Protestors in southern Brooklyn gathered on Thursday to rail against the MTA’s newly proposed bus network redesign, which they say will decimate the public transit in the area that already suffers from limited options.
The public display took place at the corner of Seabreeze Avenue and W. Fifth Street in Coney Island, the site of a currently-operating bus stop that could be eliminated if the MTA’s proposal moves forward.
A draft of the new plans were announced in December of last year, with the MTA saying that it would “reimagine the current Brooklyn bus network” by modernizing the transportation needs of Brooklynites — including by eliminating some stops, so that buses would move throughout their routes faster.
However, almost immediately after the drafted plans were announced, many residents, especially in the southern part of the borough, were incensed with the plans, saying that they would eliminate crucial bus stops they currently rely on.
The MTA’s draft indicates that both express and local lines will be affected, with B36, B74, B16, B37, B63, and B64 lines being changed. The MTA said these changes would help simplify routes, increase bus frequency and improve service to key destinations.
However, protestors at the March 2 event said that these changes would actually disproportionately and negatively impact seniors who heavily rely on buses for transportation if certain stops are removed or routes are changed.
“You have so many people living here who are seniors,” said Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny of District 46, during the event on Thursday. “You have people with disabilities, you have people who just cannot tolerate the elimination of one stop.”
Protestors also referenced a petition created by Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge, which encourages MTA officials to re-evaluate the currently drafted plans in favor of consistent service in south Brooklyn.
“In southern Brooklyn, we know the easiest way to get left behind is to say and do nothing,” Brannan said in a statement in January. “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.”
The petition is formatted to send New York City Transit President Richard Davey an emailed message detailing how the community would be negatively impacted by the proposed plans.
“NYC bus riders are working families, seniors, and students and often include our most vulnerable neighbors, including people with disabilities and low-income New Yorkers,” the petition reads. “Out here in the so-called ‘outer-boroughs’ there are very few transit options as it is. 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.”
In response to the significant public outcry, the MTA has been, and will continue to, host community workshops for Brooklynites to share thoughts and opinions on the proposed plans.
Future workshops are planned for March 7 and 9, with attendees encouraged to register for the event and share written feedback.
For more information on the MTA drafted plans, view them online here.