Red Hook residents feel stranded, demand revival of bus route

Brooklyn residents braved the cold Tuesday to rally for bus service in an area where they feel stranded.
Those in attendance demanded a revival of the east-west bus route across Gowanus, connecting the waterfront communities to Central Brooklyn. Local leaders say the B71 route was cut in 2010 even though it served nine schools, three senior centers and multiple public housing complexes.
"One reason it had low ridership was that it didn't run very often, and you couldn't plan your day around it. You had to walk or take a taxi," says Cathy Alexander, of Red Hook.
Councilman Brad Lander delivered signatures from more than 1,000 residents at an open house on the Brooklyn Bus Redesign Plan. In the years since the service was cut, residents say the neighborhood has grown exponentially.
"Especially with the advent of new businesses coming to Red Hook, with hundreds and hundreds of trucks and over 1,000 employees, that gridlock will take place throughout the community," says John McGettrick, of Red Hook.
But one Park Slope resident fears the change, and believes there should be an alternative.
"There's a firehouse on Union Street. There's traffic backed up to 5th Avenue and I think having this bus, this route going right past all of these already congested avenues, and the firehouse, and nine schools is going to make this even more difficult," says Ann McNamara.
The MTA says in part, "We're looking at a variety of factors, including changes in population and work centers, as well as ridership demand and public comment."