YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: After petitions, public workshops and letters from local officials, the MTA will announce today that the B4 bus line will be fully restored by January 2013.
The fate of the line, which had weekend and off-peak service axed in 2010 east of Ocean Parkway, was unclear earlier this week, when Sheepshead Bites reported that the agency was considering major improvements across the borough. But local leaders told Sheepshead Bites that MTA officials informed them this morning that the agencies plan to announce that the B4, as well as other diminished lines across Southern Brooklyn, will see full or partial restorations.
The B4’s restoration already has locals elated, including members of the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association, which collected more than 2,000 signatures to a petition demanding the agency bring back the line to Emmons Avenue, Shore Parkway and Knapp Street.
“I am just so glad. Everybody is going to be so thrilled,” said Kathy Flynn, president of the SBPB Civic, upon hearing the news. “This is going to help everyone who has to go to the hospital, the clinic, the businesses, anyone who has to visit, as well as the disabled in the area. People who commute to Manhattan every day, they only have to take one bus to the station. It’s going to save a lot of people a lot of time and a lot of stress.”
The news comes on the heels of a Sheepshead Bay Transit Town Hall, organized by Sheepshead Bites, Transportation Alternatives, Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz and Helene Weinstein, and the SBPB Civic. Additionally, it was attended by numerous elected officials. There, Cymbrowitz was handed the petitions, who sent it to MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota along with a letter demanding the return of the bus line and details of residents’ concerns.
“We spoke and the MTA listened,” Cymbrowitz said. “After my long and hard-fought battle, I’m pleased that the MTA recognized the tremendous hardship that thousands of commuters were suffering as a result of the bus line’s elimination in my community.”
Golden, a recently appointed member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Capital Review Board, added further pressure to restore the B4 as part of his ongoing negotiations to improve service in other areas of his district. Other bus lines to be restored in full or in part can be found on BensonhurstBean.com.
“I thank MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota, NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast, for their continued dialogue and for understanding of just how important the commuters are,” Golden said. “As MTA revenue has increased, I applaud them for going back to the maps and looking where people have been left stranded, and from that, move to improve the system’s efficiency.”
The line’s restoration is expected by January 2013, and the MTA is slated to unveil specifics of this restoration and others across the city later today. It’s still possible that they may announce adjustments to the B4 route.
UPDATE (2:49 p.m.): Assemblywoman Weinstein just sent us the following statement:
I’m overjoyed that my constituents will no longer be stranded with long delays waiting for the B4 bus. The community came out in force at the May 14 meeting that I cosponsored, and the MTA has responded to the thousands of residents who signed petitions or spoke out along with myself and colleagues in local government.