The L train is completely suspending service for 18 months between Brooklyn and Manhattan starting in 2019, and while there's a persuasive case to be made for moving to Canada much sooner, those of us who remain will want a backup plan. Right now the MTA is planning expanded J, G and M service (with full-size G trains), and looking into ideas like expanded bus and ferry service and a car-free 14th Street. There have also been non-official, more fanciful East River crossing ideas like an inflatable pedestrian bridge and a gondola. Now an Upper West Side design studio is suggesting a non-official but also non-fanciful idea to deal with the coming service reduction: running the E train on the G train tracks in north Brooklyn to keep the G train from becoming a commuter-packed hellscape.
ReThink Studio's plan to take some pressure off the G would involve rerouting the E to a new spur that would run from Canal Street to Brooklyn on the A/C tracks, and then split off from those tracks to run along the same tracks as the G from Hoyt-Schermerhon to Court Square, then back to Manhattan from there.
The advantage to the plan is that it wouldn't require any additional tunneling. Instead, the MTA would need to install a similar switch to the one used at the Canal Street A/C/E stop. The construction would require "a series of weekends or Fasttrack style outages," said ReThink founder Jim Venturi over an email.
In order to make sure that there would be enough E trains to still run a spur between eastern Queens and the World Trade Center, the ReThink plan suggests pulling some trains from the L line when it stops service into Manhattan.
The MTA declined to comment on the plan, and Venturi told us that there'd been no official word from the authority, but that "our friends at the MTA have been very supportive."