BHB reader Quinn Raymond submitted this report from Daniel Squadron’s Transit Forum held last night:
I attended the Transit Forum tonight that Senator Dan Squadron’s office organized. It was very well put together, and turnout was around 50 or so. Squadron himself moderated, Assemblymember Millman as well as reps from the MTA and DOT answered questions from a predominantly DUMBO crowd who were fairly riled up about the B25 going down their street. The 84th precinct and Councilmember Levin were slated to attend as well but the former didn’t show and the later didn’t arrive until after it was over. Non-panel attendees included John Dew from CB2, Dan Wiley from Rep. Nydia Velazquez’s office, and reps from numerous civic organizations.
Most of the issues raised were DUMBO-related, although people also brought up disability access concerns, and the constant friction on the Brooklyn Bridge between bikes and pedestrians. Some pointed to the numerous fundraising walks, tourists, and souvenir vendors exacerbating the problem.
I brought up the issue of the MTA’s funding repeatedly being cut and raided by Albany, which has resulted in massive service cuts and maintenance issues. I was rather surprised that few in the audience seemed particularly concerned by this and instead focused on their own immediate local concerns, not realizing that the two are related.
Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Millman both pledged to fight for additional streams of revenue for the MTA to stave off fare increases, although some in the transit community are unsatisfied with Millman’s commitment to mass transit. Squadron and Millman also advocated for the so-called lockbox legislation, which would prevent MTA funds from being raided by Albany. Hopefully there will be better results in future budget negotiations, or subway and bus service will get even worse while fares increase.
Later Squadron voiced his support for a water ferry from Atlantic Ave. He pointed that the current East River ferries are funded by the EDC (Economic Development Corporation), so the money would have to come from them.
In my opinion the reps from the MTA and DOT were precise, articulate, and forthright. Both Squadron and Millman were responsive in their answers, and they all made an effort to stay late and answer everyone’s questions. I hope they do more of these in the future, perhaps closer to the Brooklyn Heights area next time.