Sheepshead Bay City Councilman Chaim Deutsch today blasted a long awaited report on the impact of the B44 Select Bus Service that runs the length of Nostrand Avenue from Sheepshead Bay to Williamsburg for sticking it to Southern Brooklynites.
The DOT/MTA report, quietly released last week on the eve of the July 4th holiday weekend, found a 15-31% improvement in travel times for the B44 SBS compared with the B44 Limited route along Brooklyn’s Nostrand Avenue. However, it did not address several constituent concerns including the taking away of parking spaces, allowing for more stops and merchant complaints about the lane blocking service entries.
“The report released by the MTA last week indicates a positive trend in both ridership and travel time on the B44 SBS line,” said Deutsch. “However, in Southern Brooklyn, B44 Local riders are still getting the short end of the stick.”
Deutsch said there are increased delays for commuters waiting for the local bus, and local riders are left waiting lengthy periods of time while watching empty SBS buses pass by.
Deutsch was particularly upset about the B44 DBS not adding a stop at Avenue R – an issue for which he held a press conference over a year ago along with several local officials and seniors from the neighborhood.
“Avenue R is a key transfer point for B31 and B2 riders, yet MTA officials have said that Avenue R does not have the ridership to qualify for another SBS stop. If that is the case, it would not be a significant loss of time for SBS buses to pick up those who are waiting at that stop,” said Deutsch.
“SBS service on Nostrand Avenue has already taken away some of our vital parking spots and it is important that commuters in Sheepshead Bay receive reliable service in exchange for that loss, in order to encourage utilization of public transportation. Southern Brooklyn cannot continue to bear the burden of poor access to mass transit and long waits,” he added.
The B44 SBS, rolled out about three years ago, was Brooklyn’s first such bus route to deliver mass transit services to neighborhoods where there is little or no subway service. The MTA had said before they institute any other SBS, they would do an impact study on the B44.
Last week’s incomplete report coincided with Sunday’s MTA rollout of the the B46 SBS that runs from Kings Plaza down Utica Avenue and Malcolm X Blvd to DeKalb Avenue.
Senator Jesse Hamilton (Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) said he’s hopeful that the new B46 SBS will bring improvements to a vibrant part of Brooklyn, but this is the beginning not the end of the story.
“I will work to insure that SBS works to provide real benefits to the community. Many of the merchants on Nostrand Avenue have complained about SBS causing parking problems that hurt their businesses,” said Hamilton.
“The MTA promised to reassess that bus line, and I am hoping they live up to their promises. The changes on the B46 provide a promise of a better commute, and I will work to insure that we follow up with all the stakeholders to make sure the implementation is successful,” he added.
For more information visit http://www.mta.info/.