silver linings

Free Subway Transfers Prove One ‘L’ of an Idea in Brooklyn

Kenya Rivera transfers between the L and 3 train in East New York to bring her daughter to school, on May 1, 2019.
Kenya Rivera transfers between the L and 3 train in Brownsville to bring her daughter to school. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

No one is cheering the massive nights-and-weekends work on the L line. But the project is giving some Brooklyn riders what they’ve long asked for: free transfers between two Brownsville stations.

Now passengers are hoping the link between Livonia Avenue on the L train and Junius Street on the No. 3  will become permanent — even as plans to physically connect the stops seem mired on the slow track.

“It makes sense,” said Kenya Rivera, 27, who was switching to the 3 during the morning rush on Wednesday. “They’re right next to each other.”

The proposed $30 million covered connector between the two elevated stations is listed as “superseded” on the MTA’s online Capital Program Dashboard.

MTA officials said the project would be moved to the agency’s next capital program project list, set to roll out later this year. Still, there is no timetable for when the work, which also includes a $15 million elevator installation, would start.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called for swift action.

“The story from the MTA is the same: promises made and promises delayed,” Adams told THE CITY.

He pointed to the longtime free transfers Upper East Side riders get between the unconnected Lexington Avenue/59th Street and Lexington Avenue/63rd Street stations

People walk the bridge between the L and 3 trains in East New York, May 1, 2019.
People walk the bridge between the L and 3 trains in Brownsville, May 1, 2019. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

“There is no justifiable reason why a permanent free out-of-station transfer can’t be instituted today between the Junius Avenue and Livonia Street stations,” Adams said.

Riders transferring from the L to the 3 need to cross a pedestrian bridge before walking down a flight of stairs and a short distance to the Junius Street station.

“A lot of people avoid it,” said Hector Rodriguez, 35, of Queens, who made the transfer after visiting relatives in Brownsville. “It’s dirty, it’s dark, it’s dangerous.”

“A connector would keep people from being exposed to the elements, and it would save some people from having to pay another $2.75,” said Wayne John, 45, of Brooklyn, who was transferring between lines Wednesday morning.

Transit officials previously conceded a free MetroCard-activated transfer should have been in place long before last week’s start of up to 18 months of repairs to the L’s East River tunnel.

During that work, the MTA is trying to steer people onto other lines since the L won’t be running as frequently.

The free transfer in Brownsville is “really is an important project for those who live and work in the community,” said Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. “It’s particularly important now as the L train slowdown further limits timely commuting options.”

In a statement, the MTA said, “We’re excited about building the connector between these two stations and even more excited about doing so in the context of making the complex (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible.”

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