Southern Brooklynites blast MTA’s proposed bus redesign

An MTA bus.
An MTA bus.
Photo by Marc A. Hermann/MTA

Southern Brooklynites are blasting the MTA’s latest bus network redesign, saying it would make public transit worse in the area that already suffers from lackluster transportation options. 

The MTA released a draft plan for the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign in December 2022 that “reimagines the current Brooklyn bus network” to cater to modern transportation needs. 

Since its release, residents from the southern half of the borough have opposed the redesign, claiming the new plan cuts out essential stops and disproportionately affects families, children and seniors who rely on buses.

Councilmember Justin Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge, is spearheading the outcry against the redesign, and created a petition urging MTA to reevaluate the new design.

“We can’t sit silent while the MTA tries to steamroll our community,” the pol said in a statement. “I have fought the MTA and won before. If we work together and demand a better plan for our neighborhoods, we can win again.”

richard davey at brooklyn bus redesign presser
The MTA announced the redesign in December, and some southern Brooklyn residents say it will hurt — rather than help — in a nabe where public transportation is already lacking. Marc A. Hermann / MTA

A detailed look into the draft shows changes made to both the express and local lines — affecting the B36, B74, B16, B37, B63, and B64. The MTA said the redesign would simplify routes, improve service to and from key destinations, and increase bus frequency on a 24 of the most heavily-used bus lines. 

“In southern Brooklyn, we know the easiest way to get left behind is to say and do nothing. That’s why we speak up. I’m going to make sure the MTA knows this plan won’t fly with me, and I’m asking my neighbors to join me to make sure they hear our voices all the way up to Albany, and everywhere else,” Brannan said. 

The petition, which is addressed to New York City Transit President Richard Davey, says the need for reliable buses in the “outer-borough.”

“We join Councilmember Justin Brannan and community leaders in rejecting these drastic service cuts that would affect all southern Brooklyn commuters,” the appeal says. “You and all the MTA bigwigs must hear our voices and deliver a bus route redesign that makes public transportation for our neighborhoods better, not worse.”

Angela Kravtchenko, who lives on the border of Brighton Beach and Coney Island, is scared of what these changes could mean, specifically for the express lines along the peninsula, and the community’s overall economy. 

“To me it means reduction. I don’t see anything being added,” Kravtchenko told Brooklyn Paper. “I don’t see this as improvement. I see the reduction as defeat, even on an economical level.”

The proposal allegedly erases the X28, cutting off all express bus stops from Stillwell Avenue to West 37th. 

MTA bus in brooklyn
Residents say the proposed changes cause unnecessary difficulty for bus riders. Marc A. Hermann / MTA

According to Kravtchenko, the B68, which connects Brighton Beach to restaurants, grocery stores and other commercial outlets, would be rerouted towards Manhattan Beach’s residential area — causing the need for a bus transfer.

“It’s a busy street, why would you eliminate it,” she said, stating the community who lives on these blocks should be the ones drafting bus plans. “We want to have a discussion on how we can improve our commute.”

The MTA has already hosted a number public community workshops where locals were invited to share their opinions. Additional workshops are scheduled through early March, with the first southern Brooklyn workshop scheduled in Bay Ridge on Feb. 9.  Attendees are encouraged to register for the event or share their written feedback online.

Correction 1/25/23, 3:15pm: This article previously misspelled Angela Kravtchenko’s last name. We regret the error.