NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The long-dreaded 15-month shutdown of the L train was called off in a surprise announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday.
The critical subway link between Manhattan and Brooklyn was set to close in April this year, but the governor says a team of experts from Columbia and Cornell Universities came up with a new design that’s never been tried before in the United States involving relocating cables and installing sensors.
Weekday service will remain the same, but waits will be longer during night and weekend service. It’s welcomed news for many who’ve been dreading the shutdown for years. Many commuters didn’t know how they were going to get to work, and some business owners feared they wouldn’t be able to stay open.
For the people who already made adjustments to get ahead of the long-anticipated plan, Thursday’s announcement feels a little too late.
“For a lot of people, they made decisions for their life a long time ago about what would happen when the L train closes, and now they’re finding out that it’s a totally different plan,” Councilman Keith Powers (D-4th) said.
People like soon-to-be-former Williamsburg resident Gina Garan said.
“We signed a lease to move out and found out today the L train may not be shutting down, so now we’re upset,” she said.
Garan has been living in Williamsburg for almost a decade. She signed a lease for an apartment in Manhattan near her son’s school just two days ago, expecting he wouldn’t be able to take the L train there come April.
“I don’t want to move, period. It’s a pain in the neck,” she said. “I wish they would’ve told us sooner.”
Thursday’s announcement from Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is making many in Williamsburg change their plans, if they still can.
“I have a ton of friends that already moved out of Williamsburg so they’re gone for good and probably gonna be pissed off,” Williamsburg resident Katherine Grehl said.
Some area brokers are now anticipating a possible upswing.
“Essentially people are gonna come back to the area,” David Sokolowski said. “There’s gonna be a boom.”
Rentals have been offering discounts to attract tenants during the looming L-pocalypse, including Ella Jaymes who’s already offered her tenants a lower rate
“It definitely has already affected our business,” the landlord said. “We’ll be living with that adjustment.”
In the meantime, some like Garan are left scrambling and uncertain.
“My building offered me a concession to stay and we’re mulling it over,” she said. “Now I wonder if that concession will stay in place now that they know the L train is not going anywhere.”
Garan says half of her building has already moved out in anticipation of the shutdown.
Williamsburg has seen a lot of small businesses close in recent months, so many are hoping he announcement will help fill up storefronts again.