Locals Demonstrate Protest Against Kings Highway SBS Route

By Mrs. Shelly Greenstein - Forman Apr 16, 2018 12:30 PM

Pictured Above: Protesters rally against the proposed SBS Kings Highway plan.

On the morning of April 15, hundreds of Brooklyn residents gathered on the corner of Kings Highway and East 5th Street in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, NY to protest the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) recent plan to initiate Selective Bus Service (SBS) on the B82 bus route.

Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation initiated plans to install bus-only lanes on Kings Highway between McDonald and Ocean Ave in Brooklyn, NY in order to encourage a, “faster and more reliable bus service,” for the 28,000 daily passengers who utilize this line.

The lanes will be in effect from 7 to 10 am and 4 to 7 pm Monday through Friday.

A protester displaying his sign at the rally.

Despite the benefits this plan may present to the passengers who ride the B82 line on a daily basis, it also presents a huge inconvenience to the local businesses and residential homeowners within the areas in which bus lanes may be implemented.

"Our small businesses will go out of business. And this will become a commercial roadway. It will change the flavor and complexion of our neighborhood forever," said Linda Ebani, President, Kings Highway Beautification Association and one of the attendees at Sunday’s demonstration.

The crowd displaying their signs at the rally.

Many of the attendees of the protest held up signs dawning the words, “Save Our Streets,” while chanting together in unison as elected officials made their remarks over a megaphone.

The demands of the morning crowd were concise and clear: they want the B82 Select Bus Service plan to be overturned indefinitely. The perception of the plan by the large crowd is that the intentions of the DOT does not have the local residents and business owners’ best interests at heart.

Another sign from a protester demanding transparency from the DOT.

Senator Simcha Felder told the energized crowd that “these are our streets; we live here and it should be left to us to decide the future of our neighborhood and its value as a vibrant hub of commercial success. The business owners are local residents as are those who shop there and placing an SBS route on the B82 will be a tremendous blow to the economic welfare of the community and we have told the DOT and the MTA that we will not accept that scenario under any condition.”

Also addressing the community rally was Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz and Councilman Kalman Yeger as well as Councilman Mark Treger.

An elected official speaking to the crowd at the rally.

“There is a reason that my colleagues and I got a call after the Town Hall meeting and before today’s rally saying that the MTA has put this plan on hold,” exclaimed Councilman Treger on the megaphone to the eager crowd. “It is because as a community, when our voices are joined as one, we can have the power and influence to make a difference for everyone who resides in the Kings Highway area.”

Overall, the event was a success obtaining a large amount of attention from media outlets as well as the DOT and many other elected officials.

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Shelly Forman is currently serving as editor-in-chief of Sephardic.Org. Shelly curates the content that comes through to Sephardic and makes sure that each and every article, video, and image on the site goes along with our amazing mission statement.