Bay Ridge

Got an idea? Gentile looking to make your commute better

March 1, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The B1 bus travels along 86th Street in Bensonhurst. Councilmember Vincent Gentile is soliciting suggestions from his constituents on how to improve transportation services in Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Councilmember conducting survey of transit riders

Councilmember Vincent Gentile wants your best ideas on how to make transit services better in Southwest Brooklyn. The lawmaker, who is in the twilight of his long career in the City Council, decided to make one of his last bold initiatives a transportation survey.

Gentile is reaching out to his constituents for suggestions on how to improve the commute to and from work and school.

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), a term-limited councilmember who has to leave office at the end of this year, apparently wants to go out in a blaze of glory, at least as far as transportation goes. Gentile was first elected to the City Council back in 2003.

Gentile is asking local residents to send him ideas on how transit services could be improved.

“I have always said I rely on my constituents to be an extra set of eyes and ears for me around the district. Now I am putting out the call for suggestions, solutions and ideas for ways to improve upon traffic and transportation issues in my district,” he said in a statement.

Gentile predicted that he’s sure to get a lively response from the people living in his council district, since they have to face transportation hardships every day and are probably eager to see positive changes.

A press release issued by Gentile’s office listed the various transit troubles that commuters face.

“Between fare hikes, the imminent closure of the Bay Ridge Avenue station for renovations, the lack of public transportation options in Dyker Heights and Bath Beach, the aging elevated D-line subway structure along New Utrecht Avenue, the elevator installation project at 86th Street and citywide ferry service rolling out this summer at the 69th Street Pier, Deputy Leader Councilman Vincent J. Gentile has announced a district-wide traffic and transportation survey,” the release read.

The imminent closure of the Bay Ridge Avenue subway station that Gentile referred to is part of a major renovation project announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November.

Cuomo announced that the Bay Ridge Avenue station is one of three subway stations in New York City set to undergo repairs under the Enhanced Station Initiative by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

“New, modern subway stations across the system are an essential part of our efforts to rebuild and reimagine the MTA for the 21st century,” Cuomo said in a statement. “These milestones demonstrate remarkable progress in the redesign and renovation process that will revamp these stations for current and future generations of New Yorkers.”

The MTA is preparing to fix three stations in the initiative: Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street and Bay Ridge Avenue on the R line.

As part of an effort to fast track the work, the stations will be closed for approximately six months. The closures will enable the contractor to get in, get the work done and get out, according to Cuomo’s office.

The Bay Ridge Avenue station is located in a major transportation hub in Bay Ridge. The location of the station, at Bay Ridge and Fourth avenues, offers riders the chance to transfer to three bus lines, the B9, B64 and B70.

As Gentile awaited feedback from local residents on how to improve transit services, he said constituents should feel free to be completely honest.

“Whatever you feel is working and whatever you feel is not working, what’s broken and what needs to be fixed — whatever it is, if it’s traffic and transportation-related, I want to hear it,” he said. “Over the years, whether it was for a piece of legislation or a new community event, some of the best ideas have come directly from my the minds of my constituents — especially when it comes to making our daily lives just a little bit better. And with so many changes coming down the line as it relates to public transportation throughout the district, I want to hear from you!”

Gentile is asking constituents to either call his office at 718-748-5200 or email [email protected] to offer their transportation-related ideas.

There is a caveat, however. Gentile also reminded constituents that the MTA, which runs the city’s buses and subways, is a state-run agency that the City Council has no jurisdiction over.

But Gentile, who said he sees himself as the public’s voice in government, added that he still wants to hear ideas from his constituents.

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