Seats for straphangers are coming to Mill Basin — but will vandals use them more?
The Department of Transportation has finalized locations across Mill Basin for its City Bench program, which will place several backless steel benches near stops along the heavily trafficked B41 and B6 bus routes next month.
“These routes are among the five routes with the highest ridership in each borough that the Department of Transportation is targeting to fulfill the program’s goal to … provide sufficient seating for all senior citizens, including those that rely on the bus system for transportation,” said department spokesman Nicholas Mosquera.
B41 riders will enjoy the majority of Mill Basin’s newest line of tax-funded furniture. Along Avenue N, riders should expect to see two benches installed between E. 54th and E. 55th streets, and three benches installed between Utica Avenue and E. 51st Street before the end of April. The Flatbush Avenue stop between Troy Avenue and Baughman Place will also receive two benches next month.
B6 straphangers, sadly, only get one bench. They’ll find it by the Avenue H stop between E. 56th and E. 57th streets next month.
Not everyone is entirely thrilled about the city’s new seats, however. Before settling on the aforementioned spots, the Department of Transportation approached Community Board 18 to see if locals had any suggestions for where they’d like to see these benches — a courtesy which the community board, by and large, declined, according to district manager Dorothy Turano.
“They community couldn’t come up with any favorite spots, but we told them near a senior center, or where it would benefit someone who actually needed a bench,” said Turano.
The reason Mill Basin’s most civic minded resident’s didn’t want to encourage the city to put their benches someplace nice, was because they’re expecting vandals — well known for their attraction to shiny objects — to mar the stainless steel seats.
Furthermore, community board members are skeptical that the city will maintain the furniture once its installed.
“They can be vandalized, but it’s more about maintenance,” Turano explained. “They always come up with these programs, and then the funds run out and they never use them again. There’s never a maintenance follow up, and these would definitely require maintenance.”
In lieu of providing a comment defending the city agency’s track record in regards to maintenance, a spokesman directed this paper to the City Bench program’s FAQ page.
“DOT will replace damaged benches,” was all the FAQ said on the subject.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn