Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn leaders’ plea to MTA: Bring back B71 bus, vital to jobs and seniors

Petition launched for expanded route to Manhattan from Red Hook

October 16, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Officials and residents rallied in Carroll Gardens on Friday to bring back and expand the cross-Gowanus B71 bus route, with a new link through Red Hook into Lower Manhattan. The route was terminated in 2010. Photo courtesy of William Alatriste
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City officials, organizations and area residents rallied in Carroll Gardens on Friday to bring back the cross-Gowanus B71 bus route. Locals are pushing to expand the route with a new link through Red Hook into Lower Manhattan, a concept they’ve dubbed the “B71+.”

Brooklynites were hit hard in 2010 when the MTA eliminated the B71, which ran along Union Street, and was a lifeline for seniors, students, and families, says Councilmember Brad Lander.

“Despite economic recovery and significant population growth along the route, the line has never been restored, leaving thousands of riders stranded,” he said in a statement.

The Park Slope Civic Council’s Livable Streets Committee undertook a study of the route in 2015, and presented a proposal to restore the B71 along a modified route to better serve the needs of several contiguous neighborhoods, stretching to Brooklyn Bridge Park along the waterfront and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum at the eastern end.

On Friday, Lander, along with Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca and Stephen Levin, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, representatives from Borough President Eric Adams’ office, the Park Slope Civic Council and others, rented a bus and created their own B71+ line, which did a mini-run from Carroll Gardens to Red Hook.

Transit-starved Red Hook is not served by any subway stop, and only by two local Brooklyn bus routes. A direct connection between Red Hook and Manhattan would make 90,000 more jobs accessible for Red Hook commuters within a one-hour transit zone, Lander says.

The connection to Manhattan would also benefit residents and institutions in Columbia Waterfront, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. These include institutions like Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Public Library and at least six schools, including the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies.

Since the elimination of the B71, population around the route has grown by more than 10 percent — much more than the increase for NYC or Brooklyn overall — but no new transit capacity has been added. The potential rezoning of Gowanus would mean even more demand, officials point out.

“It’s no easy thing to restore a bus route, so we can only have a chance if we work together,” Lander said, urging supporters to sign a petition for the route’s restoration

The petition has received roughly 1,750 signatures since Tuesday.

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