A year from now, the L train is supposed to stop running between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 15 months of repairs to the line's East River tunnel.
"It's going to take a long time to get anywhere you need to go," one commuter said.
But if more than two dozen block associations have their way, the shutdown from Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn to Eighth Ave. and 14th St. in Manhattan will be delayed — if it happens at all.
"It's time to take the matter to court to stop the plan," said Arthur Schwartz, an attorney with the 14th Street Coalition.
On Tuesday, the 14th Street Coalition sued the MTA, the city transportation department, and the Federal Transit Administration in federal court, charging the project is being pushed through without environmental reviews.
"The MTA did not do an EIS [Environmental Impact Statement]. The [Department of Transportation] DOT did not do an EIS. It's unheard of! It's almost the epitome of arrogance," Schwartz said.
"These plans were designed only with the commuters in-mind," said Judy Pesin of the 14th Street Coalition.
The transportation department dismissed the allegations as "baseless," saying it joined with the MTA in holding more than 70 public meetings to create the best possible plan to ease the disruption to 250,000 riders and to residents on both sides of the river.
That plan would limit most of 14th St. to buses during rush hours and create new bike lanes to handle displaced subway riders looking for new ways to get around.
But people living north and south of 14th St. say those plans will ruin their quality of life.
On West 13th St., some residents worry what will become of their pristine block if it's overrun by cyclists and more traffic during the L train shutdown.
The fight threatens to slow a project that the MTA says is "desperately needed to ensure the tunnel's structural integrity."
"They'll have to go through the motion of responding to the complaint, they'll have to go through the motion of perhaps settlement negotiations," said Ben Kabak, a transit blogger for Second Avenue Sagas.
The lawsuit also calls for the MTA to install more station elevators as part of the project, beyond current plans to add them to the stations at Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn and First Ave. in Manhattan to make them accessible to the disabled.
More demands tied to a project that's already been called the "most impactful" in the MTA's history.