East New York

L-train slowdown begins: Uber, alter or suck it up, East NY riders say

April 26, 2019 Noah Goldberg
The L train slowdown begins Friday night, and riders at Broadway Junction are prepping any way they can. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg.
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And so it begins. Far from the worlds of Williamsburg and Union Square, commuters who live near Broadway Junction are preparing for the start of the L-train slowdown.

Starting Friday night, L trains will run every 20 minutes between Manhattan and Brooklyn and every 10 minutes in Brooklyn all nights and on the weekends, while the MTA repairs damage done to tunnels by Superstorm Sandy.

The East New York transit nexus runs trains on the A, C, L, J and Z lines, and riders are hopeful they can alter their commutes and shift over to lines they don’t regularly take to make up for the slowdown’s effects.

“I’m probably going to alter my trip,” said Sarah Lo, who commutes to Union Square for work. “I’m just going to take the J train into Manhattan.”

Lo said she’s glad the L train did not shut down completely. “This is the best alternative.”

Pink posters with info about the L train slowdown adorn the walls of the Broadway Junction L stop. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg.
Pink posters with information about the L-train slowdown hang on the walls of the Broadway Junction L stop. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg.

Maritza Gonzalez is thankful that she lives near Broadway Junction, where her options feel unlimited. “I’m ready. I’ll take my options,” said Gonzalez, who works in Manhattan. “I’ll take the J or the C or the A.”

Planning is the most important way to deal with the slowdown, said Oscar Urbano, who works on the Upper East Side as a security supervisor. “Every day there has to be a game plan,” he said.

Urbano said he usually takes the Q to the L to get home to Brooklyn at night. With the slowdown, however, he plans on taking the Q to 42nd Street and to walk to the Eighth Avenue A train stop.

“It sucks. It really does. You’re coming home from work really tired and you gotta find an alternate path,” he said. “And you pay so much for the fare, it’s like, come on.”

Urbano recognized that people at Broadway Junction are better off than those in areas that rely solely on the L train. “We’ve got a lot of city transit,” he said.

Those who have the means plan on avoiding the trains altogether. Sunny Lee works two jobs, one off the Livonia Avenue stop, and one at Union Square. He plans on taking Ubers to both jobs once the slowdown begins. “I just plan on taking Uber. Uber everywhere. I make a lot though so it’s fine,” Lee said.

For those who don’t have other options, they’ll just have to endure the longer waits at night and on the weekends.

“It’s gonna suck,” said Quentin Corder, who takes the L to East 105th Street from Broadway Junction for overnight security work at a homeless shelter.

“I’m going to play my Nintendo Switch. I got Mortal Kombat, so we good. I’ll be alright.”

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