NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Local, state and federal officials are demanding answers after plans to implement a shutdown of the “L” train were axed.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo surprised everyone when he announced a new option that would keep the line open.
On Sunday, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas found out why the change is being met with so much criticism.
Realtor Daniel Fried has seen Williamsburg residents move out, as the proposal to completely shut down the L took its toll on the real estate market.
“So we did notice a depreciation in pricing. There were more rent giveaways,” said Fried, who works for Douglas Elliman.
Cuomo, who last month toured the mile and a half-long Canarsie Tunnels, which were damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, changed course on Thursday, announcing new technology from Europe would avert the initial 15-month shutdown. Instead only requiring service interruptions on nights and weekends. The unexpected change helps Fried’s pitch to sell more units.
“People don’t want the train to shut down. They want it to stay open. They just want to believe that this is actually going to be the final decision,” Fried said.
The new plan would involve closing down only one part of the Canarsie Tunnel at a time for repairs.
“New Yorkers, God Bless them, can be a little skeptical and I can see why they would be skeptical in this situation,” Cuomo said. “They’re distrustful of government in general.”
Elected leaders, transit advocates and even Metropolitan Transportation Authority board members who have spent years planning for a full shutdown were caught off guard by the governor’s sudden change of plans. Now, they’re demanding answers.
“What we need now is transparency on the work that’s been done, how these decisions are being made and what the trade-offs are between the old plan and the new plan,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said.
Borough Officials Hold News Conference Demanding Details On New L Train Plan
A coalition of elected leaders and advocates gathered at the Lorimer Street station on Sunday. They said they want more details about how the technology, which has never been used in the United States, will work. And they want assurances that the original plans to expand bus and ferry services, among others, remains a part of the new plan.
“The MTA is telling us, ‘Trust us.’ The problem is, basically, that we don’t trust you,” Rep. Nydia Velazquez said.
Hopefully Gov. Cuomo’s plan works better than Mayor Bill de Blasio’s subway card did on Friday.
The mayor was forced to swipe it three times and borrowed an aide’s card to finally get through a turnstile at a Harlem station where he announced he’s still skeptical of the new plan.
“The intention is very good,” de Blasio said. “I think we’re not there yet in knowing whether it’s really going to work out.”
Cuomo’s staff said he was unavailable when CBS2 tried to get answers at an unrelated event on Sunday.
“It seems a little chaotic that the governor would step in and do that after three years of planning, but I don’t know. I’m a little skeptical,” Williamsburg resident Will Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman is among the many riders hoping for the best, but still preparing for the worst.
New York City Transit President Andy Byford offered the following statement: “Extensive outreach has been a hallmark of the L Project. We will continue to work with our board, contractors, government partners and the public in assessing the recommendations of the Columbia and Cornell Engineering School experts, which would continue 24/7 service and reduce disruption to hundreds of thousands of our customers and neighbors. We look forward to collaborating closely with our customers, the City of New York, our federal funding partners and other stakeholders in this process.”