Editorial: A good beginning

July 18, 2013 Editorial Staff
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It’s great news that the MTA is poised to restore the B37 bus line.

Ever since the bus was yanked from Third Avenue, just over two years ago, because of budget constraints, riders and advocates – including just about every elected official serving the area – have lobbied for its return, and it seems that the MTA, sitting on an additional $40 million in its budget, is about to comply.

Board members will vote officially on the return of the bus – which connected Bay Ridge with Downtown Brooklyn – on July 24. In the meantime, the celebration has already begun.

The announcement comes none too soon, given the impending closure of the Montague Tube running under the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan. That shutdown, which will last a whopping 14 months, means that there will be no direct R train service to Manhattan, with riders forced to transfer to a Manhattan-bound train in downtown Brooklyn.

Given that situation, we hope that the MTA will take what many riders fear will be transportation chaos into account and bring the bus back immediately to increase straphangers’ options.

We also urge the city to listen to commuters and do what it has done in other parts of the city – provide ferry service between southwest Brooklyn and Manhattan. There has been a continuing clamor for the return of ferry service, which has been brought back sporadically since it was terminated in the mid-1990s when the 69th Street Pier was shut down because of its dilapidated condition.

Starting up ferry service operating out of the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, where there is plenty of parking, will make local commuters’ lives much easier as they learn to live without direct subway service to Manhattan, and it will add to the city’s transportation options as it continues to explore ways to reduce congestion on roadways and make less of an impact on the environment – both crucial goals in the 21st century.

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