In the face of a proposed bus route change by the MTA, members of the United We Stand Neighborhood Association and residents of Bushwick and Ridgewood rallied and marched to oppose the new B26 and Q58 bus routes, which on Sunday started traveling down their blocks on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border.
The march was set to take place Saturday afternoon, but after meeting with a representative from the MTA on Wednesday, the group decided to move the rally to Sunday, the day the bus routes officially changed, in order to maximize the protest’s impact.
“They did not give us any notification that they would be doing the reroute of the buses,” said Flor Ramos, member of United We Stand Neighborhood Association. “The MTA never informed the public that anything was happening.”
“There were around 150 people in the meeting,” Ramos added. “We have support from Councilman Rafael Espinal and from [Brooklyn] Community Board 4.”
On Sunday afternoon protesters marched down Putnam Avenue to Ridgewood Place and up Palmetto Street, the new route which the buses would be taking.
Residents took out their smartphones to snap photos and take videos of the buses trying to turn onto Ridgewood Place from Putnam Avenue. The protesters were not surprised when the buses could not complete the turn.
“This is our concern,” Ramos told the Ridgewood Times in a phone interview. “Those buses can’t fit through there. Even if they made it to Palmetto, they couldn’t turn there either.”
Ramos said that both the B26 and Q58 buses failed to make turns onto Ridgewood Place, at which point they were rerouted to another block, where they also had troubles making the turn. In the end, the buses were brought back to their original route, according to Ramos.
“I think the rally was very successful. It brought awareness to people in the area who didn’t know about it,” Ramos said. “We are bringing a lot of light to this issue. These buses turning on small residential streets is dangerous. The narrower streets will cause more accidents.”
According to Ramos, the MTA is looking to implement no parking restrictions on the corners of the blocks on the rerouted bus lines to remove vehicles from the corners, allowing buses to safely turn onto and off of Ridgewood Place, in order to complete the new route.