Cuomo Cancels Full L Train Shutdown in Favor of Part-Time Closures

Andrew Cuomo

The city had planned to close the tunnel, which runs between Brooklyn and Manhattan, for 15 months beginning in April to fix two tubes located beneath the East River.

In December, Governor Cuomo toured the L train tunnels with engineering experts from Columbia and Cornell Universities.

Chloe Philips, 23, relies on the L train to travel from her home in Bushwick to her sales job at a technology company in Manhattan every day.

The new plan calls for installing cables on racks along the inside of the tunnels, and leaving the old cables where they are.

On Thursday, with those engineers by his side, the governor announced the end of the so-called "L-pocalypse", canceling the tunnel closures after having come up with a new design to resolve the damage from Superstorm Sandy.

The MTA says it plans to use the same contractors it was initially using to fix the tunnels and hope to keep the project within its $500 million budget.

"So, if there is a plan that can be better for the people of our neighborhoods, that's great, but I want to reserve any further judgment until I hear more", he said.

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Shanice Brown, who manages the Goorin Bros. hat store in Williamsburg that depends on the L train to bring in customers and employees, said the change in plans is a big relief.

Meanwhile, the agency has been scrambling to figure out how to transport the line's 250,000 daily commuters on buses and connecting subway lines .

"It didn't feel very secure at all", she said.

Plainly, the governor woke up Friday feeling stung by the skeptics who were daring to question the viability of his surprise L-train plan.

The shutdown was supposed to start in April. Williams, of Brooklyn, said he found the timing and motivation of Cuomo's announcement "suspect", coming as it did after years of public meetings and debate on the shutdown. Of those, more than half go through the tunnel.

The agency could have gone with a three-year partial shutdown, but the MTA decided in mid-2016 that it would be better to close the Canarsie Tube completely starting in the spring of 2019. Experts were projecting crippling congestion on the Williamsburg Bridge, and even more packed trains on the few other options for the North Brooklyn neighborhood.

And it may only take five more months than the 15 that transit leaders expected the so-called L-pocolypse to last, according to the acting chairman of the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board Fernando Ferrer, although Cuomo refused to promise the new approach would wrap in 20 months.

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