L train Bedford Avenue

WCBS 880

Long-Awaited L Train Slowdown Begins, MTA Workers Warn Riders

April 27, 2019 - 11:53 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Dozens of MTA workers lined the entrances to the Bedford Avenue L train station in Brooklyn on Saturday morning to let riders know about alternative options in case they want to avoid the inconveniences of the L line slowdown, which started Friday night.

The repairs will last 15 to 18 months as workers repair the Canarsie Tunnel, which was damaged by Sandy in 2012.

To make room for work trains, L trains will only run every 20 minutes from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights and weekends.

Ali, who lives in Bushwick and works overnight at a pizzeria in Williamsburg, says he’s not happy with the service so far.

“They told me 10 minutes is coming, then changed the time to 20 minutes, 30 minutes,” he said. “Yesterday, it take 45 minutes.”

Timothy works overnights in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan.

“I’ll do anything that’s going to accommodate me getting back and forth to work, but it’s still an inconvenience,” he said.

Related: L Train Slowdown: Service Cutbacks, Construction Begins

But many riders say a complete shutdown of the line would have been much worse.

“I thought having a total shutdown was some thought by someone in Albany who’s never ridden the subway and has no idea how many people depend on this train,” one woman said.

In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo prevented a complete shutdown when he hired a group of experts to analyze the tunnel and present a new plan that would allow L train service to continue.

Related: Private Traffic To Be Banned on 14th Street During L Train Slowdown

On Friday, Cuomo called in to WCBS 880 and called the original plan “highly problematic” and noted that 275,000 people utilize the subway line every day.

“We brought in Cornell University and Columbia University and they put together teams with international expertise and they came up with a better way to fix that tunnel,” he explained.

Rather than shutting down the train for 15 months, the train will continue to on a “slowdown” schedule while crews work to repair the tunnel.

“The train runs 24/7, that eliminates 99 percent of the problem,” the governor said of the new plan.

Earlier this week, the city announced the Department of Transportation will roll out a redesign of vehicle traffic lanes on 14th Street in June. The goal is to speed up bus service during the Canarsie Tunnel repairs. Regular car traffic will no longer be allowed on 14th Street between Third and Ninth Avenues.