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Mayor Adams Pledges to Listen to Flatbush Ave Residents on Bus Lanes

This comes as the city plans to implement bus-only lanes all across one of Brooklyn’s busiest streets.

Mayor Eric Adams carefully chose his words as he made clear he would be listening to “everyone involved” when it came to expanding proposed bus lanes along the entirety of Flatbush Ave at the weekly presser in City Hall on Tuesday.

Being one of the busiest streets in Brooklyn where over 130,000 people ride through for their commute, Flatbush Avenue has constantly been bogged down by congestion.

Last month, the Department of Transportation proposed a plan to Community Boards 2 and 8 in Brooklyn to install a bus lane stretching all the way down from Downtown Brooklyn to Marine Park along the street. 

The first phase will implement the bus lane within Downtown Brooklyn and Prospect Park, the most congested route along Flatbush Ave.

“We want to do everything possible to speed up our services because I think it's important to do so. I'm committed on how we design it and how we get it right,” said Adams. “We get it wrong sometimes and then we have to go back and try to fix what we created. I will hear from Jumaane [Williams], the advocates, and the community to determine what's the best way to move forward.”

Activists like ones a part of the Riders Alliance have been wary of the mayor based on his actions regarding bus lanes thus far. The implementation of offset bus lanes on Fordham Road instead of more popular designated busways, after pushback from prominent businesses in the area, enraged many transit advocates hoping for revamped lanes. 

The mayor ran on creating a state-of-the-art bus transit system during his campaign in 2021 and promised to “build 150 miles of new bus lanes and busways in four years”. For the past two years, the city has constructed only 9.6 miles out of the 50 required miles of barrier protected or camera-enforced bus lanes as part of legally mandated deadlines required by the Streets Master Plan

“Flatbush Avenue riders have been promised faster buses for decades but service has only gotten slower,” said Danny Pearlstein, policy director at the Riders Alliance. “Now it’s time for the mayor to deliver the priority bus riders deserve along the spine of Brooklyn.”

Adams also touted the unveiling of the first official New York City trash bins in the latest move made by the New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch to usher in containerization throughout the city at the weekly presser in City Hall on Tuesday. 

The mayor and sanitation commissioner ushered in the rollout of the NYC Bin for trash storage, which is already required for all businesses, on July 8. By this fall, all residential buildings with less than 10 apartments and special use buildings must place all trash inside bins with secure lids.  There is no concrete date set for complete citywide containerization.

“We're actually just catching up to the rest of the globe,” said Adams in reference to the trash bin order. “We're going to get the trash bags off our streets and go after my number one nemesis enemy, rats…70 percent of our garbage will be in bins.”

By 2026, all trash must be placed in the newly minted NYC Bin which will be sold by Otto Environmental Systems for around $50, which residents will have to pay for.

Additionally, Adams expressed his desire for the Rikers Island jail to close but cited the COVID-19 pandemic and public safety as barriers to effectively do so. 

“The timeline that was set out previously of having Rikers closed with a two-year gap of COVID, nothing was being done. I don't know if people really understand that,” said Adams. “We want to close Rikers, we all do, but how do we do it correctly…If there's anything that I've been clear on as the mayor, this city must be safe.”