As expected, the MTA Board approved a 15-month L train shutdown today, officially heralding in a near (albeit temporary) future of truncated service between North Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The MTA Board awarded the $477 million contract to Judlau Contracting. The shutdown—which will totally suspend service between Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn—will commence in April 2019, according to the Board. Though the MTA plans to increase service on the G and J trains and run shuttle buses to make up for the loss of the L, the city has still not announced an adequate alternative to the popular line, and local residents and businesses have been understandably concerned about the potential impact of the shutdown.
(One alternative, proposed by former Gothamist staffer/Village Voice city editor Christopher Robbins, architect Cricket Day, and fellow team members Becca Groban and Kellen Parker, involves a six-stop shuttle bus that would operate on dedicated lanes on 14th Street, coupled with a two-way protected bikeway. That alternative won Gothamist and Transportation Alternatives' “L-ternative Visions” design competition last week.)
There is some respite—the shutdown was initially supposed to last for 18 months, but the MTA now expects it to only last 15 months.
And when the MTA says 15 months, they really mean it, though some on the board say Judlau contributed to lengthy delays on the Second Ave Subway : "I expect this project to be completed in 15 months," Lawrence S. Schwartz, an authority board member, said today, according to the Times. "I want to make sure that Judlau and everybody else who is going to be involved on this project understands that it will not be tolerated or accepted to be 15 months and one day."
History necessitates skepticism, but in the meantime, the Board also voted on a number of fancy proposals, like awarding a contract for outreach services pertaining to Phase II of the 2nd Avenue Subway, which is expected to extend the new line up to 106th and 116th Streets. The Board will also award $150 million to upgrade some subway stations in Queens, as part of Governor Cuomo's Enhanced Station Initiative.
The Broadway, 30th Avenue, 36th Avenue, and 39th Avenue stations in Astoria will get better lighting, countdown clocks and new subway art, among other things, in exchange for potential partial and full station closures.