New Yorkers React To Cuomo’s Decision To Cancel L Train Shutdown

January 03, 2019 - 6:53 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the long-awaited L train shutdown would be canceled and New Yorkers reacted with a mixture of relief and worry.

WCBS 880’s own Steve Burns, who had been putting in a lot of work on a special ten-part series previewing April's shutdown, noted that some people made life changing decisions to prepare for the 15-month closure and it all seems for naught now.

“That is crazy because people are planning accordingly. A lot of people I know already moved from their apartments just to be closer to the M train or another train,” one rider told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

Frustrated, he questioned why Gov. Cuomo waited so long to announce a new plan to avoid the shutdown saying, “it should have been a lot earlier.”

Though, others seemed relieved.

“I feel like that makes sense cause so many New Yorkers rely a lot on the L train,” one woman said after hearing the news.

New Yorkers have been planning for “L-mageddon” for two years and were anticipating the subway rehabilitation project to create months of problems for the estimated 225,000 riders who use the L train to get between Brooklyn and Manhattan daily.

Then, Cuomo abruptly announced a new plan that would prevent the shutdown, just three months before it was scheduled to take effect, saying a team of engineers had come up with a way to repair the flood-damaged Canarsie Tunnel without closing it.

Daniel Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance told WCBS 880’s Steve Burns Thursday afternoon that he was still in shock.

“Riders worked for three years as part of a public process to establish the parameters of the L train shutdown and that’s upended,” he said.

Even with the shutdown that's confined to one tunnel on nights and weekends, Pearlstein still noted some possible problems around these 24/7 neighborhoods.

“Running a train every 20 minutes when riders are accustomed to a train every five minutes is gonna cause serious crowding problems,. It’s gonna cause riders to search for other ways of getting around”

The delays could lead to the problem everyone wanted to avoid in the first place: more cars on already congested roads.

“It’s very, very important that the entire transit network is bolstered during even this style of L train shutdown to make sure that transit riders can keep riding transit,” he said.

The Riders Alliance also wants an independent vetting of Cuomo's new plan.