The orange lights at Myrtle-Broadway JMZ hub — now labeled JZM — make it difficult to tell the new orange M sign apart from the browns. — Photo by Diego Cupolo
It could have been much worse for Bushwick and Ridgewood residents, who tend to get the sharp end of the stick when it comes to cuts to public transit. In 1969, North Brooklyn lost its downtown connection when the Myrtle Avenue Elevated was demolished, the only evidence of which is a stretch of ghost track a few hundred feet west of Broadway. This time around, amid budget cuts wrecking service across the city, we win big — today, the M train turns “orange” and Monday morning will start service through the Lower East Side, the Village, Chelsea, midtown, and all the way to Forest Hills, Queens.
It’s not all good news — the neighborhood has suffered some bus and subway service cuts. The L train will see service frequency reductions in all off-peak times. Currently trains are timed — in theory — to arrive so that seats are available to all passengers. The frequency would be cut so that there are 10-18 “standees” per car. Rush-hour service will be unaffected. Due to low ridership, the B57 bus that takes Bushwickers to downtown Brooklyn via Flushing Avenue will be discontinued from 1-5am.
The MTA planned to cut the B13, which traverses East New York, Ridgewood, and Bushwick via Wyckoff Avenue, at the Myrtle-Wyckoff L/M station. But community pressure convinced the agency to instead have the bus terminate at Wyckoff Heights hospital to improve access for handicapped patients.
LaTonya Blount lives near the Central M station, and wasn’t a fan of the V train.
“Having the V in Manhattan was pointless, it only had two stops, and those were stops where people could take the F train anyways,” Blount said. “It’s better that the V train gets replaced, the new layout is way more efficient and it’s really convenient for me.”
Myrtle-Broadway-area resident Mitch McCain said the service change should help Bushwick attract more residents.
“When people look for places to live they think about the quality of trains nearby and having less transfers is always a plus,” McCain said.
Note, however, that nights 12-5am and all day on weekends, the M will still be a shuttle from Metropolitan to Myrtle-Broadway — riders will then have to transfer at Broadway to the J or Z to head into the city, and transfer again to the F to go uptown. For Queens riders, the demise of the V means taking an M that is two cars shorter, seating 300 less passengers.
Not everyone is excited by the service change. Jonny Gonzalez lives near the Myrtle-Broadway hub, and could take it or leave it.
“I really don’t care, I bike to the places I need to go,” Gonzalez said.
With reporting by Diego Cupolo.