Wed, Mar 13, 2013
By Aisha Asif
On a rainy Thursday evening last week, around 50 people welcomed a proposed new bus line in the East New York neighborhood of Spring Creek at a public hearing held in the auditorium of the Spring Creek Educational Campus although, not everyone who spoke was convinced that the new line would solve all the neighborhood’s transportation needs.
The proposed new bus called the B84 would run from a southern terminal at the Brooklyn Developmental Center across the street from the Gateway Center Mall to the No. 3 subway station on New Lotts Avenue. The new bus would operate every 30 minutes between 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
“I spoke to some of the families in the Spring Creek area — the homeowner association here— and they were just as delighted to have this bus from the No. 3 train come out here which would serve the school and the rest of the community,” said Walter Campbell District Manager of Community Board 5, which includes Spring Creek.
Residents of the area who have long complained about the lack of public transportation in Spring Creek for years were happy to find the MTA was finally paying their neighborhood much needed attention.
A 12th grader at the Academy of Young Writers, which is housed in the Spring Creek Educational Campus, said about a quarter of the 400 students had to walk anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes a day to get to the school because no bus stopped there. With the B84 that would end.
“As a teenager, we already have our own issues so you know for us to have transportation out of the way that would help us,” said Mariah Adamson, another student. “The convenience of this B84 would mean a lot for students.”
But while many agreed with the concept that more transportation options were needed in the area, a dozen or so other residents who testified at the hearing disagreed on how helpful the proposed B84 would actually be.
Homeowner Fred Ennis said without proper scheduling having a new bus in the neighborhood would be pointless. He said he finds sometimes on his way home from work he finds three buses taking off simultaneously leaving riders waiting for long intervals to catch the next bus.
“So I find myself scratching my head — is this scheduling? Is it retribution?” he asked. “I think if you’re going to consider adding a new bus line, the bottom line is you need proper supervision because the way I see it going around here, it leaves a lot to be desired.”
Thirty minute delays between buses make it seem more like a shuttle service, said Delmira Henry, a public transit advocate who worried that service ending at 9 p.m. would not help those who need the bus most.
“What happened to the people that work later?” asked Henry, who also proposed that additional stops should be added to current bus routes in the area.
Norma James, who works with the Department of Education in the morning and has a second job in retail in Manhattan, she gets off from at 8:30 in the evening. She said B84 service should at least run till 11 p.m.
“It’s really scary coming in here at night,” James said of the area, which is newly developed and thus relatively empty compared to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. “I’m a woman and I’m the only one walking down the street. Of course I’m going to be scared.”
Dekka Michael, who owns a nearby condominium, said because of the lack of a bus, students going to the nearby school noisily walk through the condo parking lot leaving garbage in their wake. A 30 minute wait between buses will be useless she said kids who miss the bus will continue to trek through the lot anyway.
In response to the concerns, Andrew Inglesby, assistant director of Government and Community Relations at the MTA, said all new buses start out operating between 30-minute intervals and are deployed more frequently as ridership increases.
Resident on the other hand, say the scheduling of the B84 is so off that it might not garner enough ridership causing it be terminated bringing them back to square one.
“You don’t need the B84 bus; just bring the B6 down here,” said William Stanford Jr., another resident who testified as Mr. X., adding that the B6 runs longer hours than the B84 is scheduled to operate. “This public hearing was a complete waste.”
Spring Creek is a relatively new area of Brooklyn which has been under development since the late 90s.In 2002, the Gateway Center Mall opened and it wasn’t until a few years later that the MTA brought the B13, B83, and Q8 buses into the area to bring people to the shopping center. Still, many residents have to walk long distances to get to a bus stop.
“In our district we have to beg for transportation…and that’s not fair to us,” said community board member John Whitehead who is running for city council for District 42.
The MTA will make a final decision on whether or not the proposed B84 bus will be approved in a board meeting in late April.