If the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has its way, Brooklyn residents will take a direct hit with the loss of the B-23 bus.
The bus, which runs from 62nd Street and New Utrecht Avenue, via 16th Avenue and Cortelyou Road, to Flatbush Avenue, has been proposed for elimination by the authority, which is faced with a $1.2 billion budget gap. It is just one among a laundry list of service cuts that the authority has proposed, along with new tolls on the East River and Harlem River bridges, and a 23 percent increase in fares and tolls, if it does not find an additional funding source.
But, says Community Board 14, the loss of the bus would have a devastating impact on the neighborhood.
At the board’s January meeting, which was held at Edward R. Murrow High School,, 1600 Avenue L, District Manager Doris Ortiz said that the board was “really fighting” the elimination of the route, working in conjunction with CB 12, and noted that the route was, “Very important to our Cortelyou strip, important to our Flatbush Avenue merchants, important to Sears, important to the people who take it to the Q and the F train, important to the schools within our district.”
“The other cuts they’ve proposed for us are minor compared to this,” added Transportation Committee Chairperson Morris Sacks. “This would impact greatly on people who commute to work with it and on the merchants on Cortelyou Road.”
Ortiz and Sacks encouraged residents and local businesspeople to sign the board’s on-line petition, which can be accessed through the board’s website, www. cb14brooklyn.com, and to testify at the upcoming public hearing scheduled by the MTA. That hearing will be held on Wednesday, January 28th, beginning at 6 p.m., at the New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street.
“We urge anyone and everyone to go down and protect cutting the service,” Ortiz stressed.
Borough President Marty Markowitz has already expressed his opposition to the service cuts proposed by MTA. Right before Thanksgiving, Markowitz held a rally inside the Borough Hall station at which he blasted the MTA for their proposed combination of fare hikes and service cuts.
Calling the combination “unacceptable,” Markowitz had blasted the authority for moves that “selectively punish certain boroughs and neighborhoods for what is a regional and state responsibility.
“Brooklyn already represents the largest proportion of mass transit users in the city, and it’s downright discriminatory–especially against our immigrant communities and those hard-working residents who sometimes have no other way to get around–to impose tolls, increase fares, derail subway service or bring buses to a screeching halt when our borough is already paying its fair share,” Markowitz had added at the time.