Woes of subway schedules top neighborhood survey issues
The sad shape of transit services in Southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach made it to the top of the list of concerns of local residents who responded to a City Council member’s survey focusing on issues the public wants lawmakers to address.
Councilmember Justin Brannan said the survey, which was conducted in 2017 by his predecessor Vincent Gentile, asked residents of the 43rd Council what the top priorities of the City Council should be.
Brannan, a Democrat who was elected in November and took office on Jan. 1, announced the results of the survey on Tuesday.
Public transit woes were the top concern, according to Brannan, who said that nearly 50 percent of the respondents indicated that the subway was their primary source of transportation.
The council district is served by the D, N and R subway lines. The R train in particular, is often the target of complaints from riders lamenting slow and unreliable service.
Surprisingly, the survey found that more residents take car services than ride buses.
Brannan could identify with riders’ complaints about the R train, according to a spokesperson, who said the lawmaker often takes the R train to travel from Bay Ridge to City Hall and sees first hand the problems plaguing the subway system.
Brannan spent much of his time during the election campaign criticizing MTA for rotten service on the R subway line.
“We live about seven miles from Manhattan and yet people who live in different states get to work faster than we do,” Brannan said after one memorable night when he and other passengers were forced to wait more than 40 minutes for a Bay Ridge-bound R train at the 59th Street station.
Residents of the council district have a strong desire to improve the public schools, according to the survey. Education came in second on the list of priorities. Coming in a close third were quality of life issues like parks, traffic and public safety
Residents who responded to the survey also pointed to homelessness, the need to protect new immigrants, the opioid epidemic and income inequality as being among their top concerns.
More than 500 residents answered the open-ended survey. Respondents were not limited to a set choice of topics but were free to write in their own concerns.
The idea behind the survey was to bring every day citizens into the governing process, Brannan said. “There’s a feeling sometimes that government does not listen to the people. I want to make sure that is not the case here in our neighborhoods. We need to bring more people to the table and I believe that means we need a bigger table in this diverse district,” he said in a statement.
Brannan had a message for his constituents. “Not only do I want people to know their voices are heard, I really value what they have to say. Elected officials think they know what people want but sometimes there is a disconnect. I want to cut through the noise and take what people are really concerned about to City Hall to get things done that matter to people in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach,” he stated.
A spokesperson for Brannan said the council member plans to conduct the survey every year.
To read the full report, visit https://council.nyc.gov/justin-brannan/resident-survey/.
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