All maps conceived and created by Allan Rosen. Click to enlarge

THE COMMUTE: Last week I criticized the MTA for referring to the proposed service restorations announced last month as “service investments.” Although 17 out of the 32 proposals are restorations and 15 are new services, these numbers are misleading because most of the proposed new services are minor in nature, such as adding overnight service on a route when buses usually operate hourly. On the basis of cost, the vast majority of the proposals are service restorations and only one-third of what was cut is being returned. Further, none of the new services proposed (click on New York City Transit) serves southern Brooklyn.

Last March, I did a two-part series of proposed bus route changes for southern Brooklyn. These are truly service investments. The proposals greatly improve access within southern Brooklyn by making many three-bus trips possible while using only one or two buses and providing alternatives to indirect subway trips via Downtown Brooklyn just to travel within southern Brooklyn.

First I described why we need better bus service. Then I described my proposals to combine the B2 with the B100; to truncate the B82 at Coney Island Avenue where the B50 previously terminated before it was combined with the B5; to extend the B2 via the B82 route to Coney Island and, to extend the B31 along 65th Street to Bay Ridge.

I also proposed a new Q51 from the Sheepshead Bay station following the existing B4 route in Sheepshead Bay and continuing along Knapp Street, Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue to the Rockaways. The Q51 would operate every 20 minutes. Combined with the B4, service to Sheepshead Bay station along Emmons would operate every 10 minutes instead of every 20.

I also proposed a change to the proposed B44 SBS. The reasons for the proposed changes were discussed in that two-part series so there is no need to reiterate them again.

The reason I am revisiting this subject now is because Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis hosted an MTA round table meeting at her office this past July 27th to discuss the future of public transportation in Southwest Brooklyn. During the meeting, a new 65th Street route was suggested, which would terminate at Lutheran Medical Center. No eastern terminus was specified. It is not known if the route mentioned was based on my March articles or was thought of independently. What is important, however, is that other communities within southern Brooklyn also see the need for such a route, and by working with them, we can make it a reality, just like we got the B4 restored.

Now is the time to suggest real service investments for southern Brooklyn, now that the MTA is considering them. Why should new services be provided only for Dumbo, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, East New York and Spring Creek when the need in southern Brooklyn is just as great? To illustrate just how much access would be improved with the proposals I suggested, I drew two maps showing current access and proposed access for the communities of Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach. The standards I used are a one-quarter mile walk to a bus route and a half-mile walk to a subway route, which is the industry standard.

Click to enlarge

You will notice the large number of areas in blue and purple on the Current Access Map. The purple represents access that is available only by bus and train via Downtown Brooklyn. The blue represents access by three or more buses requiring a double fare for those without unlimited ride cards.

Click to enlarge

In the Proposed Access Map, virtually all the blue and purple areas disappear. Most trips would be possible by one or two buses, by subway, or by bus and train at a single fare. That was my goal when I created the very successful Southwest Brooklyn changes in 1978.

At that time the MTA only accepted approximately 25 percent of my proposals. Over the years, a few more were accepted, such as extending Staten Island local routes from 95th Street to 86th Street and instituting a through 86th Street route from Fourth Avenue to McDonald Avenue and beyond. (I proposed that the B1 — which I called B86 — continue all the way to Shore Road and 101st Street, taking over the B16, which would be truncated to 86th Street.)

Independently, the MTA also accepted my B83 extension to Gateway Mall, which took them five years to study after initially rejecting the idea. (You can see my 2006 proposals for southern Brooklyn here, which also includes proposals to improve access to JFK Airport and to Gateway Mall in Spring Creek from southern Brooklyn.)

In 1978, the MTA started to make major changes to southern Brooklyn bus routes, but left the job incomplete. Now is the time to make true service investments in Southern Brooklyn bus service by revamping local bus routes. Merely adding one or two Select Bus Service routes and no subway extensions over the next few decades falls far short of what is needed. Buses can play a far greater role than they currently do.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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  • NeckRoadWarrior

    What’s your opinion on converting LIRR’s Bay Ridge Branch to subway service?

    • Allan Rosen

      I think that is an excellent idea. I also think the route could extend further east via Linden Boulevard via an el similar to the Airtrain. Linden Blvd is almost exclusively industrial in East New York. It could connect with the AirTrain in Howard Beach, serving JFK and also serve the Aqueduct Racino and Gateway Mall via a connecting bus line.

      • NeckRoadWarrior

        I’m more interested in a crosstown that allows riders to get to other lines without heading all the way down to Stillwell, or up to Atlantic, but this is the least of what it would accomplish.

      • quinyus

        Why not extend the 3 train via linden Blvd to JFK or restore the ROW as a railway with provisions to merge it with the Staten island railway? Give it the designation I or X line. End at Jackson heights those for JFK can use LIRR at east NY which needs an overhaul anyway.

        • Allan Rosen

          The 3 tracks currently go over Linden Blvd and past it. In 1969 there was a proposal to extend it to Starrett City, now Spring Creek Towers. That would have made sense. I’m not sure how much demolition would be required to extend it along Linden. Light Rail could run on the surface, but heavy rail would have to be elevated (or subway). Transferring to the LIRR would require multiple changes, and would therefore not be attractive. One or two buses to #3, to LIRR, then Airtrain or bus for rest of the trip.

          Ending at Jackson Heights would be accomplishing part of the Triboro RX. Why end it there?

          Merger with SIRT would require a new tunnel which is very unlikely to happen unless it’s for freight.

    • winson

      one problem, the Bay Ridge Branch is single track with no third rail, so it is basically building a new subway line from scratch (it also runs alongside the Sea Beach Line between 8th Avenue and New Utrecht Avenue). It is not like the conversion of the IND Rockaway Line and IRT Dyre Avenue Line or possibly the Whitestone Branch.

      • Allan Rosen

        It used to be two tracks before one of them was ripped out. I also believe the right of way may even be four tracks wide in certain parts.

        • NeckRoadWarrior

          Indeed. Although some forget, this used to be a passenger line with actual stations and platforms. One used to be quite near the Avenue H stop on the Brighton Line. There even used to be a spur connecting it to the LIRR Manhattan Beach Branch (You can see the ROW curve though Midwood to around back of the Midwood Library to meet it over Avenue J)

          • Allan Rosen

            I rode the line around 1999 on a fan trip.  It was was in July around 98 degrees and the windows on the LIRR cars we were in did not open and there were no fans.  It cost $40 but was a once in a lifetime experience that I always wanted to do.  You would be surprised to see how disorienting it was going through Bensonhurst at a 45 degree angle with the streets.  The worst part was the 7 minute tunnel we crawled through in East New York. It stunk awful from the brakes. There was no ventilation in the tunnel. 

          • sonicboy678

            I think I saw that train from my window. It was almost impossible to tell if I was just a crazy little kid for years after.

          • Allan Rosen

            I once stood on Utica Avenue around 1960 and counted the cars of one of the freight trains because they were so long.  I counted 102 cars.

      • NeckRoadWarrior

        It’s not “building a new subway line from scratch” basically or otherwise. Virtually the whole ROW can accommodate two tracks, or even four.

        Will there need to be some excavation, or re-excavation, for stations and installation of additional infrastructure? Obviously. However, the biggest obstacle to establishing a new line is securing the ROW (That’s Right-of-way, or route, for those unfamiliar with the term) and excavating or building it. That’s more than half the battle, and it’s already been done here. It’s consistently been the most maddening part of this (for decades) to the proponents of the branch being converted to subway use. It’s such a no-brainer.

        Incidentally, LIRR uses third rail as well, although it’s a different voltage and height/distance.

    • Subway Stinker

      More likely is to restore real freight service on the Bay Ridge branch to get trucks off the streets.  Sim. to Rep Jerry Nadler’s plan to have cross harbor tunnel/freight service. So far, he;s been working on that one for about 20 years?  So, I doubt any other of the proposals posted here will happen. Lots of Luck.

      • NeckRoadWarrior

        Nah, if something were to happen, it would be passenger service of some kind, but I do feel the line could, and probably would still accommodate freight service to some extent. The NY&A and/or SBR have used MTA lines, and I would bet if this line were to have four tracks laid down, there would be room to accommodate them here as well, even if only during off-peak hours on the center tracks.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    I’d definitely would like to see a route than ran from Sheepshead Bay to Rockaway, Queens. But perhaps it would serve better if it ran slightly north of where you wish to place it. Though I suppose Avenue Z already has enough bus traffic.

    • Allan Rosen

      An alternative would be to place it on the Belt Parkway which would be quicker fo Rockaway residents but would not provide service to Knapp Street, the UA Theaters or Kings Plaza. We also could reactivate the Rockaway ferry that used leave off the foot of Ocean Avenue. I think it went to Breezy Point and 116th Street.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        Putting a stop at Sheepshead Bay station and then running it on the Belt to Flatbush Avenue would have the additional advantage of making this route more desirable to subway users, who often are impatient about the slowed progress of buses.

        • bagels

          But the Q35 currently runs through Rockaway and it terminates at the junction. Running a bus on the belt looks nice on paper until there’s a fender bender, pothole repair or just sheer volume. Once you’re on the parkway, you’re stuck. There’s no jumping off at the next stop. What would the ridership be from SHB to Rockaway?

          • Allan Rosen

            I would suspect much of the ridership would be from Rockaway to Sheepshead Bay with return trips in the evening.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Some would go to Floyd Bennett Field, especially on weekends when there are events scheduled.

          • Allan Rosen

            Buses cannot go over the bridges east of Flatbush Avenue until they are rebuilt. The weight restrictions would not affect buses between Flatbush Av and Knapp Street.

      • Brightonresident

        The Belt Parkway is not built to accomodate buses!  The lanes are too narrow!!!  Remember the Belt is for Passenger CARS only, although there is little enforcement of that rule!!!!

        • Flatbush Depot

          Yes, now I remember why BM3s do not deadhead between Emmons Ave and Spring Creek depot via the Belt Pkwy and instead use Knapp/”U”/Utica/Flatlands; there are weight restrictions on the Belt……

          • sonicboy678

            Forget the weight! Those buses are about 11 feet tall!

  • bagels

    So Mill Basin and Marine Park will now be served by 1 bus instead of 2? Have you seen the crowds during the morning and evening rush hours? 

    • Allan Rosen

      Merging the routes does not necessarily mean cutting service in half. Generally it is more efficient to run two routes on the same street than one block apart. Service woud be dependant on the number of riders. The greatest savings woud be in the off peak.

  • Pingback: Southern Brooklyn Service Investments – Sheepshead Bites « Abolish Pest Control Serving Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York

  • Andrew

    Last week I criticized the MTA for referring to the proposed service restorations announced last month as “service investments.” Although 17 out of the 32 proposals are restorations and 15 are new services, these numbers are misleading because most of the proposed new services are minor in nature, such as adding overnight service on a route when buses usually operate hourly.

    Most? Only two of the proposals are for adding overnight service – the X1 and the Q27!

    There are five entirely new services and five extensions of existing services (I’m not counting the X17 extension to Tottenville because it could be thought of as a span extension on the X22, nor am I counting the G extension because it’s already running on a temporary basis).

    On the basis of cost, the vast majority of the proposals are service restorations

    The vast majority? Care to share your calculations? The five brand new services certainly look costly to me.

    and only one-third of what was cut is being returned.

    I thought your objection was that too many of the improvements were restorations. Now you’re saying that too few were restorations?

    The MTA didn’t hit on a pot of gold, nor did any of the elected officials who claimed credit for the improvements give the MTA a dime. The MTA had to be selective – there was a limit pot of money to go around.

    Further, none of the new services proposed (click on New York City Transit) serves southern Brooklyn.

    That’s because population growth in Southern Brooklyn has generally been weak (see this summary of population growth in New York City, page 13 in the PDF, which is labeled page 12). The strong growth in Brooklyn is in the north. There’s also been strong growth in West Midtown and in the South Bronx. The focus in developing new services should be newly emerging markets. That doesn’t mean that the current bus map in the rest of the city is perfect, but at least their service is mostly adequate.

    New York City Transit serves an entire city, not half of one borough.

    Last March, I did a two-part series of proposed bus route changes for southern Brooklyn. These are truly service investments. The proposals greatly improve access within southern Brooklyn by making many three-bus trips possible while using only one or two buses and providing alternatives to indirect subway trips via Downtown Brooklyn just to travel within southern Brooklyn.

    What you proposed last March (actually this May) was fantasy planning, not service investments. “Investments” implies that you had some sense of cost and of ridership and that your proposals were getting a good return on investment. Did your proposals address cost or projected ridership? No, you mention neither!

    Drawing lines on a map is easy. The hard part of transit planning is determining which of those lines have the potential to move large quantities of people at reasonable cost. I’ve already expressed, in the comments on your two articles, my strong doubts that your proposals would carry enough riders to make them worthwhile. And your B44 proposal would deprive Plumb Beach residents of direct SBS service – they’d have to either sit it out on the local or transfer. It’s almost as if you want to make it as hard as possible for Plumb Beach residents to get to the Flatbush Avenue station!

    You often bring up efficiency. Spending a limited pot of money on new services that don’t carry large numbers of riders is blatantly inefficient.

    To illustrate just how much access would be improved with the proposals I suggested, I drew two maps showing current access and proposed access for the communities of Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach.

    And how much demand is there for transit access to Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach?

    Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach are not particularly transit-dependent. They both have direct access to the Brighton line, and Marine Park has additional north-south bus service along Nostrand and Flatbush (your maps don’t seem to recognize those services, especially the B9, which cuts right through the purple and blue areas).

    How much demand is there for better service to the west, past the Brighton line? The MTA doesn’t the money to saturate the city (or even just Southern Brooklyn) with buses, just in case somebody wants to ride one.

    • Flatbush Depot

      Will you not go on about the 44 if others do not bring up the 44 please, you already made your point about it and so did about five other people for crying out loud…..

    • Allan Rosen

      Wow, you just never give up.  All you do is criticize, criticize, criticize.  I am proposing to make the routes more efficient by combining the B2 and the B100 to reduce waste while inconveniencing the fewest numbers of riders possible.  But you won’t even recognize that.
       
      The MTA has not yet revealed the exact routes of the service investments, the service span, or the frequency.  Judging from past experiences, new services are introduced at 30 minute headways and some without any weekend service and certainly no night service. And if their budget situation changes, they could even be postponed or cancelled, so its a little premature to speculate.
       
      “I thought your objection was that too many of the improvements were restorations. Now you’re saying that too few were restorations?”
       
      When did I ever say that? Restorations should get priority over new services.  Probably not all of the discontinuances need to be restored, but since a proper analysis was not done or at least not explained, it is difficult to tell.  The planning process was not transparent.  You can’t just say here are the criteria we used and here are our conclusions, which is waht the MTA did.  They needed to specifically explain how they got to their conclusions.
       
      What I proposed was hardly fantasy planning. Costs depend upon the levels od service provided. On my web page I showed the actual service levels I was proposing.  The MTA showed no interest in any of my proposals.  Why should I spend weeks working out new costs, when Operations Planning has the attitude that they are the experts and the only ones capable of doing planning and not willing  to listen to others unless there is a huge political outcry?
       
      Yes, population growth in southern Brooklyn is weak today.  The growth period occured between the end of World War II through the 1960s, with only minimal changes to the bus routes.  The time for major changes to the routing system was then. There are major deficiencies such as the lack of a direct route along Fort Hamilton Parkway to Maimonides Hospital which has consistantly grown over the years.  Those deficiencies cause indirect and time consuming travel, discouraging bus use.  That’s on my website.  I didn’t mention it here because it does not involve Sheepshead Bay. So we address new growth over the past five years before we address growth that occurred 50 years ago?  That makes sense to you?
       
       “I’ve already expressed, in the comments on your two articles, my strong doubts that your proposals would carry enough riders to make them worthwhile.”
       
      That is your opinion. How would you know how many riders the proposed routes would get?  You probably would have been against my proposed B1 too in 1978 which replaced the B21 and B34 and old B1.  The B21 ran every 15 minutes and the B1 every 20 minutes in rush hours.  The B34 ran every 10. The current B1 operates at 3 to 8 minute headways.  At least I have a successful track record when it comes to planning.  What kind of track record do you have?
       
      Yes. drawing lines on a map is easy, but I’ve done a lot more than that. My routes are based on 50 years of experience using, riding, and planning bus routes that were implemented and have been very successful but I don’t have to justify that to you.
       
      Not everyone in Marine Park has access to the B41 and B44 and most trips cannot be made on one or two buses or a bus and train(s).  Too many trips require double fare and three or more vehicles. People will resist making those trips by public transit.  You ask how much demand is there for access to Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach?  What about the demand to get from those places to the rest of Brooklyn.  I submit it is no less than it is from Sheepshead Bay or Brighton Beach where transit access is much better.
       
      When I proposed the B1 from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge in 1975, you probably would have asked the same thing saying there was no demand.  Of course there wasn’t because it took four buses to make that trip or three trains via Downtown Brooklyn.  Now the B1 buses are always jammed and people are making the trip between Bay Ridge and Brighton Beach because the service exists and if the buses were more reliable, usage would even be higher.
       
      No one is talking about saturating the city with services.  The distance between the B9 and B82 west of the Brighton Line is above what the planning guidelines allow and a bus on Avenue P and 65th Street rectifies that.  I am also proposing the 65th Street service be limited stop only to save on costs, so I am doing much more than just drawing lines on a map as you assert.
       
      You criticize my proposed SBS, but you think it is okay to run 5 minute service to the Junction and only 20 minute service from Plumb Beach to Sheepshead Bay Station as the MTA proposed, when most residents prefer the latter.
       
      Did you ever have to make a bus trip in southern Brooklyn where you can get to the Gateway Mall in 15 minutes by car from Sheepshead Bay and at least 90 minutes by bus? 
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

      • Flatbush Depot

        The 44 has been more frequent than the 4 on all sections of either route including Plumb Beach for like a decade or two

      • Flatbush Depot

        Although that is not to say they should not run the 4 more frequently; they absolutely should.

        I would be interested to see a pie chart showing me how many people living around the 44 SBS stops work in areas served exclusively by either the IRT or BMT though; seeing that would be a moment of truth.

        What you wrote about how the growth period in southern BK occurred over 50 years ago reminded me of the importance of “striking while the iron is hot.” Just a random thought

      • Andrew

        Wow, you just never give up.  All you do is criticize, criticize, criticize.

        Look in a mirror. You criticize when the MTA cuts service and you criticize again when the MTA restores service. I’m only responding.

        I am proposing to make the routes more efficient by combining the B2 and the B100 to reduce waste while inconveniencing the fewest numbers of riders possible.  But you won’t even recognize that.

        Because I don’t think the savings will amount to much, if anything. As “bagels” points out, the same level of service is still needed during rush hours, except that you’d increase costs by running all buses to Mill Basin (currently only the B100 runs that far out). You’d also increase bus access times for current B100 customers west of Flatbush and you’d eliminate service to Kings Plaza.

        If you’re suggesting eliminating service on the current B100 route west of Flatbush and on the B2 to Kings Plaza in order to pay for service improvements elsewhere, then you need to show that those service improvements are warranted (that is, that they’d get a lot of riders) and that the increase in access time for B100 riders and Kings Plaza customers is minor in comparison. Have you done that, or have you only drawn lines on a map?

        The MTA has not yet revealed the exact routes of the service investments, the service span, or the frequency.  Judging from past experiences, new services are introduced at 30 minute headways and some without any weekend service and certainly no night service.

        I highly doubt the MTA is proposing new bus routes without the expectation that they’ll be fairly busy – that is, warranting far more than 2 buses per hour, weekdays and weekends alike.

        And if their budget situation changes, they could even be postponed or cancelled, so its a little premature to speculate.

        The same can be said for all of the planned service improvements!
         

        When did I ever say that? Restorations should get priority over new services.  Probably not all of the discontinuances need to be restored, but since a proper analysis was not done or at least not explained, it is difficult to tell.  The planning process was not transparent.  You can’t just say here are the criteria we used and here are our conclusions, which is waht the MTA did.  They needed to specifically explain how they got to their conclusions.

        I think you mean that the MTA didn’t share a proper analysis with you. This may come as a shock, but the MTA is under no obligation to share its analyses with you. The planners have to be prepared to share an analysis with the President, and the President has to be prepared to share an analysis with the Board. You are neither the President nor a mamber of the Board.

        If you’d like to see the analysis, file a FOIL report.

        What I proposed was hardly fantasy planning. Costs depend upon the levels od service provided. On my web page I showed the actual service levels I was proposing.  

        Levels of service don’t tell the reader how much each proposal adds to the operating budget. It’s impossible to determine whether a particular proposal makes sense without a cost.

        Levels of service are determined by loads at the peak load point. Where are your ridership projections? A proposal for a new or extended or modified bus line without even a rough estimate of ridership is nothing. It is, as I said before, a line on a map. The core of planning is projecting ridership.

        The MTA showed no interest in any of my proposals.

        Because the MTA doesn’t have unlimited funds, and you consistently fail to make the case that your proposals are a good bang for the buck.

        Why should I spend weeks working out new costs, when Operations Planning has the attitude that they are the experts and the only ones capable of doing planning and not willing  to listen to others unless there is a huge political outcry?

        If you want to pretend that you’re a planner, you should take the time to work out costs and to project ridership, because that’s what planners do.

        Operations Planning most certainly does listen to others. But listening doesn’t mean that everybody gets what they want – the MTA’s budgetary constraints are significant, and sometimes what some people want and what other people want are in conflict, and somebody has to step in and decide what’s best overall.

        If you’re proposing something that increases operating costs, you need to make a strong case for it. How much does it cost, and how many people will benefit from it, and how great will the benefit be? This all needs to be quantified – otherwise it’s just lines on a map.

        Yes, population growth in southern Brooklyn is weak today.  The growth period occured between the end of World War II through the 1960s, with only minimal changes to the bus routes.  The time for major changes to the routing system was then. There are major deficiencies such as the lack of a direct route along Fort Hamilton Parkway to Maimonides Hospital which has consistantly grown over the years.  Those deficiencies cause indirect and time consuming travel, discouraging bus use.  That’s on my website.  I didn’t mention it here because it does not involve Sheepshead Bay. So we address new growth over the past five years before we address growth that occurred 50 years ago?  That makes sense to you?

        The bus network in southern Brooklyn is not perfect, of course, but neither is the bus network anywhere else in the city. I wouldn’t say that there are “major deficiencies” in the route layout (there are, in my opinion, major deficiencies in travel time and reliability).

        Don’t forget that much of the post-WWII growth was far more automobile-centric than had previously been traditional for Brooklyn. That limits the market for bus ridership substantially, as – for better or for worse – it’s hard for transit to compete with the automobile where parking isn’t a major challenge or expense. The subway (with bus connections as necessary) carries many southern Brooklyn residents into Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, because it’s the best way to get there – but for trips elsewhere in Brooklyn, it’s usually faster and easier to go by car. The more people have cars, the fewer will use transit, and spending a fortune trying to perfect the transit system will have only a modest impact on ridership. Whatever the imperfections, southern Brooklyn has gotten by with what it has.

        In contrast, much of the strong growth now – Williamsburg/Greenpoint, the Far West Side, the South Bronx – is not automobile-centric at all. Most of the new residents don’t have cars, and those who do have to put up with serious parking challenges. This is a very strong market of transit riders, and they use transit to get everywhere, not just to and from work.

        If you don’t think that’s fair, I suggest you take a look at the bus service in any any other automobile-centric area. Southern Brooklyn has phenomenal service in comparison.

        That is your opinion. How would you know how many riders the proposed routes would get?  You probably would have been against my proposed B1 too in 1978 which replaced the B21 and B34 and old B1.  The B21 ran every 15 minutes and the B1 every 20 minutes in rush hours.  The B34 ran every 10. The current B1 operates at 3 to 8 minute headways.  At least I have a successful track record when it comes to planning.  What kind of track record do you have?

        Your “successful track record” ended three decades ago. It’s 2012 now. What planning successes have you had since 1978? The rest of us have moved on.

        Yes. drawing lines on a map is easy, but I’ve done a lot more than that. My routes are based on 50 years of experience using, riding, and planning bus routes that were implemented and have been very successful but I don’t have to justify that to you.

        No, you don’t have to justify it to me personally. But if you post an article on a blog, you should be prepared to defend it to your readers. More importantly, if you want any of these changes to actually happen, you need to defend them to the MTA. You haven’t done that yet.

        Yet while you post your lines-on-a-map on a blog and refuse to give any quantitative backup, you complain that the MTA doesn’t share its analyses with you.

        Is it your 50 years of experience that leads you to believe that Beverley gets much more ridership than Cortelyou? Because in fact the ridership at Cortelyou is twice that at Beverley.

        (By the way, you were a planner for less than 10 years, not for 50.)

        Not everyone in Marine Park has access to the B41 and B44 and most trips cannot be made on one or two buses or a bus and train(s).  Too many trips require double fare and three or more vehicles. People will resist making those trips by public transit.  

        Marine Park is less than a mile wide (east-west). Virtually all of Marine Park is within a half-mile walk of either the B41 or the B44.

        Marine Park is a relatively low density area with high automobile usage. Regardless of what you do with the buses, transit isn’t going to be very popular among Marine Park residents, except to go to Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. Even direct bus service to Bensonhurst would take several times longer than driving, so why would anybody with access to a car take the bus? The existing bus service, while not perfect, is adequate for the relatively small number who don’t have access to a car.

        You ask how much demand is there for access to Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach?  What about the demand to get from those places to the rest of Brooklyn.  I submit it is no less than it is from Sheepshead Bay or Brighton Beach where transit access is much better.

        Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach are significantly denser than Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach. They also have subway service, so the bus routes serving the neighborhoods double as feeders from elsewhere to the subway.

        When I proposed the B1 from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge in 1975, you probably would have asked the same thing saying there was no demand.  Of course there wasn’t because it took four buses to make that trip or three trains via Downtown Brooklyn.  Now the B1 buses are always jammed and people are making the trip between Bay Ridge and Brighton Beach because the service exists and if the buses were more reliable, usage would even be higher.

        I doubt many people ride the B1 from Brighton Beach all the way to Bay Ridge. The B1 has heavy turnover, with most of the traffic relatively short-distance. It’s a long, slow ride all the way across, but it’s a quick drive on the Belt.

        No one is talking about saturating the city with services.  The distance between the B9 and B82 west of the Brighton Line is above what the planning guidelines allow and a bus on Avenue P and 65th Street rectifies that.  I am also proposing the 65th Street service be limited stop only to save on costs, so I am doing much more than just drawing lines on a map as you assert.

        The N train fills the gap south of the B9. Running a limited stop bus along the same corridor as the N train is absurd.

        You criticize my proposed SBS, but you think it is okay to run 5 minute service to the Junction and only 20 minute service from Plumb Beach to Sheepshead Bay Station as the MTA proposed, when most residents prefer the latter.

        I think both lines should be scheduled according to demand at the peak load point, as per NYCT policy (and the policy of most major transit agencies). Plumb Beach is at the far end of both lines, nowhere near the peak load point for either. Bus service is not scheduled 

        Did you ever have to make a bus trip in southern Brooklyn where you can get to the Gateway Mall in 15 minutes by car from Sheepshead Bay and at least 90 minutes by bus?

        Who travels from Sheepshead Bay to Gateway Mall by bus?! Gateway Mall is designed for easy access by automobile, not by transit. Sheepshead Bay residents without cars do their shopping elsewhere.

        • sonicboy678

          “(By the way, you were a planner for less than 10 years, not for 50.)”
          Alright, that tears it. You obviously love twisting messages. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be doing so. Of course he wasn’t a planner for 50 years; he dealt with buses for 50 years, which INCLUDES the time as a planner.

          • Andrew

            I know lots of people who have dealt with buses for 50 years, but they don’t claim to have expertise that they don’t.

            He claims to have a “successful track record when it comes to planning,” but he keeps pointing back to his work in 1978. If I were applying for a job, claiming that I was an expert in the field, but my resume didn’t show any experience in the field in three decades, I wouldn’t get a single interview.

        • sonicboy678

          Oh, by the way, NOT EVERYONE HAS A CAR OR A LICENSE. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT NEED BUSES OR ACCESS-A-RIDES TO GO WHERE THEY HAVE TO GO. Apparently, though, you seem to disregard this completely.

          • Andrew

            I don’t have a car myself. That doesn’t change the fact that transit cannot possibly provide a quick, frequent service from any point in the city to any other point in the city. (That’s why there are taxis and car services…)

    • Bus Rider Robert Joe Moynihan

      I agree with everything you wrote. Very good comments there Andrew. The author’s response to your comments was painfully lacking and inadequate.

    • sonicboy678

      “You often bring up efficiency. Spending a limited pot of money on new services that don’t carry large numbers of riders is blatantly inefficient.”Tell that to whoever decided to put SBS on the S79. (Placing that on a route with average 8,000 daily when other bus routes have more? Really?)

      • Flatbush Depot

        Although, SBS lines are cheaper to operate than LCL/LTD/EXP bus lines.

        The S79 sounds like a bullshit SBS plan though. Worse than the M34/A. Last time I heard there will be no off-board fare collection on the 79

        • sonicboy678

          Not to mention that it would probably reduce ridership on the route further thanks to decreased access!

        • Flatbush Depot

          @266c9f22baa38d698e89d296e81d532b:disqus: Could you clarify that? I do not know the 79 all too well

          • sonicboy678

            What I mean is that taking a local route straight to SBS will remove many points of access. People would then have to rely more on the S59 and S78 to access local stops. (I looked this up; to be honest, I’m not familiar with SI. That’s not to say I don’t want to be; I haven’t ever lived there, so that inhibits some access to knowledge.)

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

    I’d take a different tweak on the B31 one…instead of having it end as planned, I’d route it up 13 Avenue to 60 Street and have it serve 13 and 14 Avenues in Boro Park, ending at 36 Street…and reassign the B31 to Gleason, where it would be about a 5-minute run-on and run-off. Otherwise, that’s a great idea to extend the B31. To make room for the B31, I would split the B9 between Gleason and Flatbush.

    The problem I see with restoring the B82 to what was the B50 is that you do have a significant amount of through-ridership on Kings Highway…and the reliability issues on THAT still aren’t fixed—and might not be fixed unless you can have part of the B82 out of Ulmer Park, which might require moving the B3 to Flatbush. (The B82 – and B8 – was split between Ulmer Park and East New York until the X27 was moved to Ulmer Park.)

    What other tweaks I would make: B2: Keep it as a Midwood to Mill Basin route, but have alternate trips run via Avenue U instead of Fillmore to serve Kings Plaza. As for the B82 – to Spring Creek, divert it to Avenue N and have it follow Flatlands Avenue without using Flatbush Avenue, and westbound to Coney Island (I’d keep the B82 as is), have the route use Avenue M to and from Kings Highway instead, and avoid the turns at Flatbush Avenue. This would also be for network coverage.

    @4f71a0b5bf3d1e5c1511f1285ee4dbc9:disqus - Actually, it isn’t the narrow lanes—it’s the weight limits. If MTA Bus and NYC Bus are ever fully integrated, there has to be a way to assign the BM1, BM3, and BM4 to Flatbush…if it were me, I’d move the B44 to Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, Queens (the B47 is already assigned to Grand Avenue).

    • Brightonresident

      Adam, IT IS the narrow lanes and the size of the buses…  The Belt is for PASSENGER CARS only!!!  It is not an interstate Highway!!!  Vehicles (like SUV’s, trucks, etc.) DO NOT belong on the Belt!

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

        Buses can use the Belt Parkway west of Exit 9 and east of Exit 14…as it is now, the lanes are narrow because of reconstruction.

        • Brightonresident

          The lanes are narrow because that is how the Belt was built– They have 10 foot lanes!!!  And see you said it yourself- “That the Belt Parkway isn’t suitable for buses”!

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

            A bus is 8 feet 6 inches wide over its body—with mirrors; mirrors add about another 14 inches to the width.

            Right now, the problem isn’t the width, as the MTA has an NYCDOT permit to use parkways—and does (where weight limits don’t otherwise preclude the use), but the outdated bridges which the NYSDOT is in the process of replacing—the Mill Basin and Plumb Creek bridges are next for replacement, and the Paerdegat Basin and Fresh Creek bridges are being replaced right now. The main problem had been the Paerdegat Basin bridge; fire trucks can safely pass over the Mill Basin drawbridge.

          • Allan Rosen

            No one is proposing to use any of those bridges before they are rebuilt. As far as the width is concerned, exceptions are always made. For example, on Ocean Parkway, the bus is actually wider than the left turn lane it uses at Brighton Beach Avenue for the B1.

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

            However, in the interim, having to deadhead from Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach, and Mill Basin to the Spring Creek Depot is driving up costs. Moving them to Flatbush would free up money (through reduced fuel costs) to implement many of these plans. The width is almost never an issue – it’s the weight limits. (For Flatbush, it may also be an issue of: are MCIs too high for the garage?)

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  • Bus Rider Robert Joe Moynihan

    “Why should new services be provided only for Dumbo, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, East New York and Spring Creek when the need in southern Brooklyn is just as great?”
    How do you know that the need is just as great?

    • Allan Rosen

      Go to my website http://BrooklynBus.tripod.com and read he rationale for straightening the B16 along Fort Hamilton Parkway and providing a through route along 13th Avenue. The latter should have been done in 1936 after the bridge over the Sea Beach line was completed. The need today is even greater as Maimonides Hospital has continually expanded from a local hospital to a major hospital serving a good portion of southern Brooklyn with many doctors offices located nearby. In 1978, I corrected the inefficient routes not adequately serving Coney Island Hospital, but the MTA refused to do the same for Maimonides back then. The need is even greater today. That is only one example. There is also no way to get to JFK Airport. One route, the B15, is woefully inadequate in serving the entire borough. A second route is sorely needed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000598927926 Vinny LaFaro

    65th St line should be terminated at 4 Ave/59 St (N)(R) Station, 12-13 Aves doesnt make any sense, maybe 8 Ave-Chinatown.

    • Allan Rosen

      I was trying to keep extra costs to a minimum and just have it connect with the B64.

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  • Lynnie

    Having Q51 on B4 route in Sheepshead Bay then continuing along Knapp Street, to Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue to the Rockaways. would be my dream bus route I live off Knapp to get to Avenue U or Kings Plaza. requires circuitous B44 to B3.I have often wondered why does Knapp street have no bus service? Even just extending B4 to avenue U then do turn on U would provide many residents access to buses

    • Allan Rosen

      It’s because the MTA’s goal is not to improve service but to reduce costs. My goal in 1978 was to improve service and we had some battle with the MTA to get that accomplished.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.sonek Lynn Sonek

        Still makes no sense to have ABSOLUTLEY no bus service on Knapp wouldnt it increase ridership B4 just extends to Ave U

        • Allan Rosen

          It definitely would increase ridership but it also would increase costs. The questions is if the increased ridership would more than offset the additional costs. Traditionally, the MTA has not wanted to experiment to find out. Theoretically, their model should be able to predict that before they try it, but as I’ve stated, no one knows how well it works except the MTA.

          I’ve also thought about rerouting the B36 along Avenue W to Knapp Street to Avenue U.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.sonek Lynn Sonek

            Still that wouldnt cover residents near knapp street from emmons avenue to Avenue U get to Keyfood, Kings plaza .Vice a versa Ave U B3 transfer riders could get to plumb beach the bay,movie theatre,fridays etc etc.Gotta be ridership interest in this route extension thus an increased revenue to justiify any costs to have B4 make just 6 more stops to U & turn around ala B36 on Nostrand instead of just ending at Voorhies Knapp st is poorly unserved by public transportation..Maybe hopefully this will change.Thanks for your public interest appreciate it

          • Allan Rosen

            Unfortunately, the route is already long and when extending a route, they look at miles not additional stops or extra time, so chances are slim it will be extended ever.

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