GOWANUS — Three years of petitions and rallies demanding the return of the B37 bus finally paid off this week when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it would likely restore the sorely missed line.
The MTA board is expected to approve the B37's revival at its July 24 board meeting. The line was cut in 2010.
The B37's return can't come soon enough for people who live and work along its route, which runs from Fort Hamilton to Downtown Brooklyn along Third Avenue, through Gowanus, Park Slope and Sunset Park.
"It provides a very important link," said Community Board 7 District Manager Jeremy Laufer. "It's the only north-south, handicapped-accessible route available in our district west of Fifth Avenue."
The bus is a major mode of transport for workers at the Brooklyn waterfront, seniors traveling to Lutheran Medical Center on 55th Street and Second Avenue, and children who attend the many schools along Fourth Avenue, Laufer said.
In Gowanus, merchants are cheering the B37's return because it will bring bus riders back to a section of Brooklyn that's changed dramatically in the last three years, said Irina Edelstein of the Gowanus Alliance, part of the Restore the B37 Coalition.
"It definitely will bring great exposure [for Gowanus businesses]," Edelstein said. "Many people don’t know how much Third Avenue has changed. People will see all the new stores, all the new restaurants, the Whole Foods that's going to open up."