FLOATING SUBWAY STATION?

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge flooded the Canarsie Tunnel under the East River, causing severe damage. The MTA will need to shut down the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn for a projected 15 months beginning in April 2019 to make critical repairs. But how are the half a million L train commuters going to cope? A floating bridge that can carry buses, cyclists and pedestrians across the East River is the latest proposal that has been put forward to help mitigate the impact of the shutdown. We have an inside look at the pontoon bridge plan that might just help make the L-train shutdown manageable.

Aired on March 12, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS THE FIRST AVENUE TRAIN STATION IN MANHATTAN.

AND IT WILL HAVE TO BE SHUT DOWN SO CREWS CAN COME IN AND MAKE REPAIRS TO DAMAGE CAUSED BY HURRICANE SANDY.

WHEN IT DOES THAT, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF COMMUTERS WILL HAVE TO FIND A DIFFERENT WAY TO GET IN AND OUT OF BROOKLYN AND MANHATTAN.

THAT HAS MANY PEOPLE FLOATING IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO GET ACROSS THE EAST RIVER.

AND WHEN I SAY FLOATING, I MEAN THAT LITERALLY.

THIS IS ONE OF THE IDEAS PROPOSED ONCE THE L-TRAIN SUSPENDS ITS SERVICE.

IT'S A PONTOON BRIDGE.

IT'S BEING PROPOSED BY PARKER SHIN.

IT'S A LONG SHOT THIS WILL ACTUALLY BE BUILT, BUT IT'S ONE OF A COUPLE OF QUIRKY IDEAS PUT FORWARD SO FAR, INCLUDING A GONDOLA SERVICE, NAMED THE EAST RIVER SKYWAY.

ANY AND EVERY IDEA IS WORTH CONSIDERING, WHETHER IT'S ADDITIONAL FERRY SERVICE, PONTOON BRIDGE, SKYWAY, GONDOLAS, RIGHT NOW THE CLOCK IS TICKING.

HIS OFFICE WILL BE DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE SUSPENSION NEXT YEAR.

WORK HAS ALREADY BEGUN ON THE BEDFORD AVENUE STATION.

IN HIS DISTRICT, COMMUTERS WILL BE IN DESPERATE NEED OF A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE.

HERE IN NEW YORK BROOKLYN, THE L-TRAIN IS UNLIKE A LOT OF SUBWAY LINES IN NEW YORK CITY, UNLIKE DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN WHERE YOU HAVE THE R AND THE AC AND THE F, RIGHT?

THERE'S SO MANY DIFFERENT LINES THAT YOU CAN TAKE INTO LOWER MANHATTAN.

HERE IN WILLIAMSBURG YOU HAVE THE L-TRAIN, AND MAYBE HALF-MILE, THREE QUARTERS OF A MILE SOUTH OF HERE YOU HAVE THE JMZ LINE WHICH GOES OVER THE WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE, THEN YOU HAVE TO GO UP TO LONG ISLAND CITY.

THIS TAKES MANY, MANY, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS FROM BROOKLYN.

INTO MANHATTAN, 14th STREET ACROSS MANHATTAN.

IT'S A LIFELINE FOR A LOT OF NEW YORKERS TO GET THEM TO WORK.

SO FAR THE CITY AND STATE HAVE PUT FORTH IDEAS THAT CLUE ADDITIONAL TRAIN SERVICE AND BUS LINES ACROSS THE WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE AND FOR HIGHER VEHICLES.

THAT LAST ONE WORRIES THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ALTERNATIVES.

IF IT TAKES MORE THAN 20 OR 30 MINUTES THAN USUAL, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE OPTING FOR WHATEVER THEY CAN.

IT'S GOING TO BE EVERY COMMUTER FOR THEMSELVES.

MORE PEOPLE TAKING UBERS.

THERE ARE EVEN COMPANIES PLANNING ON OPERATING THEIR OWN, SEPARATE, PRIVATE SHUTTLE SERVICES.

THAT WOULD BE A DISASTER.

IF EVERYONE DEFECTS FROM THE PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM AND TRIES THEIR OWN SOLUTION WE'RE GOING TO HAVE WORSE GRIDLOCK.

THE LAST THING I WANT TO SEE 13 MONTHS FROM NOW IS THE STATE SAYING THAT IT'S THE CITY'S FAULT FOUR THE CATASTROPHE AND THE CITY SAYING IT'S THE STATE'S FAULT FOR THE CATASTROPHE.

WE JUST ALL NEED TO GET ON THE SAME PAGE, MAKE A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT HERE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE NOT LEAVING, YOU KNOW, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF COMMUTERS STRANDED.

THE CITY AND STATE HAVE HAD TONS OF MEETINGS ABOUT THE L-TRAIN SERVER.

AS FOR THE PRICE TAG, THIS IS EXPECTED TO COST JUST UNDER $900 MILLION.

AT THE FIRST AVENUE TRAIN ADMINISTRATION IN MANHATTAN, 'METROFOCUS.'

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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