The looming shutdown of the L train has riders concerned about transit options. A new report is laying out some ideas for making it less painful. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Williamsburg has changed quite a bit in the last century. Perhaps no avenue more so than Bedford.
In the last decade alone, the area has gone from hipster hip to professional and pricey, with condos supplanting walk-ups and high-end chains like Apple and Urban Outfitters replacing local stores.
"We'll see a major slowing down of that development," said Sarah Kaufman of NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation.
It's the 18-month shutdown of the L train that's on Kaufman's mind. She says it will slow the rapid growth in Williamsburg, as commute times grow during the MTA's repairs of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Talk to many of the 65,000 people a day traveling to work under the East River and you'll get an earful.
Commuter: I guess I'll take the G and walk to the J.
Herzenberg: How many more minutes is that going add to your commute?
Commuter: Forty-five, probably.
NYU's Rudin Center For Transportation says there are ways the government can make the 2019 closure between the two boroughs less painful to the nearly quarter million people each day depending on it.
Some of the ideas floated include increasing East River ferry service, renting out electric scooters like Citi Bikes, as one startup does in San Fransisco, or even a gondola ride in the sky.
The East River Skyway says it could transport 5,000 people an hour in each direction.
"We need to start working now to come up with out-of-the-box solutions," Kaufman said.
Some of the more mundane ideas include subsidizing ride-sharing. The MTA is already planning to increase service on other subway lines while examining with the city the possibility of dedicating a lane to express buses on the Williamsburg Bridge.
"Some of the other ideas in the report are things that aren't completely within the MTA's purview, so we're working with all of the partners we can talk to about ways we can minimize the impacts," said MTA spokesperson Beth DeFalco.
The MTA says it will finalize alternative service options at least a year before the closure, giving people plenty of time to make their plans.