That permanent sense of rush hour while riding the L Train might just become a thing of the past.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced it is seeking $300 million in federal funding to help alleviate the ridership burden on the L train, which runs between 8th Avenue in Manhattan and Canarsie in Brooklyn.
If obtained, the cash will be used to make “infrastructure improvements,” that address the massive increase in L ridership over the past decade.
More than 49,000 customers use the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations on an average weekday, and the stations experience overcrowding during peak periods.
“The area around the Bedford Avenue Station has been rezoned to allow for almost 10,000 new residential units, and ridership is expected to continue to rise,” said Carmen Bianco, President of New York City Transit. “We have to increase capacity and improve customer flow at stations to meet this increasing demand.”
Some of the changes the new funding could bring include two additional trains per hour along the circuit and elevators at the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stops.
In addition the Bedford stop would see the installation of two seven-foot wide street stairs on the eastern end of Bedford Avenue and two seven-and-a-half feet stairs to access the platform, which would replace the existing single 12-foot-wide staircase, in another attempt to allow a smoother commute for customers and to avoid overcrowding.
The L train is used by 300,000 riders on an average weekday, according to the MTA. The line has seen a 98 percent increase in ridership since 1998. Just the Bedford Avenue stop itself has seen a 250 percent increase in commuters, and is the busiest stop along the line.
The infrastructural improvements will coincide with repair work to the Canarsie Tube that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Partial funding for these improvements has been ensured through the MTA’s previous capital budgets. The MTA is seeking the additional $300 million through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Core Capacity Grant Program.
No date has been set for completing the work, with improvements continuing on the line for the next several years.