Those are the people who must take a subway and bus - or vice-versa, and often times in multiple combinations - to get to school or work each day. For residents of far-flung neighborhoods, or areas under-served by mass transit, a blistering summer day or cold winter evening spells wait-time disaster.
No longer, at least for the 10,000 riders who use the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue transit hub, where the MTA has completed the Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal.
Officials said the $10 million terminal, which has operated for some time but was officially opened August 20, will improve bus and subway transfers between the L and M trains and the B13, 26, and 52 and the Q54, 55 and 58 buses, which all make stops around the subway station.
“It's a modest project in many ways and yet the difference it makes in the community” should be significant, said MTA President Thomas Prendergast.
The terminal - it is not a single, new facility - consists of a series of small improvements.
An awning was added to the elevated train tracks along Myrtle Avenue where riders wait for several buses, shielding them from the sun, rain and snow, and signage, new lights and a dispatcher's booth were installed to assist riders with navigating the busy transit hub.
And in the works, but not completed, is an electronic messaging board system that will alert bus riders about incoming trains. Dispatchers will hold buses momentarily so riders emerging from the subway station can board them in time.
“We wanted to have and create a very specific intermodal form of transportation,” said Councilwoman Diana Reyna. Like other elected officials, she recalled an earlier era when Myrtle-Wyckoff was a dark, uninviting station.
“For those of us who grew up here this was always the big interchange,” said Gary Giordano, the district manager of Community Board Five. Now “it's certainly a lot more pleasant and a lot more inviting.”
Ted Renz, the executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, called the terminal an “enormous improvement.”
The project was paid for in part by funds from Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. It follows a larger, $50 million renovation of the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue station itself, which was completed in 2007.
“It should make a difference,” Geordy Claude, who takes a bus to Myrtle-Wycoff Avenue for a train into Manhattan, said of the terminal.
Gene Burch, of Glendale, said he looks forward to the electronic message boards. “If they coordinate that with this [terminal] it would be big,” he said.