BENSONHURST— Riders who wait for the B1 bus on 86th Street have to stand far out into the street due to the presence of stanchions of the elevated D train which render it impossible for bus drivers to pull up to the curb at most bus stops.
But thanks to an influx of federal dollars, that is about to change.
U.S. Rep. Max Rose came to Bensonhurst on Nov. 24 to announce that he and fellow members of the House Brooklyn delegation have secured $9 million in funds to improve bus safety and accessibility in the southern end of the borough.
The safety improvements will include construction of bus bulbs and bus pads along 86th Street, Rose said.
Bus bulbs are curb extensions constructed to make boarding buses easier for passengers. Bus pads are concrete slabs built into the roadway to help cut down on wear and tears of buses.
“Four months ago, we organized and called on the federal government to listen to the needs of local residents, and disburse grant funding to help us upgrade the South Brooklyn bus network because the sad fact is that for too long we’ve been ripped off, forgotten and ignored. I’m proud to announce that after our calls for action, the federal government stepped up and is providing $9 million to improve our bus system, increase accessibility, and ensure the safety of riders,” Rose said at a press conference at 86th Street and 18th Avenue.
The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to support a New York City Department of Transportation project to build 15 bus bulbs and 15 bus pads at priority bus stops on 86th Street and Bay Parkway.
The project also includes a trench restoration on 20th Avenue from 86th Street to Benson Avenue, and safety improvements at the intersection of Benson Avenue and 20th Avenue.
“The elevated trains of Southern Brooklyn are critical connectors, but especially at interchanges where riders move from MTA buses to the subway, we have long faced design challenges,” New York City DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
The bus bulbs and bus pads “will create a safer and improved experience for bus and subway riders,” Trottenberg added.
Two B1 bus stops, at Bay Parkway and 20th Avenue, have concrete islands in the street where passengers can wait for the bus to arrive.
Marnee Elias Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11, said the bus bulbs and bus pads are badly needed.
“The 86th Street corridor under the elevated structure provides unique challenges for riders using public transportation. Most of the bus stops are located at street level within the stanchions between the parking and driving lanes, leaving riders vulnerable to traffic,” she told the Home Reporter, adding that the board is looking forward to the “transportation and infrastructure improvements.”
Earlier this year, Rose led an effort with fellow Brooklyn U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velázquez and Hakeem Jeffries to call on the federal government to support a project to improve bus safety and accessibility in South Brooklyn.
Rose also held a transportation town hall at Il Centro, the Italian-American community center at 8711 18th Ave., last month.