NYC subway chief faces task of fixing system without choking it

Andy Byford, who becomes president of New York City’s transit system in January, has the unenviable job of modernizing a century-old system of underground subway tunnels beset with track fires, power outages, signal malfunctions and delays.

The repairs needed are so extensive that, in the case of the L train that carries passengers under the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan, the tunnel will close for 15 months in April 2019.

Already, Byford has joined an urgent debate among transit advocates, policymakers and politicians about how best to avert an economic crisis that would ensue if hundreds of thousands of pedestrians and motorists choked movement above the L train path on 14th Street, one of Manhattan’s busiest thoroughfares.

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