Now that the MTA has confirmed its decision to suspend L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months starting in January 2019, the authority says its shifting focus to the alternative service routes that will eventually serve the L's 225,000 weekday riders.

"We have time," MTA President Ronnie Hakim assured her Board of Directors at a monthly meeting on Monday. "We have time to put a thorough plan together and get it right."

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 next summer). Other ideas that have been floated—expanded ferry service, B39 bus service over the Williamsburg bridge, a bus-heavy or even car-free 14th Street—will require coordination with state and city agencies, like the Department of Transportation.

According to an MTA spokeswoman, all of the above are being considered. However, the bus and ferry proposals will take longer to refine because they're not solely within the MTA's jurisdiction (the DOT has said it "looks forward to working closely with the MTA regarding all options").

Hakim also said Monday that she anticipates that the application process for L train repair contracts will be competitive, and that the authority will use financial incentives to speed up the process—a tactic that shaved more than a month off of repair work to the Montague Tunnel on the R line.

"We'll have the opportunity to challenge the teams that are negotiating on this project," Hakim said. "We will be in a position to pay incentives for early completion. On the Montague tunnel... that [14 month] closure was closer to 13 months."

"We're hoping that the 18 month closure can also be brought [down]," she added. "If the contractor is late, there will be significant damages."

John Raskin of the Riders Alliance said Monday that while expanded service on the M, J and G lines is crucial, he'd like the MTA to consider expanded service on additional intersecting lines.

"A lot of the press coverage has focused on Williamsburg, but remember that people [who ride the L] also live in Canarsie and East New York, and can switch to the A or C at Broadway Junction," Raskin said.

He also emphasized the close proximity of the Livonia Avenue L and Junius Street 3 stations in Brownsville. There's currently no free transfer between the two, and while the MTA has agreed to build a connecting bridge, advocates challenge that timeline.

"We have pushed to begin allowing free transfers before [the L shutdown]," Raskin said. "That would be a small but noticeable difference for people who live in East New York and Canarsie."

Presented with the Livonia-Junius free transfer suggestion, an MTA spokeswoman said Monday that it was one of the proposals being considered.

"MTA plans to work closely with the City and State to develop routes and determine service levels needed to accommodate projected ridership," the authority stated on Monday.

In the meantime, we can keep daydreaming about some of the more fanciful solutions.