Business

L shutdown will disrupt a lot more than just commuters’ trips

In 2016 the MTA announced two proposals for repairs on the L line because of structural damage in certain stations.

The proposals detailed improvements to the stations along with the repairs. These necessary improvements should ultimately make people happy.

The improvements are a positive change, but the line will be shut down for 15 months at six stations. Commuters have been demanding repairs for years, but this shutdown is not what was expected.

The L train shutdown is going to be more than just a simple repair; it will have major repercussions on the lives of residents and business owners.

The line does not only have an effect on those who commute; it also plays a major role in businesses and rent in the neighborhoods that it runs through.

The L train operates between Brooklyn and Manhattan, making it a major form of transportation. Over 200,000 people use this line every day. The L train takes many people to their jobs in the city, but it also brings many people into neighborhoods like Williamsburg, making it crucial to businesses in the area.

Williamsburg has recently seen a revitalization, with businesses booming because of tourism and rents shooting up. The hip Brooklyn neighborhood relies heavily
on the L as its main source of transportation.

The shutdown will threaten the future of the neighborhood and all other neighborhoods along the L line.

Even though the train shutdown does not start until April 2019, businesses and renters are already seeing a loss in sales of up to 40 percent.

The construction alone is preventing businesses from getting customers by blocking sidewalks and severely cutting into their profits. The repairs are also costing them valuable customers because people are no longer able to make trips and spend money.

Solutions are limited for affected commuters, not having many travel options other than buses or other lines that are farther away.

For the time being, these Brooklyn businesspeople will have to rely on local residents populating their stores to survive these next 15 months.

However, locals are moving out of the affected neighborhoods in large numbers instead of waiting for repairs to finish. They do not want to deal with the issues around the upcoming closure.

The shutdown will cause the commute to increase by 20 minutes according to officials, which doesn’t account for increased traffic and delays caused by people using other lines.

Having a subway station nearby is convenient but drives up rent. The closure is affecting the price of all homes along the line.

Apartments are decreasing in value with rents dropping by an average of $250. Not only are rents decreasing, but inventory is also up by 25 percent, suggesting that people are avoiding moving into these areas, possibly due to the impending shutdown.

Landlords are desperately trying to attract renters by slashing price, but the sacrifice of convenience is not worth it to many. Other neighborhoods offer similar or better pricing with running trains contributing to the resistance of renting there.

The future seems bleak for many of the businesses unless they can find new ways to attract people into their neighborhood, though we will not know the outcome and effects of it until the start of the construction in April.

September 13, 2018

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Noah Fleischman


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