Like Y2K and the Mayan prophecies concerning December 21, 2012, the apocalypse heading for New York City comes with that “mark it on your calendar” feature you just don’t get from amaze nuclear assault. Here, the end-of-the-world date in question is April 2019, when one of the key linkages between Manhattan and Brooklyn will shut down.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy inundated the 92 -year-old Canarsie tunnel, which takes straphangers under the East River, with 7 million gallons of seawater. So, in just over a year, the stretching of the L metro train that runs from the west side of Manhattan, along 14 th St, and through the tunnel into Brooklyn will go on a 15 -month hiatus. A full shutdown, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says, is the best way to attain much-needed repairs.
This presents a problem. Some 225,000 New Yorkers ride the L train through that passageway every day–more than the population of Birmingham, Alabama. The subway line is the key connection between neighborhoods that have boomed in recent years–Williamsburg, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant–and Manhattan, where most of their residents work.
Since announcing its intention to make all those people find a new commute road in 2016, transportation officials have been working to manage the situation, and most of all, find ways to keep erstwhile metro riders from climbing into automobiles, in a city that already has some of the world’s worst traffic. This week, the city’s Department of Transportation unveiled new details for its plan.
And here’s the funny thing about this particular apocalypse: It simply might save New York. The proposed plan reads like a urbanist’s Christmas list. It includes increased service on the lines to which most L riders are likely to convert( the JMZ, which operates over the Williamsburg Bridge, and the G, which connects to lines that run into lower and midtown Manhattan ).
During certain hours, one lane of the Williamsburg Bridge “wouldve been” set aside for bus, the remainder for vehicles with three or more occupants. Much of 14th Street, a major crosstown passageway, would be closed to private cars, including taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Via.( With exemptions for trucks attaining deliveries, automobiles going to garages, and emergency and paratransit vehicles .) Buses would rule in their place, including a new bus rapid transit line, the eastern terminus for which will be the temporary dock serving a new ferry road. All told, the DOT aims to run buses every one to two minutes in each direction, each intersecting the island in only 17 minutes–a 37 percentage improvement of today’s average. The scheme calls for increased bike-share service, expanded sidewalks on 14 th Street, and better pedestrian access around Union Square.