A new L-ternative: Transit leaders announce temporary Canarsie-to-Crown Heights bus during L closure

A new L-ternative: Transit leaders announce temporary Canarsie-to-Crown Heights bus during L closure
Diversionary tactic: The temporary L5 bus service will link Canarsie to the Utica Avenue 3 and 4 train station during the upcoming L-train shutdown to help divert commuters from the expected bottleneck at Broadway Junction station.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority

It’s an L of an alternative!

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will roll out a temporary bus line between Canarsie and Crown Heights to help mitigate congestion when the L train’s East River–spanning tube closes for 15 months next year.

The new L5 bus will combine parts of the routes of the B42 and the B17 and will connect to the 3 and 4 trains at the Utica Avenue subway station.

The line will run weekdays during peak hours from 6 am–9 am and 3 pm–7 pm, according to a press release by the transit authority.

The service comes as a response to the transit authority’s heated town hall in Canarsie on Aug. 15 hosted by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D–Canarsie) and will help divert commuter traffic from the bottleneck at Broadway Junction station, according to the press release.

“In response to feedback from customers during a recent town hall meeting with Congressman Jeffries, the L5 will help customers to get easier access to more subway lines and reduce the time it takes to get to the subway, taking into account the importance of transferring at the A, C, J, L, and Z lines at Broadway Junction,” the statement said.

It is the fifth planned temporary bus service announced as part of additional service options during the closure — which also include more service on other subways, a dedicated Williamsburg–Manhattan ferry, new bike paths, and other options — and will start operations closer to when the L train ceases to run to Manhattan in April 2019.

The new line was introduced at the monthly Community Board 18 meeting on Wednesday Sept. 12.

One local community board member and retired transit worker said that the new service would have to be expanded.

“Seven hours of service from Monday–Friday is not enough and in no way shape or form does it substitute the L train. At a minimum, they should have that service from 6 am–10 pm, because people need this service all day,” said Canarsie resident James Dandridge, who worked in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for 31 years and was the vice president of rapid transit operations with the subways.

The line will run from Canarsie Pier on Rockaway Parkway and make a limited number of existing B42 stops.

It will make one stop on Flatlands Avenue, one on Remsen Avenue and then continue nonstop to the Utica Avenue station on Eastern Parkway, according to a preliminary map of the route.

The last leg on Utica Avenue could prove to be challenging due to congestion between East New York Avenue and Eastern Parkway, according to Dandridge.

Instead, he said, the bus should go through Lincoln Terrace-Arthur S. Somers Park by turning right onto East New York Avenue, left onto Buffalo Avenue, up through the park, and then left onto Eastern Parkway.

“The route that it’s going on will be a problem because Utica Avenue is so congested. So there’s still some fine-tuning because you don’t want to over-congest, which would go against the whole idea of making the commute easier for people during the shutdown,” Dandridge said.

The transit authority also announced that it would upgrade the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway L-train station to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which will include adding public bathrooms, accessible connections to buses in the terminal, and numerous other upgrades, the transit authority said in a press release.

The president of the transit authority for the city said in the release that these additions are aimed at making it easier for people to get to where they need to go during the L train closure.

“It’s imperative that we are doing everything in our power to ease the burdens customers will experience as a result of this massive work,” said Andy Byford. “By adding another bus service to the other four we’ve already announced as part of the L tunnel reconstruction project as well as permanently improving a key subway station, we are providing tangible benefits to the large number of customers who made their voices heard.”

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kdugg[email protected]glocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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