Taking the Train Should Not Cause Us So Much Pain!

Jessica Podkalicki

{**For anyone who wants to come by, vent about the MTA or bridge access, or to help brainstorm ways to take action to better the transportation throughout North Brooklyn, please join NAG at our monthly Transportation Working Group, select Wednesdays at 7 PM at Bushwick Inlet Park Conference Room!**}

I have some bad news.  After March 24th, the L train will not be going into Manhattan on late nights or weekends, for months.

Most L train goers have probably heard about this news from the few signs posted around the L train subway stations or from another Greenpoint or Williamsburg blog, but it does not make the news any more easy to deal with. And for those of you who don’t know about the loss of L train service later this month, spreading the word is essential. Due to the influx of residents into the North Brooklyn area, updating the current infrastructure in and around this area has become a major priority. For all of us who are tired of waiting for the G or L train, or who would rather walk or bike than brave the B 62 or B 43, we have noticed this need for improved service along the Brooklyn subway lines (the G, L, or J/M).

From March 24th to May 22nd, L train users will have to seek alternative routes into or out of Brooklyn from 12 AM to 5 AM the next day on weeknights. Good luck to students during midterm and final weeks as well as to the late night shift workers! The L train will also not be working any weekend during the five-week period of April 11th to May 18th until the next Monday morning at 5 AM (for each weekend during this time frame). The specific purpose for these closures is also unclear from MTA announcements. The optimist in me hopes the MTA is repairing and improving the L train subway tracks, carts, and service in general.

To make matters worse for crowding and access to Manhattan, the 7 trains have been atrocious during the weekends. There are countless delays and frequent weekend Queens-Manhattan service-suspensions. With all of the hassle this causes, it is hardly a solace to all of us Brooklynites that Queens residents cannot go into Manhattan either, especially with the planned work on the Q, R, and N trains.     

Further complicating our travels, several other major areas of Northern Brooklyn transportation will be under construction as well. The Kosciusko and Pulaski Bridges are both under construction. Perhaps due to the flood of bicyclists and pedestrians into the area, the city officials and agencies (DOT) have finally taken notice for the need to update Brooklyn’s infrastructure. Some of the most heavily-used bridges in North Brooklyn have been around for a really long time. For safety reasons, they need to be renovated for routine maintenance and also to accommodate the large number of extra residents our area is already seeing as a result of new residential development in the neighborhood.  With the sub-optimal G train and bus service and the closure of the L trains, commuters will most likely try other methods of transportation—biking and walking. However, the new, expanded bike lanes on the Pulaski Bridge have been promised for years now and are still not ready.

Big changes are also coming to our Kosciusko Bridge– the project includes a complete bridge replacement. The new bridge is planned to be completed within a five-year period. The construction work will lead to street closures and rerouting to other bridges in Brooklyn and Queens. New York State is responsible for this whole project, including funding and implementation. But, hopefully, during this period of time, our L and G trains will be running reliably!

Thinking back to last summer, the G train closure was not as disastrous as it could have been. Many residents reported that the shuttle bus service was much better than actual G train service in terms of reliability and frequency.

We at least have the L shuttle bus for those who want to leave Brooklyn or come into Brooklyn from Manhattan this spring.

For more information on the L train closures, check out this article: http://www.timeout.com/newyork/blog/the-l-train-is-about-to-ruin-your-life-even-more-than-usual

For more information on Pulaski Bridge and Kosciusko Bridge construction check out these articles: http://gothamist.com/2014/12/12/pulaski_bridge_1.php and http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/38/1/dtg-kosciuszko-bridges-2015-01-02-bk_38_1.html

Bedford Entrance 2

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