BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Transportation officials came under fire Monday night after Bedford-Stuyvesant residents opposed planned changes to a busy commuter intersection on Utica Avenue.
MTA and Department of Transportation representatives presented a draft plan of the B46 Select Bus Service to Brooklyn Community Board 3, detailing suggested stops and sidewalk extensions at one junction.
DOT officials proposed removing two traffic islands and extending the sidewalks at the corners of Fulton Street at Malcolm X Boulevard and Utica Avenue to ease pedestrian crossings and make for slower turns.
But community members said it would bottleneck traffic coming from Atlantic Avenue. Other residents took issue with the elimination of turning lanes, which could add congestion on an already crowded Fulton Street.
“I know that you have your study, but your study really cannot compare to the study I have by using that intersection every day,” said board member C. Doris Pinn, who stressed the potential for more traffic jams and accidents.
“You say it’s not idyllic, but that’s what it should be. And if it’s not, then it shouldn’t happen. You need to take that back and study it a little further.”
Elderly residents in the area would be “tremendously” affected by the change, according to board member TJ Wilson. Other residents cited the close proximity to Boys and Girls High School.
The Fulton intersection is a main transferring point between buses and the A and C subway lines, and the proposal would provide a smooth changeover for commuters, according to DOT project manager Kyle Gebhart.
Officials also suggested relocating bus stops on Malcolm X Boulevard and Utica Avenue to bring commuters closer to train station entrances.
The introduction of Select Bus Service would run a route from the northeast section of Bed-Stuy to Marine Park. Stops in the community would include at DeKalb Avenue, Gates Avenue, Halsey Street and Fulton Street.
Locals questioned the service’s value, citing poor communication and issues riders encountered when the B44 service was first introduced on Nostrand Avenue in 2013.
“To me it feels like you’re pushing this down the community’s throat,” one woman said.
MTA representative Andrew Inglesby told the crowd the agency is not yet ready to implement the changes and community input would be taken into consideration. Officials will present to other community boards along the corridor and finalize plans at the end of the spring.
The new B46 service would be the city’s seventh Select Bus Service route, with dedicated bus lanes and off-board fare payment for faster commute times. The Utica Avenue corridor is the second-busiest route in the five boroughs and services up to 50,000 passengers a day, officials said.