By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The MTA is restoring about a third of the service cuts made in 2010, increasing bus frequency and creating some new transit routes — and Brooklyn is a major beneficiary.
A brand new ‘Brooklyn Tech Triangle’ bus route is on the drawing board, along with a new bus route along the Williamsburg waterfront.
The Tech Triangle route will connect Downtown Brooklyn to DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, while the new waterfront route will link Williamsburg to Greenpoint. Another route is planned to connect East New York to Spring Creek, according to state Sen. Daniel Squadron and Councilman Brad Lander, who released news of the routes ahead of the MTA’s official press conference Thursday afternoon.
“This will make a big difference for local schools in the neighborhood, and more businesses will prosper down here,” said Natacha, a teacher at the Fahari Academy in East Flatbush who is stationed with colleagues in DUMBO for the summer. “I go to the Navy Yard all the time. When the B61 was cut it was a real pain.”
“I live in Clinton Hill,” she added. “To get to DUMBO is next to impossible. Having a bus would help.”
The MTA has also agreed to make the G train 5-stop extension to Church Avenue permanent. The G extension has increased the number of trains running along the Culver line through Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, connecting these neighborhoods to Downtown Brooklyn and North Brooklyn.
“Thousands of people raised their voice in support of Brooklyn’s ‘Crosstown Local,’ and the MTA heard us,” Councilman Brad Lander said in a statement on Thursday.
A slew of Brooklyn representatives have been working alongside Squadron and Lander to restore the 2010 cuts and create routes to serve the growing communities of Williamsburg and Red Hook, including Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Councilwoman Sara González, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio and Borough President Marty Markowitz.
At least nine Brooklyn bus lines will be either restored or extended, including the B2, B4, B39 (over the Williamsburg Bridge), B48, B64 and X27/X17. The B57 line will be extended into Red Hook; and B24 and B69 weekend service will be restored.
“That means another bus serving Red Hook, which desperately needs a second bus, and much less crowding on the B61 line, which often skips stops because buses are too crowded,” Lander said.
Across the city, the MTA is adding and extending service on almost 40 bus, subway and commuter rail lines. The changes will be phased in over several months and will cost an additional $29 million per year to operate when fully implemented.
“They are paid for with increased revenue generated by additional ridership on the MTA system, as well as savings from the MTA’s continued rigorous efforts to contain costs,” the MTA said in a release late Thursday.
While exact details have yet to be worked out, the new routes would go into effect September, 2013, while many extensions or restorations start in January 2013.
“Unfortunately, these restorations do not restore service levels back to where they were a few years ago, since the MTA is restoring $18 million, compared to $50 million that was cut in 2010,” Lander said. “Without the old B71 (along Columbia Street on the Brooklyn waterfront into Park Slope ) and B77, many in our neighborhoods still lack the transit options we need.”
Squadron said that he would continue to advocate for additional restorations, including M8 weekend service, B51 service, and additional service to replace the B71.
Other changes: Metro-North Railroad will enhance service on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines. West of the Hudson, a new round-trip peak train will be added on the Pascack Line.
The Long Island Rail Road will provide increased service from Ronkonkoma, and extra trains will accommodate increased rider demand on the Long Beach, Port Jefferson and Montauk branches. Trains from Atlantic Terminal will also be extended until 2 a.m.