1. How is the scope of work different under the new plan and will the tunnel have the same lifecycle projected under the previous construction plan? We were for the original construction plan, why did it change?
The outcome and scope of the L Project is unchanged, but it will be achieved with far less disruption. It continues to include capacity and station improvements, resiliency work and tunnel rehabilitation. The only change is to means and methods of certain aspects of the tunnel rehabilitation.
The original project included the demolition and reconstruction of the entire length of bench wall and the internal duct bank, removing and replacing various power and communication cables and extending fiber optic cables between the substation located in Brooklyn and the substation located in Manhattan as well as between Union Sq Station and 1 Av Station in Manhattan.
The new approach involves demolishing a dramatically reduced portion of duct bank, other sections will be stabilized with a FRP (fiber reinforced polymer) structure, and the remainder left in place. The new cable will utilize a racking system on the side of the tunnel, and the existing cables in the duct bank will be left in place. This new approach will achieve all functional and useful life outcomes established in the approved project while maintaining overall safety and functionality.
This change in approach allows us to provide continuous service on the L throughout the project, so that 90% of L customers have their usual service.
2. Why wasn’t this methodology considered before?
The new methodology was not initially considered because it had not previously been applied to rehabilitating an existing MTA tunnel. The L Project will be the first time that this application of FRP and the cable racking system will be utilized together in our system.
3. How will we know the air quality is safe at stations and through the tunnel? Will the results from monitoring be available publicly?
Safety is our number one priority for our customers and workers, and we would not run any service if that was not the case. With the revised construction plan for the L Project’s tunnel rehabilitation work, we also required the contractor to create a new plan for managing dust, which includes respirable crystalline silica (silica). The MTA, in consultation with a public health consultant, has established an extremely conservative threshold that the contractor will be required to meet or the dust producing work will be stopped. By applying the OSHA established long term exposure limits (for workers exposed to these levels for 8 hrs a day over 45 years), to the short-term exposure of our riders, we are confident that we are establishing a threshold that is health protective to our riders. In addition to managing and mitigating the dust, the plan includes constant environmental air monitoring within the tunnel work zones, adjacent to any work zone and on the platforms adjacent to the tunnel at 1 Av and Bedford Av. The results of the air monitoring will be made available to the public we are working to finalize how that data will be shared.
4. How confident are we that the project will be completed in 18-20 months?
We very confident that we can complete the project in 15-18 months.
5. What are the work hours for the surface level construction at 1 Av and Bedford? Is there air and noise monitoring at these locations?
We recently changed our construction plan in Manhattan so that we could reduce active construction hours at street-level to between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM on weekdays and between 7:00 AM and 5 PM on Saturdays. This change was made as of March 2019 with input from our neighbors along the worksite. Yes, monitors for both noise and air quality are stationed around the work sites. If data show that action is needed, adjustments are made to work practices. During construction, we will continue to inform our neighbors of the types of construction equipment and expected noise levels to forewarn potentially affected neighbors.
1. What will the schedule be after April 26, 2019, for the L? How will the frequency change after 8 PM weekdays, overnight and on the weekends compared to our normal service?
Please visit https://new.mta.info/l-project/service-alternatives to view the chart detailing scheduled service frequencies throughout the week.
You can also use the “Plan a Trip” feature at https://new.mta.info/ or the MYmta App to plan ahead.
2. Why do we have to have service reduced starting at 8 PM? Why can’t you start work at 10 PM or midnight like you usually do for overnight work?
Service must gradually be reduced starting around 8 PM to accommodate the staging of work trains and the 10 PM start of 20-minute service frequencies, which are required for the single-track operation. It’s not possible to instantaneously change from trains operating every 4 minutes (15 trains per hour), the normal schedule at that 8 and 9 PM, to every 20 minutes (3 trains per hour), which is needed for the 10 PM start of construction and thus single-track operation.
3. What out-of-system transfers will still be available for customers to use?
There are two out-of-system transfers that can be used during weeknights and weekends. One is between the L at Livonia Av and the 3 at Junius St. The other will be between the G at Broadway and the J/M at Hewes St/Lorimer St.
You will also be able to use the free Williamsburg Link buses, the B91 and B92, to transfer between the L train at Lorimer St and the J/M trains at Marcy Av and Hewes St (B92 only). This bus will operate every 3 minutes during the busiest ridership hours, weeknights and weekends.
We encourage customers to take alternate routes since the L will be operating every 20 minutes.
4. I’m concerned about overcrowding at stations and unexpected station closures. How are you planning to deal with this possibility?
We will be closely monitoring stations along the L between Lorimer St and 8 Av during weekends and weeknights. Similar to special events (e.g. sporting events, parades, New Year’s Eve) that impact the transit system, where overcrowding can be expected, MTA NYCT will work closely with NYPD and will utilize a number of strategies to ensure customer safety.
Customers can avoid crowding by taking alternate routes. We have extra capacity on all our alternate service options, which means that those options will be faster and more reliable than the L for many customers on nights and weekends at times.
In addition, we will have information brochures at all stations in the weeks before work begins to help people make the best travel decisions, and staff will be available in stations to help educate customers about the options and make the best plan for them.
5. Why isn’t the G being lengthened anymore? We would like longer G trains.
NYCT plans to add capacity to the G in the evenings and on weekends by scheduling more frequent G service rather than lengthening the trains. This adds G capacity at the times when the L will be less frequent, and will reduce the time G customers wait for trains. When surveyed, the majority of G train customers consider “waiting time” the most important thing they want us to improve for their overall satisfaction. Taking this into account, along with other important factors, we decided that more frequent trains rather than longer trains would result in a better benefit.
We encourage you to read L Project Weekly Newsletter #15 for further explanation on the decision to increase frequency on the G and maintain the shorter trains. L Project Weekly newsletters are archived at the bottom of the L Project page https://new.mta.info/l-project if you'd like more detail on this.
6. Will the other subway lines still be viable options?
Yes. We strongly encourage our customers to utilize the extra service that will be added to the adjacent subway lines. During weeknights and weekends, service will be added to the G, M, and 7 (weeknights only). The M will also have its route extended up 6 Av to 96th St/2 Av.
We encourage our customers to use adjacent lines during off-peak travel times because the L will be running 20 every minutes between Manhattan and Brooklyn. By contrast, the M and the G will operate every 8 minutes, and the 7 will operate every 4 to 7 minutes.
The M14A/D and the Williamsburg Link buses will help our customers connect to alternate subway service. We have added, 10 additional east-bound M14A trips between 8 PM and midnight, and 5 additional trips were added in the west-bound direction, between 8 PM and midnight. With these additional M14A trips added, to the existing M14A and M14D trips, frequencies will be every 4 to 5 minutes between 8 PM and midnight, in both directions across 14th Street for connection to the M train at 6th Avenue, or the 6 train at Union Square for transfer to the M train at the Broadway-Lafayette station.The M14A will connect to the Delancey-Essex J/M Station every 7 to 10 minutes (as compared to every 12 to 20 minutes currently).
During the weekends, on both the M14A/D and the Williamsburg Link, buses will operate every 3 to 5 minutes for the majority of the day, making connections to adjacent subways lines just as quickly, if not faster, as it will be during the weeknights.
Please visit https://new.mta.info/l-project/service-alternatives to see the maps and latest presentation to learn what alternative is best for your commute.
1. Why is the ferry being taken out as an alternative option for L customers?
The ferry service was part of the previous alternate service plan for a full tunnel closure, in which it would not have been possible to accommodate all impacted L customers on adjacent subway lines.
With the L retaining normal service most of the time, ferry service is no longer needed. Our busiest time during the week is three times that of the busiest times on the weekends. The subway and bus service options will be faster than ferry usage for almost all customers.
ADA and accessibility
1. Will the ADA accessibility projects be able to continue under the new plan? We really need more accessibility throughout our system.
Yes, the same planned ADA projects will continue. In fact, at Bedford Av and 1 Av the elevator construction is already under way, and the 14/6 Av station accessibility upgrade (first the L platform followed by the F/M platform) will continue under the new plan.
NYCT remains committed to improving accessibility throughout our transit network. For more information about accessibility initiatives, please visit https://fastforward.mta.info/progress-report-january-2019/accessibility.
1. Where can I get more information about the project?
We encourage you to start by browsing https://new.mta.info/l-project as well as register for the weekly newsletter. Both are a great source for the latest information. Also look for #LProject on Twitter for updates.
2. Will there be sufficient signage for tourists?
Stations will have appropriate signage, and all schedules will be loaded into MYmta app and be available to third-party app providers. NYCT is working with NYC & Company, the City’s marketing firm that works with the hospitality industry, to make sure that people visiting from out of town are informed of travel options.
3. How are you balancing community and commuter needs?
Improving conditions for both commuters and affected local communities is important to us. We work with a wide range of organizations and receive feedback through numerous channels. We take all concerns seriously, incorporating the feedback we receive into plans that provide safe and reliable transit services while balancing the needs of the community. We have made an effort to hold four additional open houses in recent weeks in impacted communities as well as attended dozens of community board and advocacy group meetings to provide information and answer questions. Please continue to send us feedback and view information about upcoming events at https://new.mta.info/l-project.
4. I think there should be more meetings and in a wider geographical area.
We aim to provide opportunities for all communities facing potential impacts to get their questions answered and provide feedback. Our approach includes presenting at community boards covering the entire geographic area of the L train. We will continue to attend community meetings and plan additional outreach to impacted geographies as feasible and if requested, which we often do, in addition to the meetings we proactively schedule.
5. How can we make sure that our questions and concerns are going to be handled?
We encourage you to submit questions and comments here https://new.mta.info/l-project and we will respond as quickly as we can. You can also tweet at @NYCTSubway and tag #LProject if you have any questions. We will continue to meet with community and advocacy groups throughout the duration of the L Project as requested when feasible.
1. I liked the previously proposed alternate service plans. We need more robust public transit options in New York.
Many travel alternatives in the original service plan were proposed in anticipation of a full tunnel closure, when the many more displaced customers could not have been accommodated on adjacent subway lines. Now that the L will operate with normal service for 90% of the total L customers, much of the previously proposed alternate service plan elements are simply not warranted.
We are continuing to double down on our efforts, however, to improve public transit throughout the city. We strongly encourage you to visit https://fastforward.mta.info/intro for information on the ways we are working to modernize both the subway system and the bus network. The MTA Capital Plan is also an important source of information to understand the ways that we are bringing tangible improvements to public transit.
2. Is there a Plan B if something happens that forces the tunnel to close?
Yes. As with all lines in the system, we have contingency plans in case of an emergency. To minimize the impact, we have emergency response teams strategically placed throughout the subway system to respond to incidents. We also have procedures in place to deploy customer service staff and display real-time service information.
1. What’s going on with 14th Street? Why have my bus stops been moved, are you going to move them back?
We will be implementing Select Bus Service on the M14A/D route, but we are still working with local communities to finalize details of the plan. For information specifically related to the M14A/D SBS route, please visit https://new.mta.info/system_modernization/M14SBS.
The city has also decided to pilot a new design to 14th Street. The new design is founded on international best practices for busy transit corridors that are proven to facilitate quick and reliable bus travel and improve truck traffic. We encourage you to view details on the City’s design for the 18-month pilot https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/216-19/mayor-de-blasio-project-get-new-yorkers-moving-14th-street.
2. What is happening with the bike lanes on 12th/13th Streets and Grand Street?
As we have stated previously, the bike lanes are no longer a part of the L Project. For more information please, click here.