South Brooklyn residents, riders and representatives of elected officials joined members of the Restore the B37 Coalition to take not only a stand but also the mic at a Monday, January 27 Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Transit and Bus Committee meeting.
“[Ending the route 10 blocks early] is like dropping the ball at the 10-yard line,” said Bay Ridge resident Justin Brannan on behalf of Councilmember Vincent Gentile, stressing that, while residents are thankful to see the B37 come back to life in June, the 10 blocks left out by the current plan are crucial. “A full restoration is absolutely critical – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Residents and representatives echoed the testimony, calling on the board not only to run the extra 10 blocks from Atlantic Avenue to Court and Livingston Streets but also to reconsider the decision to limit service to between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
“It’s important to understand that we don’t have adequate and accessible train service [in Bay Ridge],” said resident and advocate Kevin Peter Carroll on behalf of Councilmember Steve Levin. Carroll argued against the MTA’s most recent response – extending B103 service in hopes that riders will settle with transferring at Atlantic Avenue to get to Court Street. “[Transferring] is a burden of time on a commute that should be short and simple.”
“Asking my grandmother or a disabled person to get off the bus and wait for another bus or transfer to a subway underground in order to travel just another 10 blocks doesn’t really make sense,” said Brannan.
Elaine Kateb, 70, agreed. “Right now, I’m in excellent physical condition and I’m able to make it up to Fourth Avenue to take the subway but I know of a lot of people in my area who cannot do it,” said the Shore Road resident, calling the B37 bus a lifeline.
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz were also represented at the meeting, and State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis submitted written testimony, calling the line’s revival a victory, while standing up for what’s missing from the game plan.
“This decision was welcomed by so many in the community, including our students, senior citizens, health care professionals and those who will again be able to utilize this bus to get to and from work,” they wrote. “However, the proposal to cease service at Atlantic Avenue is an ill-advised plan that will fail to meet the needs of Brooklyn’s commuters. In the past, the B37 would travel 10 blocks further to Court Street at Livingston Street, connecting riders with destinations like the court system, medical appointments, and Borough Hall and its surrounding neighborhood.”
The team, like many others in attendance at the meeting, implored the board to reconsider its decision to cut service at the Barclays Center, as well as to increase service for former riders who have now gone over three years without.