Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Gowanus transit advocates are calling on the MTA to use part of $40 million in surplus funds allocated by the state to restore the B37 bus route.
Although residents have been fighting for restoration since the route was discontinued, a new petition is circulating thanks to the efforts of Councilmembers Vincent Gentile and Sara Gonzalez; community groups such as UPROSE: and the Transit Workers Union Local 100 members along the Fourth Avenue corridor.
The B37– which ran along Third Avenue from Shore Road to Court Street – was discontinued due to budget cuts in June, 2010. Other bus lines that were also cut or truncated, such as the B64 and the X27, have since been restored thanks to grassroots efforts such as the Restore the B37 Bus Coalition.
“The MTA received $40 million more than it asked for from Albany this year. It only makes sense to use some of this money to restore services that were cut back in 2010 – starting with the B37,” Gentile contended. “The B37 was absolutely vital to the people of Bay Ridge and beyond. It was our neighborhood’s connection to Sunset Park, Park Slope, Lutheran Hospital and downtown Brooklyn. And now with the Barclay’s Center, it makes even more sense to all parties involved. The time is now. Let’s get it done!”
Gonzalez agreed. “The lack of this critical artery has deeply impacted businesses on Third Avenue and in the vicinity which relied on the service to bring their shoppers and their workers to their locations each day,” she said. “Not having the B37 thwarts our progress as we look forward to massive revitalization of the Sunset Park waterfront and are readying a new merchants association stretching from Sunset Park to Park Slope.”
Violeta Maya, 77, has been a community activist in Sunset Park since 1949 and is co-founder of the Restore the B37 Bus Coalition. She also uses a walker.
“I have always used mass transit to live my life and that is what MTA has taken away,” she said. “The MTA must restore this bus line for me and the people in our community that use it to get to work, health services, school and places of worship.”
Marvin Holland of Transit Forward, added, “The MTA’s surplus, due partly to increased revenue from dedicated transit taxes, reflects our improving economy. As our economy rebounds, it is even more critical that our communities have reliable, affordable transit services, so everyone can fully participate in the growth of our city. The MTA should prioritize service restorations in its plans to spend its surplus.”
To sign the petition or for more information, visit http://www.transitforward.org/restoreb37.