The MTA Will Kick Lots of People Out of Their Homes for M Train Repairs

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Hi, North Brooklyn subway commuters. Time to settle in for an unfortunate tale of cause and effect: Once upon a time, there was a superstorm named Sandy. Sandy hit the shores of New York City and, in turn, did some real damage to the Canarsie Tunnel, which delivers all L traffic between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Then one day, the MTA disclosed, sheepishly: yeah, we’re probably gonna have to shut the L Train down for several years so we can make those Canarsie tunnel repairs. And then the MTA said—hold up, that’s not all. We’ll have to shut down the M Train, too—probably for several months—so we can give it the upgrades it needs to support all that increased traffic from L commuters.

And now! The latest in this bad tale of cause and effect: The MTA has revealed that, in order to give the M Train all the repairs it needs—in particular, to raze and then rebuild the “Bushwick Cut,” which is a section of the M train viaduct that bridges 310 feet between Broadway and Bushwick Avenues, and connects the J, M, and Z lines—it will have to vacate dozens of homes, a coffee shop and a bike shop located along that portion of the M Line, according to DNAinfo and Newsweek.

The work is supposed to last six to ten months, according to the transit agency. Residents in the affected buildings will have a chance to leave voluntarily—and they have until summer 2017 to do so—but if they do not, the MTA will begin eminent domain proceedings, and remove them by force.

According to a statement by the MTA, they will provide, “suitable accommodations, relocation assistance and compensation to the affected individuals and businesses, and without delay to the project.” A spokesman for the agency, Kevin Ortiz, said, “we understand the serious inconvenience that each of these individuals are likely to experience in order to allow us to undertake this critical infrastructure project and we will do everything we can to minimize the distress.” At the same time, the agency noted that—due to the lengthy duration of repairs, many may choose not to return to the neighborhood, despite promises of “highly trained relocation specialists” that will be on the case.

But according to DNAinfo, the MTA did a pretty stinky job of informing affected residents of their fate. “I figured that it was something that hadn’t been finalized, that they still had to get approval for,” said one resident, Abby Campbell. “Our landlord didn’t even know about it, it can’t be that serious,” was her reasoning, before she learned the truth.

But that was not how this story ended. “We don’t get anything, we just have to move.”

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