Final countdown: ‘L-pocalypse’ to begin Apr. 27 of next year, MTA says

Tick tock: State transit honchos announced they will stop Brooklyn–Manhattan L-train service on April 27, 2019, giving locals such as these cyclists — seen here roughly a year before the shutdown during one of their bike-train commutes to the outer borough — about six more months of subway rides across the river.
File photo by Zoe Freilich

Welcome to L.

Officials on Tuesday announced they will stop Brooklyn–Manhattan L-train service on April 27, 2019, to begin their 15-month repairs of the subway’s East River–spanning tube, roughly six and a half years after the infrastructure sustained significant damage during superstorm Sandy.

Bigwigs at the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority formally revealed the start date hours after news of it leaked on social media.

The bi-borough L train will make its last run across the River on Fri. April 26, and the next day will begin its Brooklyn-only routes between Bedford Avenue station and Canarsie, forcing the roughly 250,000 who ride it to the outer borough daily to find other ways onto the distant isle until the second half of 2020.

Transit leaders will begin offering straphangers some alternative transportation options, including the five new bus routes and dedicated Williamsburg–Manhattan ferry service they previously announced, on April 21 to give commuters time to adjust, according to the Authority, which will institute more remedies, including beefed-up service on other subway lines, on April 28.

Officials’ alternative-transportation plans for the so-called “L-pocalypse” include running more trips along the G, J, M, and Z lines, and adding more cars to some of those lines’ subways; sailing as many as three ferries carrying up to 240 riders each between Williamsburg and Manhattan per hour daily; laying new bike lanes along Grand Street; creating a high-occupancy vehicle lane across the Williamsburg Bridge that will be reserved for cars with three or more passengers during a daily “rush-hour” window from 5 am to 10 pm; and instituting new Williamsburg–Manhattan and Crown Heights–Canarsie bus routes for straphangers.

Commuters already received — and will continue to get — little tastes of L on multiple weekends leading up to the shutdown, when the transit agency is stopping L-train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan in order to perform track maintenance ahead of the massive project.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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