Pretty much everyone agrees that the complete L subway line shutdown planned for 2019 is going to blow big time, but there may be a silver lining to the train-shaped cloud. Several proposals for alternative modes of transport have already been proposed, including suggestions for new bus and ferry services, as well as running additional trains on subway tracks in the area. The 18-month shutdown will mean a drastic change in habits for tens of thousands of commuters, but many argue that the alternatives may actually be better than the crowded L Train.

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The closure of the L line between Manhattan and Brooklyn is expected to begin in January 2019 and last for 18 months. During that time, crews will work to repair damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy—so it’s kind of a big deal. Around 225,000 riders currently crowd the L Train on the daily, making it clear that any stopgap alternatives will have to be robust. To provide folks with alternative modes of transportation, the city will likely introduce a number of different options which will together help move displaced commuters around the city, as no single option would be able to manage the numbers.

Related: Designers imagine ‘giant condom’ floating pedestrian tunnel as solution for L Train shutdown

Regular riders of the L Train may not realize, though, that some of the alternatives already exist. The East River Ferry, for example, is only a few years old and already serves nearly 1.3 million riders a year. Rather than crowd into a train like sardines, commuters on the ferry can spread their wings like seagulls and enjoy free wireless internet access at the same time.

For those who like to be a little more energetic during their commute, the Williamsburg Bridge offers a physical challenge like no other. The arched bridge can be walked, run, or biked across and is bound to whip you into shape no matter which method you choose. Crossing that bridge on foot or bike during the winter isn’t highly recommended, though, as we all know how brutal the city’s temps can get, especially during an early morning commute.

It’s not clear at this point when the city will release its full and final plan for making up what is lost during the L Train closure. However, commuters currently relying on the train to get where they need to go should start looking around, and maybe even give that ferry ride or bridge crossing a try.

Via New York Times

Images via Wikipedia and East River Ferry