April 27, 2019 is the date which up to 250,000 daily commuters in Queens and Brooklyn will be anxiously preparing for as the MTA shuts down the L train tunnel for 15 months.
But while commuters and transit wonks brace for a spill over of displaced straphangers onto the M and 7 lines, the agency will be preparing by adding additional trains and working with the city Dept. of Transportation to provide bus options over the Williamsburg Bridge.
Ferry service will also be augmented starting April 21 the two agencies will be holding open houses to inform commuters of their options.
“We’re continuing unprecedented efforts at public outreach, responding to local communities and giving as much notice as possible on key dates in this project,” New York City Transit President Andy Byford said. “With the L running as a Brooklyn-only service for 15 months starting after the weekend of April 27, we’ve been hard at work with our partners at NYCDOT and other City agencies to make sure that the alternate train, bus, ferry and bicycle networks work together to get people around successfully.”
The 7 train saw decreased service on weekends during the month of October while work crews labored to install the long-awaited communications-based train control, a digital system to replace the antiquated analog signals and allow up to 14 trains to be added to the line.
The MTA expects the No. 7 line to be one of the top alternatives for people commuting to Manhattan from Brooklyn and is expecting transfers to occur at Court Square, where the two east-west lines connect via the G train.
The M train will have weekend and overnight service expanded, according to the MTA, affording people in Middle Village a path into lower Manhattan and extending the line from its usual terminus at Essex Street to 96th Street in the Upper West Side.
“With DOT crews now putting down new street markings for bus lanes and bike lanes, we are deeply committed to having our streets ready for the L tunnel closure next April,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “From a ‘bus bridge’ over the Williamsburg Bridge to the 14th Street Busway, from more Citi Bikes to expanded pedestrian space for displaced L train commuters, we and our MTA partners are up for this enormous challenge.”
The Canarsie Tunnel was one of nine underwater right of ways flooded during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and sustained the most amount of damage to tracks, signals, signal lines, power cables, communication lines, lighting and ducts along the over 7,000-foot stretch.
The concrete walls of the tunnel must be rehabilitated to ensure the structural integrity.
The L train will remain active from Bedford Avenue and Canarsie Rockaway Parkway Stations, according to the MTA.