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Coney Island residents push MTA to reconsider bus redesign proposal

Proposed bus route changes raise concerns in Brooklyn
Proposed bus route changes raise concerns in Brooklyn 02:03

NEW YORK - Residents in Coney Island and Gravesend are worried about proposed bus route changes in their neighbors, saying parts of the MTA's plan just don't make sense.

On any given day, the B36 bus stops in the middle of West 33rd Street, between Bayview and Neptune avenues in Coney Island. Several people, including seniors and NYCHA residents, step off. 

This bus stop, which also services the B74, is among many the MTA proposed to cut in its first draft of the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign.

"It angers me because the people making these decisions don't even come to these neighborhoods, don't even live anywhere around here, and never have to use the public transportation," says longtime resident Ann Michelle Valdez, who lives in the Gravesend Houses across the street. She says the stop is used daily.

"People over here in the West End depend on these buses," she adds.

MTA says the goal is to improve service in the borough and address outdated bus routes, which often follow old trolley lines. But when Valdez and others took a closer look at the proposed improvements, they saw that some of the cuts are made near places like libraries, day cares and community centers. 

"They look on a map and think, OK, that'll be good. We cut this off, cut that off, and they're not thinking about the people," she tells CBS New York's Hannah Kliger.

For example, a bus stop on Surf Avenue, near West 28th Street, is on the cutting board. Activists say that decision makes no sense because it's right in front of a large nursing and rehabilitation center, and locals rely on the stop to get there.

The plan also proposed to cut Coney Island out of the routes of the X28 and X38 bus, the only express route into Manhattan. 

"While it may be less than ten miles into Manhattan, sometimes it could take two hours. So the express bus service is is a lifeline," says Councilman Justin Brannan, who represents the community.

He and others have pushed MTA to take these concerns into account, and the community even started a petition.

"Any time you hear the MTA talking about rightsizing or making adjustments, those are code words for cuts, right, for less options," he says.

MTA spokesperson Lucas Bejarano responded with the following statement: "The Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign process will improve bus service in the city's most populous borough. To get there, we are taking a fresh look at the bus network, guided by our customers' core priorities: more frequent and reliable service, faster travel, better connections, and an easier ride. As we continue to develop the Proposed Final Plan, feedback from Brooklyn bus customers will be critical in crafting a bus network that delivers on those priorities."

The agency says it will publish the next draft of the plan later this year. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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