Tuesday, May 18, 2010

At least you can eat your burger there . . .

Nine months ago, I wrote about the arrival of Cemusa's sleek new bus shelters on Franklin Avenue, one of which sits prominently in front of the booming block just south of St. John's that includes the new Brooklyn Ink Spot, Dutch Boy Burger, and the Breukelen Coffee House. In the original post, I linked an article from the Times' city section (published April 10, 2009) that drew attention to a rather glaring discrepancy in planning: two new shelters were being constructed along the threatened B23 bus route. At the time, the MTA response was that service changes were not definite, but "we will postpone any further installations on affected routes until the situation is clarified" (is it just me, or does this sound like the kind of calm, bureaucratic response that was immediately followed by a closed-doors session with the same bureaucrat's staff in which our unruffled responder threw a copy of the paper on the table and screamed "who the hell approved the new shelters for the routes we're closing?!"). Perhaps this is one of the dangers of privatization--the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing (Cemusa, after all, were paying the city to put the things up, and might have had a marketing plan based on outdated MTA information).

Regardless, the Times' vision of "waiting for a bus that will never arrive" has come to pass, not just on the B23 (which was indeed cancelled) but right here on Franklin, where the B48 has been eliminated south of Fulton Street. While I can understand the MTA's logic--ridership is low, in part because the Franklin Avenue Shuttle runs the same route--it's still a loss, as trips north to Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Williamsburg and Greenpoint will now involve hoofing it or a transfer, something that's easy on young legs bus a major hassle for the elderly, who tend to dominate bus ridership because it gets them closer to home and keeps them off their feet.

You can read the MTA's official execution announcement here and see a list of affected Brooklyn buses here (my B65 will no longer get me home safe late at night!). In the meantime, as of June 27th, the folks waiting for a Dutch Boy Burger or spilling out of the coffee house will have a nice, sheltered place to sit. The notice at the stop says "this bus stop sign will eventually be removed" but that doesn't make clear what will happen to the shelter. Can Cemusa pull it up and put it elsewhere, or will it remain until some new golden era of transit funding returns it to it's original function?

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