We live here. We shop here. Some of us even work here. So when it comes to mass transit, we know what we want, what we need, and what we ain’t getting.

That’s why Sheepshead Bites is proud to announce the Sheepshead Bay Transit Town Hall, an evening workshop for brainstorming and proposing key fixes to mass transit in our area.

The event, held in conjunction with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association and Transportation Alternatives’ Rider Rebellion Campaign, will kick off at 7:00 p.m. at Baron DeKalb – Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue).

(TAKE OUR 3-MINUTE SURVEY AND LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON SHEEPSHEAD BAY MASS TRANSIT!)

We know what it’s like out there. If you live in Plumb Beach and want to get anywhere – good luck. Since the B4 was all but abolished (no weekend service, only certain brief hours during weekdays), the tens of thousands of residents south of the Belt Parkway and east of Bedford Avenue have no easy way to get around. If you get off the train at Sheepshead Bay train station, your only destination by bus is Nostrand Avenue or Ocean Avenue, unless you’re heading to Manhattan Beach or Coney Island. And, speaking of getting to other neighborhoods, there isn’t a single good bus option to get to Bensonhurst or Bay Ridge (or for them to get here!)

That’s why we’re asking you to come down next Thursday for the Town Hall, and help us put together a plan – by residents and for residents – to tweak the system to serve us better.

This is not an MTA gripe session. We’re not looking for generic complaints about the system, but proposals to fix the problems plaguing commuters. Among the issues to be discussed are:

  • Restoring full B4 service from Coney Island Hospital to Knapp Street (and perhaps tweaking the route to better serve residents)
  • Propose alterations to the B44 SBS route, which will replace the B44 Limited
  • Suggestions for better riding conditions on other bus and subway lines in the neighborhood

Better service not only means it’s easier for us to get around, but that it’s easier for residents from other Brooklyn neighborhoods to come here, shop here, eat here, sail here and support our local institutions. Better business for the Bay means better living conditions for its residents.

But we need your help. We need your ideas, and we need your presence. Once we as a neighborhood have developed a plan, our elected officials will take it to Albany and to the MTA. And, here at Sheepshead Bites, we’ll keep the pressure on with ongoing coverage.

So join us on May 17, and improve mass transit for all of Sheepshead Bay! (Don’t forget to take our survey, as we’ll be using the results at the Town Hall.)

WHEN: May 17, 2012 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Baron DeKalb – Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue)
Refreshments will be served.

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  • BayResident

    I will try to make it, but in case I don’t and there is a shortage of stories and/or reasons why the B4 should be restored (though I’m sure there won’t be) you can feel free to share mine on my behalf:

    I have spent countless hours of my life waiting for the B4 at the Sheepshead Bay train station as it is the only bus service we have where I live at the eastern tip of the bay. The fact that it takes 20, 30, and sometimes even 40 minutes to come is not what I am complaining about, although it really is terrible. For as long as I remember we have all stood and waited in the cold and in the heat for the bus that never comes, but granted, when it does come it rarely fills up like the B36 or other buses so it is understandable that running it more frequently may not be feasible. Fine. The real problems came after service was cut to my neighborhood, except during weekday rush hours. This blew my mind because it seemed like the ONLY time the B4 was actually filling up was during this stretch from the Sheepshead Bay train station to Knapp street. Why in the world would they decide to cut the part of the route that is actually being used? But they did and since my job has me coming back to Sheepshead Bay around 6:45pm I am often lucky to catch the last or second-to-last bus of the night (after a 30 minute wait of course). Now here is my real issue: when I am delayed more than 15-20 minutes at work, which often happens, I no longer have a way to get home from the train station without taking the cabs parked outside. At $10 a trip, as opposed to a free transfer, it tends to add up when I am forced to take the cab several times a month. Often I will find people waiting at the B4 stop unaware that it does not run after 7pm. Yes, it is written on the schedule which nobody looks at, and you know why they don’t look? Because this is a bus that is NEVER on schedule at this point in the route so there is no reason to even bother looking.
    I have spent countless hours of my life waiting for the B4 at the Sheepshead Bay train station as it is the only bus service we have where I live at the eastern tip of the bay. The fact that it takes 20, 30, and sometimes even 40 minutes to come is not what I am complaining about, although it really is terrible. For as long as I remember we have all stood and waited in the cold and in the heat for the bus that never comes, but granted, when it does come it rarely fills up like the B36 or other buses so it is understandable that running it more frequently may not be feasible. Fine. The real problems came after service was cut to my neighborhood, except during weekday rush hours. This blew my mind because it seemed like the ONLY time the B4 was actually filling up was during this stretch from the Sheepshead Bay train station to Knapp street. Why in the world would they decide to cut the part of the route that is actually being used? But they did and since my job has me coming back to Sheepshead Bay around 6:45pm I am often lucky to catch the last or second-to-last bus of the night (after a 30 minute wait of course). Now here is my real issue: when I am delayed more than 15-20 minutes at work, which often happens, I no longer have a way to get home from the train station without taking the cabs parked outside. At $10 a trip, as opposed to a free transfer, it tends to add up when I am forced to take the cab several times a month. Often I will find people waiting at the B4 stop unaware that it does not run after 7pm. Yes, it is written on the schedule which nobody looks at, and you know why they don’t look? Because this is a bus that is NEVER on schedule at this point in the route so there is no reason to even bother looking.

    The point is, I understand why there have to be cutbacks and that there is no way to cut back without upsetting at least someone, and I understand that they cannot run empty busses just for the sake of running, and I even understand that with a route this long it is hard to keep to the schedule towards the end of it,  but I will never understand cutting the only form of public transportation which we have, especially when this is a part of the route that actually gets a significant amount of use by comparison.

    • BrooklynBus

      The only reason it is still running at all to Sheepshead Bay is that one day at 2:30 PM I counted 35 people on the B4 at Ocean Parkway and Neptune Avenue going toward Plumb Beach and 25 people in the other direction toward Bay Ridge and I told them about it so they rechecked their numbers and saw I was right.  The problem is that they can say whatever they want because no one is checking their numbers.  It certainly wasn’t lightly utilized when I was there and that wasn’t even in the rush hour. How many times do you see a B68 or other route carrying only about 6 people? 

      Try your best to make the meeting.

    • Flatbush Depot

      Curious as to why you never just took the (2)(5) to the B44.

      Right now the B44 does take a long time to get from the Junction to Knapp St, but it is much more frequent than the B4. Waiting for the B44 and then riding it probably would have been faster than or just as fast as waiting for the B4 and then riding it.

      • BayResident

        I should have probably been more clear as to where I live, but I’d like to do it without giving away who I am. :)

        When I said I’m on the eastern tip of the bay I meant the part of the bay that is not obscured by buildings. Around Bedford Avenue. So unfortunatly the B4 is my only option.

        • via H. Hudson Pkwy

          I would like to know why no one has mentioned the cuts on the BM3????? The MTA has cut 7 runs on Saturday going to the city and a few runs going to Sheepshead Bay.  The BM3 used to run until 10:20pm. The last bus is now 03:20pm on Saturdays!!  I grew up in Sheepshead Bay and went to IS 43 before became a specialized school and then went to high school as well there.  I currently live in Riverdale where we have EXCELLENT express bus service and MetroNorth.  I still come to Sheepshead Bay to my local tax guy and barber who I’ve used for YEARS and no longer can I stay and relax and shop or relax in Sheepshead Bay like I used to because there is no transportation!! Without the BM3, my commute back to the city or back to Riverdale becomes a huge headache.  

          We need the BM3 restored on Saturday and we need full B4 service restored!!!  

          • Andrew

            How many riders did those late afternoon and early evening BM3′s typically carry?

          • Dkupf

            Fewer, now that the express bus fare is relatively high.  Fat chance of them rolling back the fare.

          • Andrew

            That doesn’t answer my question.

            (And given the cost per rider on express buses, I think the fare is much too low.)

  • RonB

    Ever since the February 2004 flip of the B& D in south Brooklyn, there is no longer access to the 6th Avenue Line on the Weekends for Q train riders. Atlantic Avenue / Barclays Center Stop is not a convenient transfer point. If we cannot run the B on Weekends at least have the D stop @ Dekalb for an across the platform transfer.

    • BrooklynBus

      Raise that point at the Town Hall

      • Dkupf

        I raised that point at a NYCTRC President’s forum a few years ago.  I proved to the head of Operations planning, Peter Cafiero, and everyone in the room, that it’s feasible and doable to have the B stop at De Kalb Ave when the B doesn’t operate.  He rebuffed me without explanation.  I stood my ground, and walked out, leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

        At the next President’s Forum, I will do the same, G-d willing.

        • Dkupf

          To clarify, it was the 2009 President’s Forum.

        • Andrew

          Everybody knows that it’s feasible and doable. You didn’t need to prove it to Mr. Cafiero – I’m sure he’s a smart guy.

          As I explained on Sunday, though, it would slow down service on all lines passing through the area, especially the D. Would the savings for Brighton riders transferring to the D be enough to offset the loss for everybody else?

    • Nomore

      Off topic but always wondered if they did the change because of a certain futurama episode. Where the gang is under old new york and Bender becomes a Brooklyn bound B train making stops wherever the hell he feels like it. Eventually they arrive at Fry’s old home at Newkirk Ave.

      • BayResident

        If you can find out which season/episode this is I would be forever greatful.

        • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

          The Luck of the Fryish, season 3, episode 4.

          [/nerd]

          • BayResident

            You’re the bestest. <3

    • Flatbush Depot

      In order for that to happen, the Manhattan-bound (D) would have to switch from the 4th Ave express track to the 4th Ave local track (currently used by the (R)) north of Pacific St and then stop on the same track as the (Q) at DeKalb Ave. The Coney Island-bound (D) would also have to stop on the same track as the (Q) at DeKalb after getting off the Manhattan Bridge.

      The reason why I know is because of the track map below; I am not sure whether you will be able to read it but I will show it to you anyway:

      http://images.nycsubway.org/trackmap/detail-jaydklb.png 

      • BrooklynBus

        I understand why it can’t be done during rush hours, but there is no reason why thy can’t cross the tracks to stop at DeKalb on weekends. It may be a little more work for the MTA but it would be a tremendous convenience for the passengers. Answer me this one. How come when I was a kid the only times th center tracks were used with trains skipping DeKalb was only during rush hours. If I remember correctly, the only trains that skipped DeKalb then were the Sea Beach trains. No trains skipped DeKalb on weekends. And I bet they even operated more trains then. So why now do both the D and N both have to skip DeKalb on weekends.

        • Flatbush Depot

          This is something I do not know the answer to. You should post the question on nyctransitforums.

          • BrooklynBus

            I don’t have time right now. Why don’t you ask if there is a legitimate reason why tey couldn’t do it? I’m pretty sure it’s only because it’s easier for them to skip DeKalb and they not give a damn that the Atlantic transfer is much more inconvenient than an across the platform transfer.

          • Flatbush Depot

            I will ask…

        • Andrew

          Because that would introduce delays for everybody riding through the area, including the (large) majority who has no interest in transferring between the Q and D at DeKalb.

          Going northbound, the D would have to make a slow crossing move to the local track north of Pacific to diverge from the N and merge with the R. (It’s a slow move because of the curves in the area. Speeding it up would require a major realignment of switches, at great cost and disruption.) Approaching DeKalb, it would then diverge from the R and merge with the Q. Finally, leaving DeKalb, it would diverge from the Q.

          Going southbound, the D would have to merge with the Q approaching DeKalb. Leaving DeKalb, it would diverge from the Q and merge with the R. Approaching Pacific, it would make a similar slow crossing move to diverge from the R and merge with the N.

          The D would have two additional merges, with two other lines, in each direction – which would invariably cause delays on all three lines, and probably even on the N. Even in the best case, if the D manages to get through the Pacific-DeKalb area being delayed or causing any delays, the slow crossing move alone probably costs 1-2 minutes.

          Is it worth slowing down service for all through D riders by 1-2 minutes, and introducing likely merging delays for most through N, Q, and R riders, in order to cut a few minutes’ walking time for people transferring between the Q and the D? I can’t answer that question definitively without seeing actual numbers (time penalties and probabilities and rider counts), but I suspect that the additional travel time and unreliability for D, N, Q, and R riders would outweigh the reduced transfer time between the Q and the D.

          When you were a kid, there was no free transfer between Atlantic and Pacific (and certainly not today’s ADA accessible transfer). And when you were a kid, there probably wasn’t the same attention paid to delays in service as there is now.

  • Andrew

    In late 2009, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz voted to divert $143 million from the MTA, most coming out of dedicated MTA taxes. As a result of that cut, the MTA had to quickly find a way to cut the operating budget. The B4 was one small piece of the plan that was implemented in 2010.

    Actions have consequences. Will Assemblyman Cymbrowitz take responsibility for his vote? Does he have a plan to mitigate the damage that he, in part, caused? Is Ben Akselrod paying attention? It looks like the community considers transportation an important issue.

    • Nomore

      Yeah, cause the MTA is the innocent victim in all this right? A certain MTA chairman a few years ago reminded us all that pubic transportation is for “the common folk”. Don’t know about you but that sounds to me as if someone sees themselves as a superior to everyone else. They could have slashed the countdown clocks from the budget (half the time those things don’t work anyway.) Hard to believe they couldn’t find any money from all the tolls they collect, taxes they assess on gas and electric bills and from all the jobs they’ve been cutting. Bloomberg is worth billions, why didn’t he make a generous donation to offset those cuts? Would have been chump change for him and would have been good for his image. Not saying anyone should be given a pass but if you are going to single out one person and place the blame on someone at least do it fairly and spread it around. There are a lot of factors that contributed. 

      • Lenny

        If you knew how much those countdown clocks really cost you would be very angry indeed. Try upwards of a billion dollars total cost! The MTA has many ways that it can cut their expenses and restore service (see MTAmoneythrownaway.com) but they have mis-placed priorities. They would much rather cut bus lines that people depend upon than cut one of their pet projects or move back to a building with out a view of the harbor. They have completely lost sight of the fact that they are supposed to be working for the public good.

        • Andrew

          Upwards of a billion dollars? Source, please?

          This document gives a cost of $171 million for the A Division PA/CIS system. If the cost grew sixfold, I’m curious how and when that happened.

      • BayResident

        Does anyone else feel that the countdown clocks are generally placed along lines like the 4,5,6 that run every 3-5 minutes, making them all the more useless? I could understand puting them along the routes where there is actually a wait, but otherwise, why bother?

        • ES

          Your use of the word “generally” probably makes my comment useless, but I found that, back in my days as a former subway commuter, the countdown clocks served to quell my anxiety somewhat (or, maybe they actually heightened it!) as I was impatiently waiting to transfer to the R train from the B at the DeKalb Avenue station. Still, they are kind of an unnecessary extravagance, if you ask me, which you didn’t.

          • Allan Rosen

            I already wrote an article entitled Misplaced Priorities. Another reason why legislators voted to cut MTA funding as Assemblyman Colton told me is that Albany is not sure that the MTA is spending its money wisely. Don’t forget in the 1980′s the MTA kept asking Albany for more money each year and they obliged. It was like a little kid who didn’t spend his allowance wisely. Finally they said enough is enough, and began to cut forcing the MTA to find efficiencies. East Side Access has been delayed again for 3 years, it’s third delay. Now scheduled for 2019, and each delay escalates costs. If the project would have been kept simple according to its original purpose, it would have been completed already. It’s not as simple as Andrew would like you to believe.

          • Andrew

            Don’t believe everything that politicians tell you.

            If Colton had voted to deny the MTA a gift, then his answer might have been reasonable. But this wasn’t a gift. The lion’s share of the diversion came out of tax revenues dedicated to the MTA

            The Metropolitan Mass Transportation Operating Assistance (MMTOA) Fund, established in 1981, consists of taxes collected in the 12-county MTA region. (These are the taxes @0abbb6e98894103ef985ddebcf6eb43c:disqus was complaining about above.) Its purpose is to pay for transit in the downstate region.

            But in 2009, both Colton and Cymbrowitz voted for a bill that took $118 million from this fund that should have gone to the MTA and instead divert it to the state’s general fund. They took $118 million that was collected in the downstate region on behalf of the MTA and instead scattered it around the state. They are directly responsible for the 2010 service cuts.

            Nicole Malliotakis gets it. Two years ago, she leveled this very accusation against Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer. Nicole Malliotakis is now Assemblywoman Malliotakis. I ask again, is Ben Akselrod paying attention?

            Read up: http://www.tstc.org/101/mta.php (a few years out of date but still quite worth reading)

        • Andrew

          The countdown clocks get their information from the ATS (Automatic Train Supervision) system that was recently installed on most of the A Division.

          The signal system tracks train movements, but without ATS it can’t identify what each train is. That’s why the low-tech countdown clocks at a few B Division stations, and the even lower-tech annunciators (the small electronic signs with red lettering), can show when a train is approaching and what track it’s approaching on but can’t give a letter or destination.

          As for frequency, if you’re comparing B Division train frequency on the branches to A Division train frequency on the trunks, you’re comparing apples to oranges. Besides, countdown clocks are especially useful on frequent lines, where a small delay can lead to severe overcrowding. If the clock shows an obvious delay in service, some riders will find other routes, alleviating the overcrowding just a bit.

  • limitednyc

    i believe that transit service i greater sheapsheadbay i preaty good. but could be inproved. As for the b4 service i trought it was a travisty when it was cut back. i don’t believe that sbs will ever be emplemented on the b44 do to conumnity & murchent outrage in betford  sty and crown hights. I do think the 44 will go artic and the $ that is saved by that should be spent by a re insistuted the ful b4.

    • BrooklynBus

      I thought the areas north of Sheepshead Bay supported the SBS. If all the Community Boards are against it, why are they allowed to ignore everyone’s wishes. Does any Board or group through which the route passes support it? The MTA always implies that most people are in favor of the plan.

      • Limitednyc

        everdently the commuities and  dot are talking. i believe among the problems are the northbond routing via bedford between flatbush av and fulton street and parking on nostrand south of fulton.  this is why it’s been  postponed  till sept 2013 so far. 

        • Flatbush Depot

          Source?

      • Andrew

        How dare the MTA try to improve bus service for B44 riders!!!

        • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 Adam Moreira

          If there is a route that needs improving, however, it’s the B46 or the B44 north of Brooklyn College. The B44 SBS will also miss a key destination in Kings County Hospital.

          SBS should be for crosstowns.

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  • Fredrick Wells

    I am in total support for the restoration of the B4 bus route as this because a Rush Hour only service to/from Sheepshead Bay whereas during Off Peak Hours people are forced to either walk to the B36 or take three buses which include the B44 with transfer to the B36 just to connect with the B4 at Coney Island Hospital. The B4 route must be restored to Full-time service (at least from 5 AM until 1 AM 7 Days a Week) while the B44 remains as current (even with Select Bus Service). The B4 route is not the only route that must return, but there is a major need to return local bus service along the Broadway corridor as people are unable to climb the stairs to access the J train (referring to the shortening of the Q24 bus route as my suggestion is to extend the Q56 to Woodhull Medical Center, extend the B83 to Ridgewood replacing the B20, extend the B82 to Gateway Center replacing the B83, extend the B25 to Ozone Park, Crossbay Blvd/Liberty Avenue (for connection to the B13 or Q8 to Gateway Center), combine the B12 and B16 bus routes into a single B12 route from Bay Ridge to Broadway Junction, extend the B65 to Broadway Junction, extend the Q24 to Utica Avenue/Eastern Parkway, return bus service along Union Street (the old B71 bus route) as a route extension of the B14, extend the B69 to City Hall in Manhattan and to New Utrecht Avenue/60th Street Station (D and N lines), extend the B70 to Downtown Brooklyn/Cadman Plaza va 3rd Avenue (replacing the old B37 and discontinuing the 8th Avenue service), extend either the M14A or M15 (new branch) to Williamsburg Bridge Plaza (replacing the B39), extend the B48 to Sunnyside, Queens (replacing the old B30 bus route), extend the Q33 bus route to Williamsburg Bridge Plaza via the Kosciusco Bridge (partially replacing the B24 bus route), and start a new B21 bus route spanning Bay Ridge in Brooklyn to JFK Airport in Queens (replacing both the B20 and the old B23 bus routes), a new Q57 Williamsburg to Flushing route via Greenpoint Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue (replacing the B24 bus route), and allow the B15 to stop at Crossbay Blvd and along the Conduit for Queens bus connections.

    • Fredrick Wells

      I’ll be there on Thursday!

    • Andrew

      And you’re offering to pay for that out of your own pocket? Because you’ve listed an awful lot of pricey improvements, and the MTA is certainly not in a position to pay for them.

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