Future victims of the L train shutdown can deliver their questions, grievances and helpless cries directly to transit officials during a town hall in Williamsburg on Wednesday night. The event is scheduled to take place at Progress High School on Grand Street near Bushwick Avenue at 6:30 p.m, and will feature New York City Transit President Andy Byford and Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
This is the second leg of a short listening tour ahead of the 15-month shutdown, which is scheduled to begin next April. During that time, service on the L between Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn and 8th Avenue in Manhattan will be completely suspended, so that the MTA can repair extensive damage to circuits, tracks, switches, and signals caused by corrosive seawater that flooded into the cross-borough tunnel during Hurricane Sandy.
While last week's town hall in the West Village mostly featured Manhattan residents railing against bike lanes, bus routes, and the closure of 14th Street to private vehicles, it's probably safe to assume that a different set of concerns will dominate tonight's event.
— Vincent Barone (@vinbarone) May 9, 2018
The Brooklyn portion of the MTA/DOT plan calls for three new bus routes from Grand Street and Bedford Avenue to Lower Manhattan via the Williamsburg Bridge, several miles of new bike lanes, and increased service on the J/M/Z and G lines. There will not be a dedicated bus lane on the Williamsburg Bridge, but there will be HOV-3 lanes—meaning vehicles must have at least three passengers—"during rush hours at minimum."
For Brooklyn residents living on and off the L train, the plan leaves many crucial questions unanswered: It's still unclear what the DOT is classifying as "rush hour," whether the new bus routes in Brooklyn will receive additional street treatments, and how the two agencies expect already-crowded trains on the J/M/Z and G lines to accommodate an influx of tens of thousands of new riders during rush hour.
Some of those decisions are likely still in the process of being made. Both Byford and Trottenberg stressed last week that, even with the shutdown only 11 months away, the mitigation plan is not set in stone, and could be adapted based on rider feedback.
Hence, the town halls.
So, if you have strong feelings on the agencies' contingency plan, or a so-crazy-it-might-just-work idea to avoid a post-shutdown disaster, or you just enjoy spending three hours in a room full of shouting New Yorkers...we'll see you tonight.