The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which was all set to introduce Select Bus Service (SBS) to the B82 line in Brooklyn this summer, pulled back and is still tinkering with the plan after the agency’s original proposal was met with skepticism and concern from local elected officials and neighborhood residents.
“Community outrage expressed by this office at meetings and rallies, in petitions, letter writing and comments on their own website, have led to getting our voices heard,” Assemblymember William Colton said in a statement.
SBS buses are used to connect neighborhoods to subway stations and major destinations, according to MTA’s website. SBS features an off-bus fare payment system; the installation of dedicated bus lanes; traffic signal coordination; and longer distances between bus stops.
The S79, which runs between Bay Ridge and Staten Island, was one of the first lines to get SBS.
Colton, a Democrat who represents portions of Bensonhurst and Gravesend, was among the lawmakers raising objections to the original SBS plan or the B82, charging that it would hurt senior citizens with limited mobility, small business owners and the disabled because the proposal called for bus stops to be spread further apart instead of the current configuration which has bus stop approximately two to three blocks apart.
The MTA’s original SBS plan would also have resulted in the loss of too many parking spaces along the Kings Highway portion of the B82 bus route, opponents said.
The MTA and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced possible alternatives to the original proposal, including plans to reduce the bus-only lanes along parts of the B82’s route, installing “No Left Turn” rules at busy intersections, creating loading zones and introducing metered parking around Kings Highway.
The B82 route runs through several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Coney Island, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Midwood, Flatbush, Marine Park, Flatlands, Canarsie and Spring Creek Gardens.
While Colton said he was pleased to see the MTA back off its original proposal, he urged the agency to consider the input of neighborhood residents before finalizing its plan.
“This decision to adjust their plan proves the power of the people to have a voice in the projects affecting their community and the commitment of the MTA to the needs of neighborhoods they serve. Together, we must demand that the MTA return to the communities affected by this change to give them input into the revised plans, so the quality of the lives of both residents and commuters can be improved,” Colton contended.
Colton was one of several Southwest Brooklyn elected officials to express concern with the MTA’s proposed changes on the B82 line. Kings County Politics reported that Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch, Mark Treyger and Kalman Yeger, State Senators Simcha Felder and Marty Golden, and Assemblymembers Helene Weinstein, Dov Hikind and Steven Cymbrowitz all attended a meeting with MTA and DOT officials in the spring where the entire plan was called into question.
An MTA spokesperson told this newspaper on Monday in an email that the transportation agency has always taken the community’s concerns into consideration when formulating the SBS plan for the B82 and would continue to do so.
A new B82 plan is forthcoming, the spokesperson said.