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MTA cuts would cut Brooklyn to pieces

The Brooklyn Paper
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Getting around Brooklyn — especially for residents of Williamsburg, Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst — will get a lot harder under proposed cuts by the MTA.

In a desperate attempt to fill what the Metropolitan Transit Authority says is a $1.4-billion budget gap, the cash-strapped agency is moving forward with a far-reaching plan to raise fares, eliminate train lines and bus routes, fire staff and lengthen wait times, among other cost-cutting proposals.

The cuts might hurt Williamsburg residents the most.

Commuters could face the elimination of the Z train and the abbreviation of the G and M trains, which would terminate at Court House Square in Queens and Broad Street in Manhattan, respectively.

“The entire Williamsburg community are being victimized by the MTA and its unfair plan of cuts,” said Councilwoman Diane Reyna (D–Williamsburg). “Three of the major trains that service this community are on the list for elimination or shortening — this is completely unacceptable.”

The MTA decided to cuts trains that run along “lines where other trains exist,” spokesman Aaron Donovan told The Brooklyn Paper.

Without the Z train, the MTA has proposed running the J and M trains as local routes through Bushwick and Williamsburg, adding between 10 and 15 minutes to most commutes, according to Gene Russianoff, a spokesman for the transit watchdog, the Straphangers’ Campaign.

That’s about 15 more minutes than many North Brooklyn commuters are willing to wait.

“That’s crazy!” said Gina Jackson, 23, a 311 employee who was waiting at the Myrtle Avenue station for an express J train on Friday. “The local is bull—. Ain’t nothing I can do. It’s a damn shame.”

It’s not just Williamsburg residents who are feeling Jackson’s pain.

Terminating the M train in Lower Manhattan might abandon riders who rely on the route’s South Brooklyn rush-hour extension, which duplicates the D line through Bensonhurst and Sunset Park, and the R line through Park Slope and Downtown Brooklyn.

“Any cut to the service would be terrible, because the service here is already bad,” said Carmine Santa Maria, president of the Bensonhurst West End Community Council.

The MTA is also considering running N trains over the Manhattan Bridge during late nights — shuttering the Court Street and Lawrence Street stations in Downtown Brooklyn, where the N now stops as a local train after dark.

Subway service isn’t the only thing on the chopping block.

The MTA plans to scratch three bus routes including the B37, which runs from Bay Ridge through Gowanus and Boerum Hill before arriving in Downtown Brooklyn; the B39, which runs from the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge across the river to the Lower East Side of Manhattan; and the B75, which runs from Windsor Terrace through Park Slope, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill before reaching Downtown Brooklyn.

The agency also plans to cut “lightly used” weekend service on the X27 and X28 express buses, which shuttle riders between Manhattan and Shore Road in Bay Ridge, and Cropsey Avenue in Bensonhurst — a decision that might alienate Yellow Hook commuters, said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).

“South Brooklyn is already underserved by the MTA, and sacrificing this community is not a smart plan,” Gentile said. “The reality is that many people work on the weekends, and for them, there’s no good alternative to those express buses. Those working families shouldn’t be sacrificed — other options have got to be considered.”

Though the cuts won’t be finalized until the end of the year, transit experts are warning commuters to brace for the worst.

“This is the worst their finances have been that I’ve seen in 25 years of following the agency,” said Russianoff. “These cuts are a serious possibility — coupled with a whopping fare hike.”

— with Makeda Dash

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Reader Feedback

TGOFF from Bath Beach says:
Does that mean there will only be three B-1 buses in tandem instead of the usual four? But always in the opposite direction!
Nov. 24, 2008, 7:37 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Can't the city just increase the MTA's budget?
A poorly run transit system will end up costing the city more in other areas, especially if people start using cars more as a result.
Nov. 25, 2008, 7:26 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
I guess our Brooklyn Borough President Marty markowitx reall doesn't give a sh@t about us. He has a vanity project " The Marty Markowitz Amphitheater" in Brighton Beach/Coney Island at a cost of over $64 million dollars. How quickly we forget Marty's Lighting Project at the parachute Jump , which is a dismal $ 2 million dollar failure, will be redone at a cost of over $1 million dollars. Great work Marty. Instead of being fiscal responsible he'll squander over $64 million dollars for a Concert Hall that won't work in a residential area, that won't provide many jobs ( by the way the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal has provided only 60 jobs, when Marty promised over 600 jobs. He's full of sh#t again. I'm surprised the Brooklyn Paper editor isn't on Marty's case about this project. We need infrastrucuture projects not "Marty's Concert Hall", especially when economically the City is broke.
Nov. 25, 2008, 10:33 am
jorge from south williamsburg says:
a lot of the bus routes just follow subway stops
SOooo a lot of them can be terminated
for instance i live 7 blocks away from the bedford L train. there is a bus i can take 7 blocks to it but i walk because im not lazy. most of the mta bus routes arent necessary. Now for hoods that dont have a train stop
parts of brooklyn and queens well then yes have bus route bring them to the closest train and thats it

people should be on the trains not buses.
you can get pretty much anywhere on a train
and where they dont go give people bus transfers
and if you dont like it... well, why did you move some where without close access to public transportation?? without your own??

get a bike? walk? i dunno. i have seen many buses with like 5 people and think of the driver, the gas being burnt and maintenance for the bus i dont think its economical. they need to do studies and there is no reason a bus should be going anywhere near a place that is within like 7-8 blocks of a train station.
seriously take the train!
May 15, 2009, 12:08 am

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