Representatives of the Department of Transportation (DOT) joined with Brooklyn residents to pinpoint unsuitable transit options at the first of the agency’s citywide public workshops, which took place on Tuesday, February 7 at Brooklyn College following efforts sponsored by almost 40 city councilmembers to strengthen the city’s public transportation network.
Plans to better public transit started with on-street outreach in the fall and, after analytical seminars this season, will continue with group discussions in the spring and summer months.
For Senior Director of Transit Development Eric Beaton, the goal of the winter forums is to find the needs of each community. Members from various DOT departments led groups where participants marked maps with places regularly traveled to as well as areas they could not access.
Surveys were conducted where group members rated six different aspects of transportation which included coverage, transfer availability and comfort, among others. Residents attending from Sunset Park and Coney Island voted speed, reliability, and timeliness as critical factors of their commute.
“The problem is that when you have to be somewhere a certain time, you have to account for the worst case scenario,” said former bus planner Allan Rosen, “and that’s when you end up showing up 30 to 40 minutes early.”
Highly frequented places in Brooklyn included Sunset Park and Coney Island. At one table, it was a unanimous decision that Red Hook was the hardest to travel from aside from Bergen Beach, with one commuter saying it was “easier to take an IKEA shuttle” to get to Red Hook than to use public transportation.
Attendees of the seminar included Councilmember Brad Lander, who commended the DOT for taking “a step back and inviting people to get together” in what he dubbed a “city that keeps growing.”
Proposals already include ideas for expansion of select bus service, railroads and bus improvements. Residents of New York who could not attend a workshop have the opportunity to fill out the survey online. The next workshop will take place on Monday, February 13 at I.S. 77 in Queens.
The workshops are part of NYC DOT’s Citywide Transit Plan.