L Train Alternative
In 2019, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will start an 18-month project to rehabilitate the L Train’s Canarsie Tunnel. To reach Manhattan during the tunnel closure, L Train passengers will have to rely on a multi-seat subway ride and less efficient modes of transit (cars, buses, ferries, etc.).
Relying on congested roads, limited waterfront access, and already over-crowded subway lines will create a nightmare commuting scenario for the thousands of people who currently rely on the L Train’s one-seat-ride to Manhattan. An alternative approach is needed.
ReThink Studio proposes a reconfiguration of E Train service that takes advantage of underutilized infrastructure and requires minimal new construction.
Source: The New York Times
Each day, 225,000 people use the L Train to travel across the East River. The Canarsie Tunnel, built over 100 years ago and now used by the L Train, is a critical mass transit connection for Manhattan and Brooklyn. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge flooded the tunnel with seven-million gallons of seawater, resulting in major service disruptions and significant structural damage.
Facing the inevitable, the MTA must now make critical repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel. For an estimated year and a half, L Train riders will soon have to adapt to a complete shutdown of L Train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Though the MTA is finalizing their construction plan and adjusting nearby subway service to help alleviate the burden of the tunnel shutdown, none of the MTA’s proposed adjustments will be efficient and effective enough to accommodate all of the commuters who currently rely on the L Train to travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
- Additional cars will be added to trains on the G Line.
- J and Z Trains will make all stops between Myrtle Ave and Marcy Ave.
- No L Trains will operate between 8th Ave and Bedford Ave.
- The L Train will continue to provide service between Bedford Ave and Rockaway Parkway.
- A shuttle bus service will operate from Bedford Ave to Delancey/Essex Street via the Williamsburg Bridge.
- A new ferry service may be provided from North Williamsburg to 20th Street in Manhattan.
MTA’s preferred solution for the L Train shutdown / Source: MTA
ReThink Studio Proposal
In 1925, NYC Mayor John Hylan proposed a subway line that would run in a loop between Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. However, no track connection was ever built in Queens to allow for a subway route to operate circuitously between the three boroughs. As a result, the IND Crosstown Line (G Train) is presently the only subway line to not provide direct service to Manhattan.
Drawing inspiration from Mayor Hylan’s plan, ReThink Studio proposes a semi-looping E Train service to serve Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Instead of terminating at the World Trade Center, E Trains will continue along the A & C Line to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station (Brooklyn), where the E Line will branch off and continue north along the G Line to Court Square Station (Queens). With this new configuration, Brooklyn L Train passengers will have a two-seat ride to Manhattan by transferring onto an E Train at the Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Ave Station. Overlapping E & G Train service will also provide present G Train riders in Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant with a single-seat ride to Manhattan.
Diagram of existing subway tracks at Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station / Source: Vanshnookenraggen