Testimony on L Train Closure for December 2017 MTA Board Meeting

Regional Plan Association Testimony before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on December 13, 2017, calling on the MTA to improve their plans for L Train reconstruction and upgrades before it is too late to change the capital project, in advance of the 15-month L Train Closure, delivered by RPA Vice President, State Programs and Advocacy, Kate Slevin. 

Good morning. I am Kate Slevin, Vice President of State Programs and Advocacy at the Regional Plan Association, an organization that works to improve mobility, economic opportunity and sustainability in the NYC metropolitan region.


I am here today to talk about the L train closure, and once again ask the MTA to seize this unique opportunity to create transformative change, providing lasting benefits both above and below ground. A bolder, more comprehensive approach would provide a new model for how to deliver much-needed upgrades to the subway system more quickly and cost effectively. The time is short for the MTA in particular to make changes before the capital budget for this project is finalized.


Specifically, we continue to ask the MTA to do more to improve the stations that will be closed during the shutdown -- this means new elevators at 3rd and 6th Avenues, improved circulation at Union Square and track and terminal improvements to 8th Ave terminal that allow more service along the L train in the future. The full list of ideas is in a recent report we released yesterday that I have here.


Using longer-term shutdowns on larger segments of lines could save money in construction and bring more urgently needed improvements to the subway system at a faster pace.


The MTA also needs to work with the DOT to show New Yorkers what modern, reliable bus service can look like. For the L train shutdown, this means HOV restrictions on the East River Bridges, and prioritizing buses across the bridges and along the 14th Street corridor, possibly with a center running bus lane that extends most of 14th Street. With bus ridership rapidly declining, losing 100 million passengers over the past eight years, the agencies cannot move fast enough to restore faith in the bus system.


Thank you for your time.