New York City could soon have a “Nerd Bus” route, created specifically for the city’s growing population of technology entrepreneurs. The proposal for this new bus route was announced today by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who wants the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to connect “all points of NYC’s tech boom,” which includes neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens.
The MTA recently announced plans to establish a new bus route in the “Brookly Tech Triangle” that is made up of the DUMBO neighborhood, downtown Brooklyn, and the Navy Yard area along the East River, where new office space is being built, much of which will be filled with technology startups. Another proposed route would connect residential neighborhoods along the East River, including Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn, and Long Island City in southern Queens.
“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,” said Schumer in a statement. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Technology startups, once natives of central California, have become an increasingly important part of New York City’s economy in recent years. Nearly 500 NYC-based startups received funding between 2007 and 2011, reports the Huffington Post. The number of technology-centric jobs has risen 30 percent in New York since 2007, according to the Center for an Urban Future (pdf). And the NY Tech Meetup, started in 2004, now boasts nearly 26,000 members.
Not surprisingly, New York politicians are doing all they can to foster further growth in this booming technology economy. In May, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the Made in NY Digital Map, which pinpoints thousands of “digital companies,” venture capital firms, and group work spaces in the city. The map also points out companies that are currently hiring.
Sen. Schumer has more than done his part to help the NYC tech community this week. Speaking before the Senate on Tuesday, Schumer pushed for changes to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which is set for a vote on Thursday, that he says are necessary to help technology startups grow and innovate. He also took time to praise NYC as a boom center of technology innovation.
“…Silicon Valley may have given us the semiconductor, but New York City, in my opinion, will be the birthplace of the next great generation of internet giants,” said Schumer on the Senate floor.
“New York entrepreneurs started Foursquare and Tumblr, Etsy and Kickstarter. Code academy is training the next generation of entrepreneurs,” he said. “Venture capital is flocking to New York to help these start-ups. For the first time we’re getting engineers and scientist whose want to be in New York. And we’re still not at the level of Silicon Valley but we’re probably number two in the country in this regard. Like all New Yorkers we want to be number one at some point.”
The MTA has not yet responded to Sen. Schumer’s proposal, but we hear that Schumer’s office expects to hear back soon.