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Unkindest cuts! Boro subways and buses are slashed by the MTA

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Cuts approved last week by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will especially sting Brooklyn — where service will be slower, less frequent, and more crowded.

In total, the agency said that the cuts will save $93 million. MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency determines net savings by tallying costs associated with operating a particular line, such as salary, gas, and maintenance.

Lowlights of the agency’s most austere plan in 30 years include:

• The M train, which previously shuttled riders from Essex Street in Manhattan and Bay Parkway during the rush hour, will be eliminated entirely.

• Express bus lines in Williamsburg, Downtown and Bay Ridge will have their weekend service slashed, or be eliminated entirely.

• A bus line in Bay Ridge will be reorganized.

• Bus lines through Downtown, Red Hook, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Windsor Terrace will be reorganized, forcing straphangers to add an extra transfer to complete some trips — or hoof it.

• A bus line that connects Kensington to Borough Park will be eliminated entirely.

• A bus line connecting Homecrest and Marine Park to the Kings Plaza shopping mall will no longer operate on weekends.

Taken together, there’s a lot of pain to go around. Here’s how it shakes down in your neighborhood:

Downtown

The B51, which travels over the Manhattan Bridge from Downtown Brooklyn will go the way of other mass transit dodos come June 27, when the cuts take effect.

Eliminating the B51 is expected to save the agency $800,000, and the line’s 900 weekday customers would be required to take the 4, 5, 6, or R train to complete their journey.

The decision to cut the line will affect riders like senior citizen Victoria Venlow, who said she takes the B51 simply because she must, as subway stations present too great of a challenge.

“I can’t take the steps,” the 72-year-old Brooklyn Heights resident said. “The bus is a savior to me.”

Marvin Wasserman, the executive director of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, will no longer see travellers — many of whom he recognizes — waiting for the B51, whose stop is outside his Downtown office.

“Many of our people are unable to use subway service and the only way they have of getting into Manhattan is by public transporta­tion,” he said.

Red Hook

Bus lines rumbling through Red Hook, and throughout brownstone Brooklyn in general, will see a good deal of restructuring — and in one case, outright elimination, saving the agency a total of $3 million.

The segment of the B75 between Downtown Brooklyn and the Smith-Ninth Street F-train station will be replaced with an extension of the B57, a line that connects Queens to Downtown.

And the portion of the B75 that travels from Smith–Ninth to 20th Street and Prospect Park West will be replaced with the B61/B77, a newly combined route that connects Downtown to Red Hook.

The 550 weekday riders of the B75 who travel past the Smith-Ninth street station will be required to transfer to complete their journey, or take the F or G trains.

Jo Anne Simon, a disability rights attorney and political activist, said the agency’s thinking doesn’t take into account those who can’t take the subway — particularly not a station like Smith-Ninth, the tallest in the system, and absent of elevators. “Subways aren’t accessible for lots of people,” she said.

Red Hook resident Andrea McKnight said the elimination the B75 “makes no sense,” and predicted “chaos” on the B77 which is already filled to capacity with workers going to IKEA or other jobs in the neighborhood, during rush hour, and will likely see more commuters come the summer. Even before the changes are implemented, she’s at her wit’s end.

“What happens if people stop using the buses and just strike?” she wondered.

Cobble Hill

Meanwhile, the B71, a line that travels from Cobble Hill to the borough’s cultural hub along Eastern Parkway, would be eliminated entirely, and 1,080 weekday and 1,210 weekend customers would be required to walk to other nearby bus routes, the plan states.

Park Slope

The B69, which shuttles riders from Windsor Terrace to Downtown, will be rerouted south of Flatbush from Eighth Avenue/Prospect Park West to Seventh Avenue following the path of the B67, to Cortelyou Road.

The frequency of the B67, which connects Kensington to Downtown using McDonald Avenue, and the B69 would be reduced, so that with both routes on Seventh, customers traveling to the Q/B subway station would see the same number of buses they see today.

Weekday hours on the B69 would be reduced and weekend service on the line discontinued, forcing riders to trek an intersecting route to Downtown Brooklyn, and then transfer to a different route.

Prospect Heights

Prospect Heights and Crown Heights will see the discontinuation of the duplicative segment of the B48 south of Fulton Street, a measure slated to save $900,000. The move will affect 2,550 weekday customers, who will now have to take the B49 or the Franklin Avenue shuttle train, increasing their trip times by five minutes.

Service on the remaining portion of the B48 would be unaffected. The line connects Greenpoint to Prospect Park, rumbling along Franklin or Classon avenues to do so.

Williamsburg

The B39, an express bus to Manhattan that traverses the Williamsburg Bridge, will be eliminated, despite protestations from commuters and an online petition that called the line a “lifeline” for the elderly and seniors. Discontinuing the line will save the agency $1.1 million and force riders to use the J, Z, or M subway line.

Also in Williamsburg, B13 service north of Wyckoff/Dekalb avenues will be discontinued — but the cut is not as drastic as was once feared. The agency initially planned to eliminate service between Williamsburg and the Myrtle-Wyckoff train station, but relented after public ire, and agreed to restore a small portion of the route that serves Wyckoff Hospital.

The bus is the only handicapped accessible link to the medical center. Despite serving the hospital, the northern portion of the route was targeted by the agency because it was categorized underutilized and duplicative. The proposed bus cut will save $1 million and divert 900 weekday riders each day to the L train, increasing the travel times by five minutes, the agency said.

The agency will also discontinue weekend service on the B24, affecting Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Sunnyside. Roughly 3,150 customers will be required to walk to the B43, B48, or Q39/Q59, increasing a typical trip by a massive 18 minutes, and saving the cash-strapped agency $500,000.

Bay Ridge

Longtime resident Jean Ryan will miss her X27 express bus. To save $900,000, the agency will eliminate weekend service to Manhattan on the X27 and the X28 from Bensonhurst. Instead of hopping a bus, the agency recommends that riders instead take the R or D trains.

But Ryan, who suffers from neuropathy and is wheelchair bound, can’t.

“They say take the subway in Bay Ridge, but there is no wheelchair accessible subway. They say they are going to put elevators in at 86th Street by 2020. I’ll be 75 then, and I don’t think I’ll start using the subway again, if I’m still alive.”

The B37 bus will now be discontinued and replaced with the B70 — which will not travel to Lutheran Medical Center on Second Avenue and 55th Street in Sunset Park, where longtime Bay Ridge resident Jane Kelly volunteers.

Nor will it rumble Downtown, where she likes to shop.

At 88 years old, Kelly said she can no longer manage subway stairs.

“I went to the [MTA] hearing on the cuts, but the people who were there were not really listening.”

The change is expected to save $2.8 million and service is expected to be maintained on key corridors like Eight Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway south of Bay Ridge Avenue.

“These are painful measures, and we understand that,” Ortiz said.

Sunset Park resident Ed Wade, a former manager with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, wasn’t impressed. He said the restructured route will leave locals in a lurch.

“This is worse than the transit strike, because this will go on forever,” Wade added. “When the workers go on strike, they are criminals, when the board shuts down service, they are considered good managers.”

Bensonhurst

Come June, the 10,000 weekday riders of the M line will be forced to take an extra transfer to the R, 2, 3, 4, 5 trains serving nearby stations, or face a longer walk, as rush hour service to certain parts of the borough will be eliminated.

The 16,000 riders who took the M between the D train and Fourth Avenue station and Downtown Brooklyn stations will face an extra transfer, and the 22,000 riders will soon be forced to wait longer for local trips along the D train/Fourth Avenue line. The M would continue to run from western Queens to Williamsburg.

Changes to the M will mean a savings of $4 million annually, according to the agency.

But straphangers are hardly cheering the penny pinching.

Djeneba Sako said she uses the M train every weekday and expects to be late going to work and picking her children up for school.

“Now if I miss the D train, I can take the M,” she said.

But that option will be gone beginning this summer.

“It’s not a good idea,” she said. Fewer trains will mean more time added to her daily commute — but the cost of gasoline will force her to endure mass transit, she said.

Bensonhurst resident Raisa Rapoport said she normally uses the R train, which shares a track with the M. Waiting times have increased the past few weeks, Rapoport said, and she expects the trains to become much more crowded after the cuts.

But Rapoport said she has few options but to remain loyal to the R train. “We aren’t going to have a lot of choice,” she said.

The rush hour M was eliminated because it was “predominan­tly empty” while travelling in Brooklyn, Ortiz said. “It was not a vastly utilized service, he said, adding that the D, N and R all service the same stretch of that corridor.

Updated 6:15 pm, March 31, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Richie rich from parkslope says:
MTA= More Trouble Ahead
March 30, 2010, 7:36 am
so much for a greener city from bay ridge says:
Time to get a car.
March 30, 2010, 8:51 am
gron from brooklyn says:
The MTA should be run out of town
March 30, 2010, 9:59 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
It's about time that these unwanted & over-priced Capital Projects be clawed back. One in particular is BP Marty's Markowitz's Amphitheater in Seaside/Asser Levy Park. This $ 64 million boondoggle of an venue should not be built, especially now, in these City's dire economic crisis.
Besides No One in the neighborhood wants this vanity project for many reasons.( We already have over 12,000 signatures agaisnt this project.)
But BP Marty wants his Dream, which is our Nightmare, even at the expense of Brooklynites getting MTA cuts & I even read today in the NY Daily News of MTA cuts for security around bridges & tunnels.
This $ 64 million could be used for many more important projects & services other than Marty's Dream. But Marty bascially says F#$K you , I'm King & I'll do what I want.
Hey Marty, stop talking from both sides of your mouth.Claw back this vanity project & save your self respect with Brooklynites.
March 30, 2010, 10:08 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
Hey Marty, stop opposing the two-way bike lane on Prospect Park West.

With the B69 shifted to 7th Avenue and no longer running on weekends, parents and kids in your new neighborhood won't have it to get to the library/museum/botanic garden/farmer's market.

At least give them a northbound bicycle option that doesn't involve dangerous 8th Avenue or riding all around the park. Yes you can ride in the park, but only southbound. With the B69 gone, the bus stops could be converted back to parking spaces, eliminating the loss of parking you oppose.

Back in the day, there was a two-way separated right of way for trolleys on that street. They replaced the trolleys with a bus that ran on two different avenues, and now they are taking away the bus. A two way bike path would just put the space allocated for motor vehicles and everyone else back to what it was.
March 30, 2010, 12:41 pm
BevD from RedHook/Carroll Gdns says:
Last Spring- we collected over 800 signatures. Store vendors, seniors,parents fro school- where children are using bus lines-now that they no longer go to school in their own community. We are dealing with the childen, young and seniors. Everyone of these groups- need the B75 B71. Needs are for commuting to school-where we cannot send our young on trains. We need it for workers, seniors- for their doctors, recreation and their shopping needs. They are left with no supermarket- to shop-so they need to travel w bus to and from.
For their doctors who are mostly near and past Atlantic Avenue - hospital for their checkups and doctors. Recreation - Senior clubs and shopping downtown. Majority of Seniors are not applicable for Acess-A-Ride, so they need to rely on buses- they cannot do the subway stairs. I have attended meetings at Boro Hall-where 30 of us were put in groups of10 in a room- were asked the most important reasons too keep our B75- we all concluded with the same reasons-
MTA Reps- mentioned us- that MTA- would also consider- extending the B75 lines from Atlantic Ave- Smith to the
Heights- close to York street- where we have hospital- library- amusement parks for families and children-historic areas- Also for everyone who needs their bus to go to work.

I personally sent-800 signatures -to Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Boro Pres.
Marty Markowitz, last yr-Councilman DeBlasio, Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Paterson, three MTA- officers.
Between the meetings of 2009-signatures sent out- 2009-meetings @Brooklyn Museum- @ Boro Pres office -
2010- WHY IS TRANSIT DOING THIS TO OUR NEEDED BUS LINES-
YOU ARE DOING SUCH AN INJUSTICE TO ALL-AGES- SENIORS WHO WANT TO COME OUT TO ALL THE MEETINGS- DO NOT HAVE THE TRANSPORTATION-TO GET OUT TO YOUR EVENING MEETINGS- THEY ARE VERY DISHEARTENED BY THIS ACTION -THAT IS COMING- THIS END OF JUNE - I HEAR - WHY- BECAUSE STUDENTS NEED THEIR BUSES TO GET TO THEIR SCHOOLS- WHAT ABOUT US OTHERS- WHO NEED TO GET TO WORK- WHO WERE TIRED LAST YEAR -SUMMER WAITING FOR MORE THAN AN HOUR- FOR BUSES TO COME AFTER 6 PM-7 PM- TO GO HOME- WINTER DELAYS-
SHAPE UP- THESE NEW LINES ARE NOT GOING TO DO ANY BETTER - WITH THEIR UNFAMILIARITY OF EXTENDING AND TRANSFERS.
Seniors cannot stand due to Pain,inability to walk distances, on corners- waiting too long for buses to come -that are commuting from added connections- to their routes.

THEY WILL WALK-SENIORS-RATHER THAN TO TAKE ANOTHER LINE OF BUS TRANSPORTATION.

We plead -I plead to think this problem over- DO SOMETHING RIGHT- FOR ALL AGES OUT THERE- WHO NEED TO GET TO THEIR MOST NEEDED APPOINTMENTS.

THANK YOU,
BEVERLY D.
March 30, 2010, 8:37 pm
Kathie Lou from Prospect Heights says:
Is there some sort of discrimination case here? Why do the elderly, disabled and otherwise folks unable to take the subway discriminated against. Unless someone is in reasonable shape, the subways are really rough. Although I am lucky enough at age 56 to still hustle around town, if I fall or in any way have any impediment the bus is the only game in town -- esp. if someone is cash strapped.

Why, by the way, doesn't the MTA advertise its routes? This baffles me. Am I missing something here? Is the MTA non-profit, a quasi-governmental agency? What is it. If it would advertise or come up with some sort of ad campaign it might wake people up.

This is very Manhattan-centered and folks really don't have any idea what is going on at all. Brooklyn is HUGE and Queens is a maze. Staten Island doesn't seem to have been hurt by this. Why? What is happening in the Bronx? Brooklynites live somewhat like Manhattanites as we don't use cars. Who can afford taxis day after day? Who can trust car services? Why destroy the atmosphere in one vehicle when we could be on the buses.

WHY can't the bus stops have some sort of electronic gizmo to let riders know what is happening. If we knew the bus was coming or when it was coming perhaps ridership would increase.

The buses are the best kept secret when they run correctly.

Thank you
May 17, 2010, 7:20 pm
Marie from Brighton Beach says:
Thanks a lot, MTA, for eliminating my X29 bus and adding almost a half-hour to my commute. Who has things to do at night? I prefer spending my time commuting!! Thanks also for forcing my co-rider on the X29 who uses a wheelchair to now depend on Access-A-Ride which is, at best, shall we say unreliable - not to mention, now hard to obtain for a younger person. Also many thanks, MTA, for doing away with the B4 bus to Sheepshead Bay along Neptune Avenue. You have now made my weekend trips longer as well. Who has things to do on weekends? I prefer to spend my time looking for other means of transportation!! All I can say is, thank the Lord I can walk to where I need to go. I really feel extremely sorry for those who cannot. The MTA cares nothing about its customers. It is really despicable.
July 12, 2010, 11:11 am
Ellen from Kensington says:
I lost the B23 which took me from the corner of my office to the corner of my house. I have degenrative arthritis in my knees and took this job 7 years ago strictly for the convenience since I could no long travel by train to the city. Now, to get to and back from work I have to walk several blocks and take 2 buses. WHO CARES ABOUT ME???? I have been working all my life, paying taxes all my life, never took ANY government assistance and this is how I am awarded???? THANKS FOR NOTHING??? Maybe I will stay home and apply for welfare/section8/food stamps????
July 16, 2010, 8:26 am
Michael from Prospect Heights says:
They should at least removed the bus shelters so people don't get confused, and why can't that space be used for parking if there is no bus there. It's just so poorly administrated with so little concern for the people who live along the routes.
Aug. 3, 2010, 2:26 pm
X29 RIDER from CONEY ISLAND says:
It is now 4 years since the NYC MTA eliminated the X29 BUS. Thank you NYC MTA for ruining what little quality of life we had left here. Even after Hurricane Sandy, you refuse to improve our service. At the same time you keep adding more and more empty busses to the X27 and X28 lines.
Thank you NYC MTA for treating the residents of Coney Island as the Red Headed Step Children of New York City.
June 19, 2014, 1:36 pm

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