It's been a while since the L train gifted riders with weeks and weeks of work-related misery. But it appears our brief respite has come to an end, with impending service changes on tap all thanks to that bitch Superstorm Sandy, whose villainous hold on our infrastructure knows no end.
From January 16th until February 6th, L trains will not run between 8th Avenue and Union Square on weekends, a fate that will also befall late-night commuters from 11:45 p.m. until 5 a.m. on weekdays. This is a small, though irritating concession, and certainly not as disruptive as the Summer[s] The L Train Skipped Bushwick.
But these signs posted at subway platforms merely hint at the madness that is to come, according to a recent post on Second Avenue Sagas. Sandy did quite a number to the Canarsie Tube, as evidenced by some fun flood photos the MTA took soon after the storm. In fact, damage to the L tube was nearly as horrific as damage sustained by the R train's Montague Street Tube and the G train's Greenpoint Tube. But while those bad boys warranted months worth of hefty track work, it's much harder to put the L train out of commission for lengthy periods of time, and now we could be subject to piecemeal rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, it's not quite clear what L train riders can expect commutes to look like in the future. Last month, the MTA announced they were seeking about $300 million in federal funding to help the L train, with plans "to improve capacity on the L line by adding stairs and elevators at the Bedford Av and 1 Av stations, as well as three new power substations to allow 10% more trains to operate during peak hours," according to MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg. This is welcome news, but the less-great revelation is that the agency also has to make a number of storm-related repairs, which include "work on tracks, signals, tunnel lighting, cables, pump facilities, duct banks and other equipment required for reliable service through the tube."
There's no timetable for any of this yet, so we can only speculate what kind of creative commuting the future holds for L train riders. Expect shuttles, buses and a lot of trips on the JMZ—which, cup half full, offers much prettier views.