The reality of the looming 18-month suspension of L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan has had about six months to sink in, and straphangers, city planners and transit advocates have wasted no time pitching service alternatives. These range from the fanciful—that floating inflatable tunnel—to the mundane and actionable (expanded bus, ferry and train service). Safe streets advocates are also pushing for limited, and possibly even eliminated, car access on main arteries connecting the boroughs. The MTA and DOT, meanwhile, have adopted a refrain—repeatedly promising to consider all options.

Now, the agencies have announced four community meetings for February and March—"interactive public workshops," according to a press release—where MTA and DOT staff say they'll seek input on transit alternatives to kick in come January 2019.

To date, the MTA has confirmed that it will expand service on the J, G and M trains during the L shutdown, with additional subway cars and more frequent rush hour trains (keep in mind that expanded M service will require extensive M line closures for repairs starting this summer). Other ideas that have been floated—expanded ferry service, B39 bus service over the Williamsburg bridge—will require DOT coordination.

In the meantime, new documents show that the whole headache is already experiencing delays and budget overruns, because this is the MTA. DNAInfo reports that the overall projected cost has increased by $16 million, to $899.6 million, as per an updated engineer's assessment. The MTA is also running three months behind on selecting a contractor for the Canarsie Tube renovations, though an MTA spokesman said that the initial holdup won't impact a January 2019 start date. (The spokesman also said that the delay is due to a bulk of follow-up questions from potential contractors, and stressed that no budget is final until contracts are rewarded.)

Get your word in early, folks. If Uber can bend the MTA's ear, so can you.

Here are the meeting dates, times and locations:

Eastside Manhattan
February 9, 2017, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Town and Village Synagogue
334 East 14th Street

February 16, 2017, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Williamsburg High School for Architecture & Design
257 North 6th Street, Brooklyn

Westside Manhattan
February 23, from 7p.m. to 9 p.m.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
328 West 14th Street

East Williamsburg/Bushwick
March 2, 2017, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Progress High School
850 Grand Street, Brooklyn