W’burg businesses fight L train suspensions

Williamsburg retailers are up in arms about partially shut down service on the L train on a dozen weekends since July, reaching out to community leaders and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to work out alternatives. The shutdowns have resulted in massive drops in sales for many of them, Crains reported, most dramatically on Black Friday, the stores’ biggest day of the year.

“Nobody was here,” said William Norton, owner of apparel store Peachfrog in the vicinity of the L closure. “I lost 80 percent of my business, compared with last year.”

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Since 1998, the L train’s ridership has increased by a massive 141 percent thanks to development of the now-trendy Williamsburg area, but local businesses are now suffering so much from the unreliability of commuters’ lifeline to the neighborhood that something must be done, they said.

Some local politicians are working with the retailers to ensure that suspended service on trains does not continue to interfere too dramatically with commerce in the area.

Sen. Daniel Squadron said: “The L train is the artery to the rest of the city. Some service disruptions are inevitable, but they should be coordinated in ways that make sense.” [Crain’s]