U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer sent a letter to MTA head Joe Lhota calling on the agency to add a new bus line–called “The Nerd Bus”–that would connect the growing hipster neighborhoods in Brooklyn and in Long Island City to the city’s new tech hubs around the new Cornell teach campus and the Brooklyn Tech triangle.
“New York is seeing a major tech boom, with Brooklyn and Long Island City leading the way, and now the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island is going to be a game changer that further cements New York’s position as a leader in tech,” saidMr. Schumer. “You don’t need a PhD to know that connecting these neighborhoods through a ‘Nerd Bus’ is a no-brainer. The only thing separating these neighborhoods in New York City is a lack of transit connections. We need a high-speed rapid transit connection between Roosevelt Island and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, with stops at new hubs like Long Island City and the Navy Yard, and residential areas in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.”
According to Mr. Schumer, the Nerd bus could connect the Brooklyn Tech Triangle and Williamsburg Waterfront bus routes to Cornell’s tech campus hub, first at its temporary location in Google’s NYC headquarters in Manhattan, and then to Roosevelt Island, where Cornell is planning to construct its new major technology campus hub.
The route would sweep up the existing tech hub in DUMBO with emerging centers in Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard, north to the neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City where many tech employees live and work, and to the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island.
The MTA has already announced the establishment of a route that will connect DUMBO with Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard,but Mr. Schumer’s plan would add the Williamsburg Waterfront, Roosevelt Island and Long Island City. The senator also suggested that a route include Cornell’s temporary location at Google’s New York City Headquarters in the Meatpacking District as part of the route.
The full letter appears below:
Dear Mr. Lhota,
I write to you today to ask that you explore an exciting proposal regarding the extension of bus services in Brooklyn in order to create a route connecting Brooklyn and Queens Tech Coast. As you know, on July 19 the MTA announced that along with service restorations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, it is proposing two new routes: the Brooklyn Tech Triangle route and the Williamsburg Waterfront route. I applaud the MTA for these extensions of service, and equally for its thoughtful consideration of future transit needs in the New York City area.
As you also know, these extensions are intended in part to service the growing technology industry in Brooklyn. DUMBO is already home to a major technology hub, which is set to expand into Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard. Dozens of tech companies are already on the waiting list for new Navy Yard office space, and New York University is proposing a tech campus in the old Jay Street MTA building in Downtown Brooklyn. In addition Cornell University is planning a major tech campus on Roosevelt Island, with the school temporarily housed at Google’s Chelsea offices while construction is being completed. The faculty and students there are precisely the innovators needed by the growing tech industry in New York City, and many will surely be ferrying back and forth between the Roosevelt Island campus and the neighborhoods in Brooklyn where young engineers will be living and working. In between these two centers, furthermore, are the residential neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, which the new Williamsburg Waterfront route intends to service, and the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, which many predict to be the next major location for tech start-ups and offices.
I urge the MTA to consider the feasibility of connecting these two new proposed bus routes, and explore the ridership potential of extending into Long Island City and Roosevelt Island when construction is completed at the Cornell-Technion campus, to make an express route that has been called the ‘Nerd Bus’. Until the Cornell Tech campus is built on Roosevelt Island, their temporary location at Google’s New York City Headquarters should also be considered as part of the route. Such a route would service key points in the neighborhoods of Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Navy Yard, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City, as well as Roosevelt Island, creating a tech highway for students, innovators, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and local residents. Connecting these neighborhoods would be a great boon for the tech industry, providing easy transportation between the emerging tech hubs and connecting industry with education and vice-versa. I applaud the MTA in its current restoration and expansion of services, and urge it to consider the feasibility of this new proposal.