Wednesday night, the L Train Coalition, a group of community stakeholders including residents, business owners and community organizations, held a town hall meeting at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center in Brooklyn to bring everyone up to speed on the current situation with the pending L train shutdown.

Much to the dismay of those in attendance, there was no representative from the MTA at this town hall meeting to answer pertinent questions from the community.

However, the MTA has “made a commitment to have a back-and-forth with the community,” said Felice Kirby, the former owner of Teddy’s Bar and Grill and member of the L Train Coalition. “They want feedback on transportation options on how to lessen service disruptions.”

Elected officials held a closed-door meeting with members of the MTA to discuss repair options for the Canarsie Tube. Mina Elias, chief of staff for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, was present at that meeting.

“The MTA told us that they have not yet decided on what they are planning to do. They are looking at a variety of options,” Elias explained. “They are looking at whether to close the tube entirely, and that would allow them to do the repairs more quickly … they’re looking at closing one tube, keeping the rest of the system working. That would reduce L train service by 75 percent which means you may have dangerous overcrowding … or they may do nights and weekends which would cause this project to go out as long as seven years. So there are options on the table, none of them are good.”

One option raised by community members was building a third tube for the L train so the MTA can then close one tube and keep service running as normal. Elias said that a project of this magnitude would cost nearly $4.5 billion, and that type of funding would be difficult to procure.

The L Train Coalition is currently looking to expand and create a united front along the entire L line to fight for answers and a response that will cause the least amount of problems for all those affected by this potential shutdown.

“We feel that we should build a movement across the L line, from Manhattan to Canarsie, of civic leadership asking for the MTA to publicly debrief us [and] share with us the status reports,” Kirby said. “Our movement should ask for the MTA to accept some oversight, some input, from a third-party neutral engineering MTA expert … we’d like to push the MTA to get together with us by the end of March.”

Anyone interested in joining the L Train Coalition can send an email to ltraincoalition@gmail.com to find out more information.