More than three quarters of commuters who live along the L train route would prefer a complete, 18 month suspension of service while the MTA does necessary repairs to the Hurricane Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tube over a three-year partial shutdown, according to a survey conducted by the straphangers' advocacy group Riders Alliance.

The group surveyed 350 New Yorkers, the vast majority of whom live along the L line. All told, 77% of respondents said they'd prefer the shorter, complete shutdown. The Alliance plans to formally endorse the complete shutdown this afternoon, in a letter to the MTA. In doing so, they'll join the ranks of the Regional Plan Association.

Top MTA officials have also indicated that they'd prefer the 18 month approach. Both MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast and New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim make the case that it's the more efficient option, impacting 80% fewer riders. Under the proposal, L train service would run normally in Brooklyn, but would be suspended completely from Bedford Avenue all the way along 14th Street in Manhattan to 8th Avenue.

For comparison, the three-year plan would single-track L trains between Brooklyn and Manhattan, stopping every 12 to 15 minutes between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue. Brooklyn service would be relatively normal, with the exception of suspended service between Bedford Avenue and Lorimer Street. Most significantly, under the partial shutdown the L would only have capacity for 20% of the L train's 225,000 daily cross-borough commuters.

"It's crowded now," Hakim said at the first public meeting about L train closures earlier this month. "We are concerned about crowding and how constrained that service would be."

Survey respondents also weighed in on the backup service options they'd like to see implemented, including additional J and G train service and new, dedicated bus lanes. "People really want bus options," said Riders Alliance spokesman Nick Sifuentes on Tuesday. "Not just, 'Oh, here's a couple of shuttle buses,' but something more robust like bus lanes over the Williamsburg Bridge, through Williamsburg and along 14th Street."

At the second MTA-hosted L train meeting this month, some constituents and elected officials rallied around the possibility of closing 14th Street to car traffic altogether, turning the street into a dedicated Select Bus Service route. The MTA deferred the request to the Department of Transportation, but Hakim assured attendees that, "Making 14th Street work is obviously a top priority."

The authority has also alluded to running extra buses over the Williamsburg Bridge, and expanding ferry service.

The Riders Alliance conducted its survey primarily by blasting its own members, according to Sifuentes (local council members also did a bit of legwork, distributing the survey to constituents). The majority of Alliance members live in North Brooklyn, Sifuentes conceded, with much less representation around the Livonia Avenue L in Brownsville and in Canarsie.

"We do need to take into account folks who live farther into Brooklyn who haven't been heard as much," he added. "It's obviously important to look at the entirety of the line."

The MTA is planning to take a stab at this on Thursday—the third public L train meeting will take place at Beraca Baptist Church on Flatlands Avenue in Canarsie, at 6 p.m.