United States

Most of 14th Street to Become Bus-Only During L Train Shutdown: MTA, DOT

What to Know

  • When L train shuts down in Manhattan for 15 months beginning in April 2019, riders will have other options of getting around, the MTA says
  • There will be expanded service on other subway lines, a special direct ferry, a 13th Street bikeway and a bus-only 14th Street transit way
  • The shutdown is part of a major rehab and resiliency project on the L train infrastructure

When the L train shuts down for its major rehabilitation project in 2019, riders will have new options to get around, including expanded service on other subway lines, a special direct ferry and new bus service on 14th Street, much of which will become closed to cars, the MTA and the Department of Transportation say. 

 The 15-month closure of the five Manhattan L train stops beginning in April 2019 will affect hundreds of thousands of riders and will likely be one of the biggest disruptions in the history of the subway. (L trains will still run between Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie.)

When the L train shuts down, the following measures will be put into place, according to MTA and DOT:

  • Expanded service on the M, G, J and Z trains, and expanded capacity on the G and C trains; free MetroCard transfers between Broadway G and Lorimer-Hewes J/M/Z, and free MetroCard transfers between Junius Street 3 train station and Livonia Avenue L train station. On weekends and overnights, the M train will run to 96th Street/2nd Avenue. 

  • 14th Street closing to cars from 3rd to 9th avenues eastbound, and 3rd to 8th avenues westbound, to become a "busway" with rush hour restriction. Bus lanes and Select Bus Service will be added to that core of 14th Street in the next year, which will bring sidewalk expansion and tens of thousands of square feet in new pedestrian space.

    "No street will be more affected by the L train disruption than 14th Street, and changes expanding access to pedestrians, bus riders, and cyclists will play a major role in moving L train riders quickly and efficiently," the DOT says.
  • A bikeway running along 13th Street to keep bikes out of the buses' way. Daily cycling volume is expected to double when the L train closes in Manhattan, so the DOT will add Manhattan's first two-way protected crosstown bike lane to 13th Street. The DOT will also create brand new pedestrian space on Union Square West from 14th to 15th streets and 16th to 17th streets and a pedestrianized street that features a new bike parking hub on University Place from 13th to 14th streets. 
  • Added bus lanes and HOV-3 restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge.

  • A special direct ferry service from Williamsburg to a yet-to-be built dock in the East 20s.

The MTA is shutting down the Canarsie Tube under the East River in April 2019 so that repairs could be made to the Sandy-flooded tunnel and to add storm resiliency measures. The project will also improve the 1st Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations, and build a new Avenue B substation that will allows more trains to run on the L line, increasing capacity. Read more about the project at MTA.info. 

The bulk of the shutdown is being funded by federal money for Sandy repair. 

The MTA initially said the shutdown would last about 18 months, but has since shortened the timeline to 15 months. 

The repairs come as ridership on the L has ballooned to more than 400,000 daily riders. The line, fed by an explosion of population in Brooklyn -- and Williamsburg and Bushwick in particular -- is the 10th busiest subway line in the U.S., according to the MTA. 

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