We join our neighbors in celebrating the re-opening of the Montague Tube, the tunnel connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan, that allows the R train to carry commuters between the two boroughs.
Closed for the last 13 months, the tube – which was seriously damaged by floodwaters during Superstorm Sandy — reopened to general applause on Monday, September 15, amazingly not only ahead of schedule but actually under budget.
This is great news for residents of Brooklyn, and particularly the southwestern part of the borough, who have had to transfer in downtown Brooklyn to get across the river ever since the tube shut in August, 2013, prolonging their daily commute and making it generally less convenient to go to and from Manhattan.
Fast-forward a little more than a year to the return of the R train’s full route, and it definitely feels like this part of Brooklyn, transportation-wise, is on a roll.
Indeed, the R train restoration follows by just a few months the return of B37 service along Third Avenue from Bay Ridge to downtown Brooklyn, making it easier for residents who can’t walk subway stairs to access places from Lutheran Medical Center to Barclays Center.
That said, there is certainly more the city administration can do to improve transportation options for Brooklynites. High on our wish list is the restoration of the final 10 blocks of the B37 route, which officials at the MTA chose not to include when they brought the bus back.
Also high on our wish list is continued service on the ferry between 58th Street and Manhattan. The water route was brought back last year as an accommodation during the R train tunnel construction work, but its value to commuters in this part of Brooklyn cannot be understated, both as a quick connection between southwest Brooklyn and Manhattan and as an option for those who cannot or will not use the subway.
With New York’s population on the increase, the city has to be proactive to make sure that public transportation can accommodate everyone, making it easier for commuters to leave their cars at home, and easing the strain on already overburdened thoroughfares, as well as making it safer for the many pedestrians and bicyclists who share the streets.
Providing commuters in this neck of the woods with a host of options is a good first step.