Franklin Avenue Shuttle in Bed-Stuy Needs Major Rehab, Residents Say

By Paul DeBenedetto on October 23, 2013 8:47am 

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 Residents say the Franklin Avenue shuttle is dirty, dimly-lit and attracts rodents.
The Franklin Avenue Shuttle
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Ask anyone who lives near the Franklin Avenue shuttle on Fulton Street about the state of the transit hub and you're likely to elicit some negative response: It attracts rodents, is dimly-lit and sometimes reeks of urine.

"This is a hub of transportation that thousands upon thousands of people use each day, either through the subway system or through the bus system," said Lefferts Place resident Job Mashariki, 71. "The place is kept dirty, and the tracks and station where people catch the train is not up to par. It may not even be safe."

But now the city and state have agreed to spruce up the much-maligned station, which also houses the B48 bus and the C train, thanks to a group of resilient neighbors who are tired of its shabby appearance.

The city Department of Transportation and the MTA have begun work on improving infrastructure and quality of life at the Bed-Stuy station — including cleaning up trash and fixing broken exterior lights that residents say make the area less safe — thanks in part to neighbors and local elected officials who have raised objections, representatives from the agencies confirmed.

An MTA spokeswoman said the agency has begun cleaning the station and an adjacent vacant lot, and will be installing pigeon deterrents and "no littering signs" at the bus waiting area, while also removing graffiti and cleaning an elevator. 

A similar request to renovate the station from Brooklyn Community Board 3 earlier this year was denied, as DNAinfo New York reported in March.

Meanwhile, the DOT has temporarily removed a Citi Bike station at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Lefferts Place to help with the MTA's work, and is working to improve lighting in the area, a DOT source said.

"We've mounted a lot of pressure," Mashariki said. "The quality of what we're talking about, it should be normally accepted as the way it should be. Why should communities accept less services and quality?"

Although a DOT spokesman told DNAinfo New York that the bike dock would be returned by the end of last week, a recent trip to the site revealed the dock was still missing, with an MTA maintenance truck in its place. 

Aiding the residents in their quest to improve the area is local Assemblyman Walter Mosley, who attended a meeting with locals last week to hear their complaints.

Mosley said conversations with the two transportation agencies have been "productive and fruitful."

"They've been pretty responsive," Mosley said, adding, "we still have some concerns we want to address."

Mashariki said he's also happy with the response so far, but that it wouldn't stop him and others from continuing to seek improvements.

"There's been some change [but] the point is we can't stop," Mashariki said. "We're just looking to have decisions made in our interest."

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