WILLIAMSBURG – News of the halt of a full shutdown of L train service was welcome news to many who live In neighborhoods along the L, but while most are breathing a sigh of relief, others are still concerned about overnight and weekend service disruption.
For two years now, affected commuters have been bracing for the so-called “L-Train Apocalypse.”
Some even moved in advance of the shutdown. Thursday's announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo caught many by surprise.
“Everybody here is ecstatic,” said Hommy Martinez. Martinez works at the popular Bagelsmith – located right at the foot of the entrance to the Bedford Ave. L train station.
They'd anticipated a 50 percent drop in business because of the planned-for full shutdown of the L train. Governor Cuomo’s 11th hour reprieve means it will be business as usual for Bagelsmith.
“Our main money comes between the 7 to 3 shift, from early morning to mid-afternoon, so it would’ve hurt us a lot,” Martinez said
For Martinez it means more job security. For residents in the area, it means they will not be inconvenienced.
“People were moving out, several buildings in the area opened up within the last year they were offering free three months,” one long-time resident told PIX11.
Before Gov. Cuomo’s announcement, everyone was getting ready for the full shutdown.
“There are people who already set the ball in motion and found a place elsewhere and their heart is set on leaving and they may still leave,” said Steven Kalifowitz, president of Localize.city, a real estate knowledge platform that tracks trends and provides information on the real estate market.
It analyzes data for insight into neighborhoods and individual rental units. Before today, people were fleeing the hipster neighborhood.
“What we were seeing were a lot of people moving out of Williamsburg in part because they weren’t sure what the impact was going to be,” said Kalifowitz.
Thursday's decision changes everything.
“Now I believe we’re going to see a lot of people staying in Williamsburg, I was on a slack channel where someone said there goes my opportunity to invest in Williamsburg there were prospectors thinking ok in the near term real estate is going to go down, now they’re saying ok Williamsburg will stay upswing.”
But while weekdays remain status quo - there will still be service disruptions on weekends and nights.
“There’s a real risk here that for folks who work non 9 to 5 hours, who work late, it’s going to be an imposition for them” said Nick Sifuentes, Exec. Dir., Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Sifuentes pointed out that, regardless of the tunnel work, the L train is already at capacity with 400,000 daily riders
“I think the way the MTA needs to go about doing this is to make sure all of those buses and ferries they talked about having during the shutdown we’re still going to need those,” said SIfuentes. “The proof will be in the pudding whether this works or not that big question will be answered in a couple of months. Win, lose or draw, Governor Cuomo now owns the L train shutdown.”