Multiple Scenarios for an L Train Shutdown, None of them Good for Business

Rumors have been stirring for awhile now about a possible shutdown of the L Train in order to make repairs, and local business owners in Williamsburg are feeling the pressure. Two possible scenarios discussed by the MTA involve either a 3-year, 24-hour-a-day shutdown, or a 7-year shutdown of night and weekend service. The MTA has yet to commit to either, and some doubt the service disruptions will be so severe, but the deadline to receive Federal relief money for damage done by Hurricane Sandy is quickly approaching.

Businesses in Williamsburg are understandably concerned, particularly Bars and Restaurants for whom nights and weekends are the worst possible shutdown times. Matthew Webber, owner of several restaurants in Bushwick and Williamsburg, says that past weekend disruptions have resulted in a 30% drop in sales for some of his restaurants. When the L train shuts down, “Williamsburg gets brutalized,” says Webber.

Some business owners, like Kevin Adey of Faro in Bushwick, don’t believe that the shutdown will happen. Since real estate developers now have a huge stake in Williamsburg, they may have the opportunity to influence the MTA’s decision and lessen the blow, possibly by expanding G train service. But without some compromise, the MTA warns that delays due to hurricane damage and increasing wear and tear could become much more commonplace.

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