Planned L Train Closure FAQs



On December 13, 2017, the New York City Department of Transportation ("NYCDOT") and Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") released a proposal to mitigate the effects of the planned L train closure. A final plan is expected to be adopted following additional input from New York City residents, businesses, elected officials, and other stakeholders in early 2018. This page outlines key information included in NYCDOT and MTA's proposed plan, and will be updated as additional details are provided by relevant city and state agencies.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. What is the timeline for the L train shutdown?

The L train shutdown will begin in April 2019 and the MTA anticipates that the closure will last for 15 months. NYCDOT plans to begin work on streetscape treatments, such as sidewalk extensions and bus lane markings, to 14th Street and adjacent streets in summer and early fall 2018.


2. Will there be an opportunity to share my questions or concerns with the MTA and NYCDOT before the plans are finalized?

The MTA and NYCDOT will be presenting updates on the L train mitigation plans at Community Boards representing affected neighborhoods. The date for the remaining L train update presentation at upcoming Manhattan Community Board meetings is:

  • Community Board 2: Thursday, March 1 at 6:30pm; P.S. 41 Greenwich Village Elementary School (116 West 11th Street) 

If you or your business will be affected by the L train closure and you were unable to join one of the open houses, we recommended you attend the relevant Community Board meeting to learn more about travel alternatives and MTA and NYCDOT's proposed mitigation plans and to share any feedback or questions you may have. If you are not sure which Community Board you reside or work in, please visit this website.  


3. I wasn't able to attend the L Train Open Houses or cOMMUNITY bOARD MEETINGS. where can I find the information that the MTA and NYCDOT presented? 

In January and February, the MTA and NYCDOT hosted four community open houses to gather input from residents, businesses, civic groups, and other local stakeholders. The MTA and NYCDOT have created a resource page where you can view the materials shared at the L train open houses and the follow-up presentations given to Community Boards in Manhattan and Brooklyn.


4. How will existing Manhattan L train riders get across town during the shutdown?

The MTA plans to provide a new Select Bus Service ("SBS") route along 14th Street to help accommodate the 50,000 riders that use the L train within Manhattan. The new M14 SBS will originate at Stuyvesant Cove at 20th Street and terminate at 10th Avenue, stopping near existing L train stations. During peak times, the MTA estimates that nearly 60 SBS and local buses will run per hour on 14th Street. With the busway, MTA and NYCDOT estimate about 16 minutes of transit time from river-to-river on 14th Street.

For riders originating in or heading toward Brooklyn, the MTA will also create a new L1 bus route that follows the L line from Brooklyn, crosses the Williamsburg Bridge, and then goes north on 1st Avenue. The bus will circulate at 15th Street and then head south down 2nd Avenue. During late nights, the L1 bus may also run on the M14 SBS route along 14th Street


5. What changes to 14th Street are outlined in the proposed mitigation plan?

NYCDOT plans to convert 14th Street between 3rd and 9th Avenue eastbound and 3rd and 8th Avenues westbound into a “busway.”  The proposed busway will have three lanes – one lane that will serve as a bus stop and two lanes for bus and local delivery travel. Private vehicles will be prohibited from 14th Street during peak hours, the duration of which has yet to be finalized by NYCDOT.

NYCDOT has also proposed enhancements to the streetscape to accommodate increased pedestrian foot traffic on 14th Street and mitigate congestion along key blocks and intersections. Proposed street design elements include:

  • Extend sidewalks to add approximately 50,000 square feet of new pedestrian area along 14th Street.
  • Temporary bus boarders and passing lanes at bus stops.
  • Add 75 commercial loading spots on 14th Street.
  • Private vehicles restrictions throughout 14th Street during peak hours.
MTADOT 14th St.jpg

6. what vehicles will be permitted on the 14th street busway?

In the proposed plan, vehicle traffic on the 14th Street busway during peak hours will be restricted to buses (.e.g., MTA buses, school buses, and commercial buses), Access-A-Ride vehicles, emergency vehicles, local delivery trucks, and cars accessing private parking garages on 14th Street. All other private vehicles, taxis, for-hire vehicles, and through trucks will not be allowed on 14th Street during the peak hour period that will be determined by MTA and NYCDOT.


7. what changes will be made to Union square West during the l train shutdown?

MTADOT University and USQ West.jpg

Portions of the Union Square West roadway will be repurposed for pedestrian use. The blocks of Union Square West between 14th and 15th Streets and 16th and 17th Streets will be closed to vehicular traffic. These blocks will create expanded public space to improve pedestrian circulation. The block between 15th and 16th streets will receive treatments to convert it into a service loop for vehicles. NYCDOT will also install a bike lane along Union Square West to improve bike connectivity between Broadway and 14th Street. The street treatments along University Place and Union Square West will allow for 19,000 square-feet of additional public space.

8. what changes will be made to university place during the l train shutdown?

During the L train shutdown, the block of University Place between 13th and 14th Streets will be closed to vehicular traffic. MTA and NYCDOT will install a new bike parking valet on the block, and there is a possibility that the existing Citi Bike kiosk will be expanded. The street treatments along University Place and Union Square West will allow for 19,000 square-feet of additional public space.

9. what will happen to 13th street during the l train shutdown?

NYCDOT will install a two-way protected crosstown bike lane to 13th Street to accommodate anticipated 200-400% increases in cycling volume and to improve cyclist safety. Currently, 13th Street has one travel lane and parking on both sides of the street. The new proposed street design will have one vehicle travel lane, one parking lane, and two 5-foot eastbound and westbound bike lanes separated from the vehicle travel lane by a 3-foot buffer. MTA and NYCDOT estimate about 12 minutes of transit time from river-to-river on 13th Street.

MTADOT 13th St.jpg

10. what improvements will be made to the subway stations during the Closure?

The MTA plans to make several critical improvements to the subway stations along 14th Street, including the stations at 1st Avenue, 3rd Avenue, Union Square – 14th Street, and 6th Avenue, during the L train shutdown. Key changes include:  

  • 1st Avenue will become fully ADA accessible with an elevator and additional stairs, as well as a new entrance at Avenue A.  
  • 3rd Avenue will be the first pilot station for platform screen doors. Additional platform repairs, ADA boarding areas, and other structural repairs will also be made at this station.
  • Union Square station will receive station capacity enhancements, including additional turnstiles and an escalator to the “L” train platform.
  • 6th Avenue will receive platform repairs, ADA boarding areas (e.g., rumble strips, signage), and track wall, column and floor repairs.

Share Your Questions

We encourage stakeholders to share their feedback directly with NYCDOT and MTA by participating in the community workshops to be held in February 2018. The Union Square Partnership will also compile any relevant feedback received from our businesses, residents, and community stakeholders and share with the MTA and NYCDOT. If you have further questions regarding the L train’s impact on the greater Union Square community, please send us a note.