As all subway-faring New Yorkers will know by now, the L-train is due to shut down in 2019 for much needed repairs on the Canarsie tunnels that connect Manhattan to Williamsburg. The MTA is still figuring out how to compensate for the shutdown, though their plan may include increased subway, ferry, or bus services.
The stakes are high for daily commuters and the neighborhood’s overall growth: In May, the New York Times reported that Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Carlo A. Scissura said businesses were panicking. Developers too were worried. “You may see people who say: ‘It’s not worth it to rent an apartment along this corridor. I’m just going to do something else,’” Scissura said. “This is an area where a Saturday or a Friday night is like prime-time rush hour on a Monday morning commute.”
So what does Venturi’s Rethink Studio propose?
MTA’s 18 month L train closure plan. (Courtesy MTA)
“Right now with the L train outage there are only bad choices available” Venturi told The Architect’s Newspaper. “Shuttle buses and ferries are not nearly as convenient as subway service, and redirecting passengers onto existing nearby subway lines will lead to further over-crowding,” according to ReThinkStudio.
Consequently, his team proposes running the E train through its current end-stop at the World Trade Center and into Brooklyn. Taking the A/C line, the service would continue northbound on the G line, terminating at Court Square in Queens.
MTA’s three year L train closure plan. (Courtesy MTA)
Currently, the G train only uses four cars on its service, which runs every eight minutes. The plan, Venturi argues, will help the transportation network handle the L trains daily passenger load: Some 400,000 riders every weekday. Venturi also hopes that running the E alongside will add some resiliency to the network, providing room for growth for redundancy for fallback plans.Jim Venturi’s alternative plan for 18 month L train closure. (Courtesy ReThink Studio)
For those on the G, ReThink Studio’s proposal would make traveling into Manhattan a one-seat journey. Meanwhile, L train passengers will have a two-seat ride into Manhattan by transferring at Lorimer Street. In this scenario, the E would break away from the A and C lines at Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street, a feat made possible by adding a new rail switch, as illustrated by the studio.
Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station diagram with the installation of two new #6 track switches, allowing for E train service to extend to Brooklyn via the G tracks. (Courtesy ReThink Studio)
“This is a good idea regardless of the L train shutdown,” Venturi said. He argues that the added “connectivity and redundancy is what the system needs.” Indeed, such resiliency and redundancy in underground transit networks can be found in both Berlin and London, where many lines run the same route at numerous instances.