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Construction Forces Rerouting of B61, B71 Buses

A massive reconstruction project along Columbia Street is already causing reverberations—for local bus riders. As of this week, the routes traveled by the two neighborhood bus lines—the B61 and the B71—have been changed to accommodate the construction. The rerouting will last 18 months, according to Deidre Parker, a spokesperson for New York City Transit-Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Effective Jan. 3, the B61, traveling toward Long Island City, now rumbles along Van Brunt Street to Union Street, then to Hicks Street, then back to its regular route along Atlantic Avenue. The bus makes stops along Hicks and Union streets. Toward Red Hook, the route is unchanged. Traveling toward Carroll Gardens, the B71’s bus terminal has been moved from Sackett and Van Brunt streets to Sackett and Hicks. Toward Crown Heights, the B71 now leaves the temporary terminal, runs along Hicks to Union, and continues along Union to Crown Heights. The $17 million project entails the reconstruction of a host of local streets, including Columbia from Atlantic Avenue to Hamilton Avenue; Degraw Street from Columbia to Van Brunt Street; Van Brunt from Degraw to Hamilton; Woodhull Street from Columbia to Hamilton; and Carroll Street from Columbia to Hicks Street. The project will span two years, While notices have been placed inside individual buses, markers on inactive stops were slow coming, said Craig Hammerman, the district manager of Community Board 6. He said the problem is that both the Department of Transportation, whose purview the signs fall, and NYC Transit, the agency responsible for buses and trains, “are both claiming its not their responsibility.” “Clearly someone needs to be held accountable,” Hammerman added. Parker reiterated that the signs are the responsibility of the DOT. Craig Chin, a DOT spokesperson, agreed, and said his agency has moved 14 total bus stop signs onto Hicks. He said that work was done on Dec. 30. Also, the DOT has put up markers at the inactive bus stops to indicate construction is imminent or proceeding. The poles will remain at the inactive stops, which will be reactivated once construction work is completed. As for the map/schedule boxes that remain behind, Chin said it’s the MTA’s charge to remove them.

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