MTA, DOT seek to calm L train shutdown nerves

The L train shutdown is more than a year away, but panic is already starting to set in among commuters. MTA and New York City officials are trying to reassure riders that they will have adequate alternatives to get back and forth from Brooklyn to Manhattan. But a lot of people fear the worst.

Hundreds attended the first open house presenting contingency ways to get around once the 15-month shutdown of the L train starts in April 2019.

Experts from the city's Transportation Department and the MTA directly answered one-on-one questions from New Yorkers. Even Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and New York City Transit President Andy Byford took questions. Byford said that  while the contingency plan increases ferry and bike options, buses will have to handle the bulk of displaced riders.

But transit advocates rallied outside, saying the plan needs work. They said the proposed rush hour-focused bus alternatives fall short and said that bus lanes need to be expanded to all hours.

Inevitably, a contingency plan to reroute 425,000 people will force unwanted changes on others. And city officials are navigating a fine line to balance different interests. Changes are expected to be made to the plan. A final draft is expected in the coming months.