We hated to do it, because sharing the news of the impending L train shutdown felt like making it real, but we did do it. We did it because we had to.
We reported that the L train might get shut down for years to repair the line's Carnarsie tube that was flooded with salt water and wrecked during Sandy.
Then, we lamented about all the places we won't be able to get to once the L line's shut down.
Now, the L train shutdown is becoming real. Like, it isn't going away. Like, it's becoming so real that the L Train Coalition met on Wednesday night to discuss the looming shutdown.
Bedford and Bowery reported that the L Train Coalition, a growing group composed of community stakeholders, convened Wednesday to figure out how to make life suck less for those who rely on L train service.
"The MTA wants a back-and-forth with the community," said Felice Kirby, the owner of Teddy's in Williamsburg, who seems to have assumed the Coalition's leadership role.
She, along with her fellow business owners, residents, and elected officials are demanding, as they should, transparency and collaboration from the MTA during the L Train shutdown.
We mean, the MTA can't just abandon the more than 300,000 New Yorkers who rely on the L train for their daily commute. That'd be a new level of absurdity.
The current options for handling those hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers' transportation are as follows: The MTA might completely shutdown the L train for over a year. Or, they might shut it down on nights and weekends over the course of three years.
It's the proverbial dilemma. Would you rather rip off the bandaid quickly and experience a lot of pain for a short period time? Or would you rather have less pain over a longer time period?
Except, this isn't a bandaid. It's 300,000 people's livelihoods. Residents are worried about getting around and business owners are, understandably, concerned that an L train shutdown could dry up their customers.
Even worse was the declaration of Mina Elias, chief of staff for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who attended a closed-door meeting between the MTA and elected officials. She said the nights-and-weekend option could take "as long as seven years."
There was no MTA representative at the meeting, which is probably a good thing.
MTA representative Andrew Inglesby attended a meeting at the Brooklyn Bowl at the end of January and was "booted" from the meeting after refusing to "elaborate on what was wrong with the tunnel itself, or offer a date for when the MTA would have more information."
Still, the coalition has asked the MTA to schedule a meeting with the community by the end of March.
"We want open engagement early," said Kirby.
We understand why the community is mad. We mean, so many New Yorkers ride the L train. It's seen a 98% increase in ridership over the past 20 years. So clearly, this is an extravagant disruption to hundreds of thousands of people's way of life.
MTA, if you do close the L train, you better be prepared to handle the furor of the L Train Coalition, and the citizens of North Brooklyn. No one plans on accepting this closure lying down.
Check out 9 Things Right Off the L Line Every New Yorker Will Miss When It Closes.[via Bedford and Bowery] [Feature Image Courtesy New York Daily News]