L Project

Updated: 1/8/2019

On January 3, 2019, Governor Cuomo invited deans and faculty from the engineering schools from Columbia University and Cornell University to present a recommendation for part of the L Project. Specifically, they looked at the tunnel rehabilitation piece of the project, and shared a revised approach that would allow for two-way service to continue on the L during the tunnel repairs—a huge win for many of our customers and local communities.

As we review the details, we are working on a revised plan, with safety as the top priority. While we’re focused on the details of implementation over the next few weeks, we will be working with our federal partners and local city agencies.

Current planned L service changes

There are still planned service changes on nights and weekends in January. Find out more here and check MYmta before starting your trip for the most recent service changes.

What's completed and what's continuing

The recommendation includes an approach that would allow for two-way service to continue on the L during the tunnel repairs. But the L Project is about more than the tunnel. You can think of the L Project in three parts:

  1. Tunnel rehabilitation work
  2. Capacity and accessibility improvements
  3. Additional capital projects related to the L

The announcement and recommendation was focused on the tunnel rehabilitation. The recommendation would be a change to how we execute the repairs. With safety as our top priority, we are reviewing the details and considering changes to our plan, including how the new approach will impact the other concurrent projects. We will share more information in the coming weeks.

Here’s the list of what’s already been completed, and at this time, what will continue:

Completed:

  • Reopened stair at Flushing Av Station: More direct access to the station for customers. It also doubled the number of people who can get in and out of this station with the added turnstiles.
  • Reopened stair at Hewes St Station: Same benefits as the Flushing Av Station above—shorter walk for some customers, and new turnstiles and stairs which doubled the number of people who can get in and out.
  • Opened three new staircases at Bedford Av Station: Of the four planned, we’ve already opened three of these new staircases. Once completed, there will be eight total staircases at Bedford Av Station.
  • Rehabilitated the existing track switches at 3 Av Station: This was work that needed to be done, and we completed it already

Continue:

  • Repair Superstorm Sandy damage: Our objective was to make the tunnel safe for operations in the long-term and it still is. We are evaluating our plans and the new recommendations to meet this objective.
  • Make the tunnel more resilient: Another objective of the plan was to minimize and prevent damage from the entry of water into the system from major storms, and that isn’t changing. The new recommendation offers ideas to further enhance this. We are evaluating how our plans and the new recommendations will meet this objective.
  • More L train service: We are still building the three additional substations, which are the power sources for our trains. By adding three, we will be able to run more trains per hour in peak times, making better use of the communications-based train control (CBTC) signaling system’s capabilities.
  • Three new accessible L platforms: The Bedford Av and 1 Av station elevators are already under way. The 14 St/6 Av (L platform) Station accessibility upgrade will also still happen as an extension of the L Project.
  • Six stations getting more reopened or reconstructed staircases or more turnstiles: We’re still doing work at Marcy Av (JMZ), Metropolitan Av-Lorimer St (GL), Broadway Junction (on the JZ side of the station), Court Sq (EGM7), Nassau Av (G) and 14 St-Union Sq to improve capacity, in addition to the two already completed projects.
  • More capacity at Bedford Av Station: The mezzanine extension and four total staircases being added will allow us to double capacity at this station (in addition to the elevators).
  • More capacity at 1 Av Station: A new entrance at the Avenue A end—meaning two new stairways on either side of 14th Street—will help more people get in and out of the station faster (in addition to the new elevators).
  • Rehabilitating existing track switches south of Bedford Av: Like the track switches we’ve already repaired near 3 Av Station, this was work that needed to be done.
  • Improvements at 14 St-Union Sq L Station Union Square: An escalator and stair renovation contract has been awarded and is being planned within this revised approach.

Above ground construction work

As mentioned, we are still moving forward with the elevator projects at 1 Av and Bedford Av Stations, as well as the substation work. This is what you’re seeing in-progress if you peek into our construction sites there.

However, we’re using this opportunity to look at all of our construction work schedules and timelines, so stay tuned over the next few weeks for any potential changes here.

Project Timing and Alternate Service

We broke ground for the L Project in July 2017. The completed work to date was primarily for the capacity and accessibility projects we designed in tandem with the tunnel work to make the most of the closure. We will have more specifics on what work will be happening, when and where as we consider revisions to our plan. The bottom line is that safety is our top priority, and will remain so as we plan the project.

For most people, it would be great news if the L wouldn’t need to fully close for 15 months between Bedford Av and 8 Av. But we know some of our customers primarily use the L during the weekend and overnight hours when there could be the most impact to service. So, while we might not need the full scale of transportation options we had initially planned, we will still provide an appropriate plan that accommodates 100 percent of impacted L customers, just as the original one did.