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The L Train Slowdown Begins

The original plan for L train repairs was to shut the line down completely. Tonight, a revised plan will take effect. Instead of a shutdown, it’s a slowdown. But as Camille Petersen finds, a slowdown will still create issues for commuters.

PETERSEN 1: The Broadway Junction L stop is in Brownsville, Brooklyn. It’s near the end of the L line. And it’s an above-ground stop with an outdoor platform that looks out onto a network of trains.

It’s 9 AM. Trains into Manhattan are arriving every few minutes.

Michael Beckton is standing on the platform. Every week day, he commutes to Manhattan on the L. He doesn’t work nights or weekends. So he says he won’t be affected by the slowdown.

BECKTON 1 But I’m concerned about my wife because she works at a retail establishment in Manhattan. And some days she works late at night. Now there will be a 20 minute wait. (0:10)

PETERSEN 2: At Bedford Avenue, just one stop from Manhattan, the platform is dense with commuters waiting to get on packed trains.

Marianne is one of them. She says the slowdown is inevitable.

MARIANNE 1 Look, this train needs bettering at the end of the day and like it has to be done sometime. And if we suffer a little bit, I’m fine with that. (0:08)

PETERSEN 3: Jonathan Peters researches transportation policy at CUNY. He says an L train SLOWDOWN, instead of a shutdown, may actually increase commuters’ suffering in the long run.

That’s because a slowdown is pretty inefficient.

PETERS 1 Every day suddenly you have to stop what you’re doing. You have to get out of the way of the trains and then you have to run and operate the system for whatever, 15 hours or 18 hours. (0:10)

PETERSEN 4: He says, because of that inefficiency, it’ll take longer to get the L running normally again.

Plus, the slowdown could cost more money than a shutdown.

Which means the MTA won’t have the funds for repairs and improvements on other lines.

PETERS 2 We’ll be talking about this in 5 years or 10 years because a project that could have gone forward will be deferred. (0:05)

PETERSEN 5: At the Bedford Avenue stop, Marianne says commuters are getting creative to deal with the slowdown. Ubers to other subway lines, buses, ferries.

MARIANNE 2 It’s not ideal but again if it means we get better service I’m ok with that. (0:06)

PETERSEN 6: The slowdown starts tonight at 8 PM. It’s expected to last for 18 to 20 months.

Camille Petersen, Columbia Radio News.


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