City shifts three Coney bus routes to accommodate construction work

Danger zone: Coney Islanders claim the city endangered them by failing to implement adequate traffic and pedestrian safety measures at Surf Avenue and W. 22nd Street — an intersection that sits squarely in the middle of two construction projects.
Photo by Julianne McShane

Transportation officials temporarily re-routed three bus routes in Coney Island to accommodate an ongoing construction project at the intersection of Surf Avenue and W. 22nd Street, officials announced this week.

The Sheepshead Bay-bound B36 bus and the Manhattan-bound X28 and X38 buses will now turn from Surf Avenue onto W. 24th Street, rather than onto W. 22nd Street, until workers finish a drainage and electrical wiring project in the middle of W. 22nd Street in a few weeks, according to reps from the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Department of Transportation.

The B36 bus will then turn right onto Mermaid Avenue at W. 24th Street, and the X28 and X38 buses will turn right onto Neptune Avenue at W. 24th Street, according to MTA spokesman Shams Tarek.

The change came after Coney Islanders alleged that city officials endangered locals’ lives by directing the buses to temporarily turn onto W. 22nd Street while workers undertook both a nine-month-long Surf Avenue street-raising project — which has prevented the buses from taking their normal routes down the avenue since it started last September — and the shorter-term drainage and electrical wiring project in the middle of the street.

Locals charged that the combination of the projects made Surf Avenue and W. 22nd Street a dangerous intersection by dramatically narrowing the roadway, prompting a school bus to crash into a wooden barrier at the site of the drainage work last month and other drivers to speed over the sidewalk and around the corner with no regard for pedestrians.

The switched routes took effect on April 8, according to Community Board 13 district manager Eddie Mark, and will last for a few weeks until the drainage and electrical wiring project is complete, at which point the buses will resume their detoured routes down W. 22nd Street until the street-raising project finishes up and Surf Avenue fully re-opens on May 15, when the buses will resume their normal routes down Surf Avenue.

Transportation agency spokeswoman Alana Morales said officials were not making any other traffic changes to accommodate the construction work — even though a rep for the agency last month told this paper that officials would seek approval from the transit agency to add a pedestrian traffic manager to help locals safely cross the street at W. 22nd Street, take away four parking spots on W. 24th Street to allow the buses to turn from Surf Avenue onto the street, and move back a Mermaid Avenue stop line near W. 24th Street to allow the B36 bus to have enough room to turn onto the avenue.

MTA spokeswoman Amanda Kwan said the agency hung up signs alerting locals of the change at both W. 22nd Street and W. 24th Street.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
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