This Is No Way To Plan


Burgeoning F train ridership. Source: abrunete / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: I have often been critical of MTA route planning. Last week I asked what faulty methodology resulted in truncating the B4 at Coney Island Hospital on weekends, middays and evenings when service was cutback in 2010. The original plan was to truncate the line at all times until I provided data showing that the route was well utilized on weekdays at 2:30 p.m., with seated or nearly seated loads at Ocean Parkway and Neptune Avenue. Despite that data, the MTA still decided to reroute the bus from Neptune to Avenue Z where it was already served by the B36. That decision was rescinded two weeks ago.

Another fault with that plan, which I criticized at the time, was that it created a one-way transfer between the B68 and B4 during the times the B4 terminated at a Coney Island Hospital. So how does the MTA make their planning decisions? They first draw their conclusions, then manipulate the data to support them rather than testing their hypotheses in an objective fashion. When justifying their 2010 service cutbacks, they minimized the ill effects by inaccurately measuring walking distances to alternate routes and by providing unrealistic alternatives.

When proposing new routes or extensions, they usually do not consider the potential of additional ridership — only the additional operating costs involved. For that reason, all improvements are balanced with service reductions that unnecessarily harm passengers in order to even out costs. One exception was a Queens bus rerouting when the Aqueduct Racino began operation more than a year ago.

That analysis failed to take into consideration the inconvenience to existing riders, but magically assumed that the change would generate 400 new riders per day. Coincidentally, that was the exact number needed to balance the additional operating costs. No backup was provided as to how the additional patronage was projected. When I once suggested a bus route modification, it was rejected solely for the additional expense, which would have required only two new riders per trip to balance the increased operating costs. Those were exaggerated anyway because the additional mileage was overestimated and the fact that running time would remain unchanged was not considered. That is in the past now.

What About The Future?

The MTA claims to use computer modeling in planning Select Bus Service (SBS) routes, but has not revealed any of its assumptions. It should be able to predict additional patronage and ridership shifts resulting from proposed route changes if it works properly. However, the benefits of SBS have been exaggerated and the disadvantages minimized. The only measures — used to evaluate its success or failure — are running-time savings and additional route patronage, not even considering that some “new” patronage may merely be riders attracted from other routes. However, that still does not tell the complete story.

Often, local service is denigrated once SBS is instituted. At the September meeting of the PCAC NYCT Transit Riders Council, Council Member Trudy Mason remarked the following:

“…She stated that on 2nd Avenue, the SBS buses come along at a rapid rate and there are no M15 local buses available for riders who want them. She said that she stood for 27 minutes at the stop between 85th and 86th Streets and that five SBS buses passed the stop before a local bus arrived.”

The MTA continues to push forward with additional proposed routes despite not performing proper evaluations of existing routes. The B44 SBS will commence later this year, and along Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens in the next few years. The MTA makes a few changes, like adding stops due to community opposition, but instituting SBS in the selected corridors is a foregone conclusion.

The Future Of The F Express

In the early 1990s, the MTA briefly considered re-instituting the F Express in Brooklyn, but dropped the idea because of the increase in operating costs. Now they are considering it once again, but only in Park Slope, where there are four tracks — not in Southern Brooklyn, where the three tracks would permit express service only in the peak direction. Again, rather than performing an objective study to determine if the return of express service is warranted by weighing the costs, and the effects of ridership, they have already arrived at their conclusions, which are to reinstitute express service north of Church Avenue — only without stopping at Bergen Street, as it had done in the past — and retaining the G extended to Church Avenue permanently.

At the same PCAC meeting, Jay Krantz, NYC transit director, Rail Network Planning, discussed the future of the Culver Line following the completion of the Culver viaduct rehabilitation. Retaining the G to Church Avenue, which was brought about through community pressure, not by the MTA’s own initiative, was justified by stating: “[T]he extension of the G train to Church Avenue on a permanent basis will continue a time savings for riders of about one and a half minutes per trip.” An F express north of Church Avenue was justified for further study by stating: “[T]wo-way express service between Church Avenue and Jay Street (would save) 4 minutes in travel time for riders.”

However, when asked why there would not be one-way F express between Church Avenue and Kings Highway, Mr. Krantz stated: “[I]t offers little or no net travel time benefit and so is not recommended for future study.” It would save at least two minutes, which the MTA apparently does not consider significant. However, added to the projected four-minute savings by operating expresses north of Church Avenue, a six- or seven-minute savings would have resulted for residents of Gravesend and Coney Island.

Does anyone else see this contradiction in logic that a two or three minute savings is called “insignificant” when the MTA does not want to make a change, while a one-and-a-half-minute savings is significant, in the case of the G, where the MTA has already decided to make a temporary change permanent? Contradictions in MTA planning logic are nothing new. It is something I have been pointing out for 40 years. Proposing to lengthen any bus route results in a response that the route would become unreliable, except when the MTA makes the proposal, when decreased reliability is not a factor.

Conclusion

Responsible planning projects new and lost ridership, as well as considering the effects on neighboring routes. The MTA makes no such projections. Increased ridership on the M15 SBS was used to measure success, but no one considered the possibility that the bulk of the “new” ridership may have merely shifted from neighboring routes. In deciding the future of the F express, the MTA, again, is only concerned with existing ridership — not the effects on other routes or additional ridership generated.

Presently, many who live between the F line and the B/Q lines choose the Brighton line, even if it is further away, because it operates an express while the F does not. Even when there is no Brighton Express, the MTA admits that beachgoers choose the Q over the F making it more crowded. Those living equidistant between the F and the D, choose the D because it operates express at least part way. An F express from southern Brooklyn would help equalize ridership between the D, F, and B/Q, and would mean quicker trips and better service for most. Perhaps, the MTA would arrive at the same conclusion if only they would not draw their conclusions before embarking on their “studies,” instead of after.

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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  • wallyhorse

    As for the idea of an (F) express, what I would be looking at doing is this:

    1. Do all work necessary to re-open the lower level of Bergen Street so
    express trains can stop there. This can be the last transfer point
    before the lines split up going north/first transfer point going south.

    2. The (C) is diverted from the 8th Avenue line at West 4th joins the
    (G) as a full-time Culver Local to Church Avenue. This gives Culver
    riders a one-seat ride on the 8th Avenue Line (including direct service to Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and the Port Authority Bus Terminal as well as to the upper west
    side (on Central Park West) they don’t currently have. This would run at all times except nights
    unless ridership warrants having the (C) operate all times.

    3. The (E) is extended at all times to Euclid Avenue to replace the (C)
    and overnights is extended to Lefferts to replace that shuttle. For
    those who absolutely need to use the current (E) platform at
    Chambers-WTC, a supplemental line running 2-5 TPH, the (K) would run at
    all times between Chambers and 168th Street (this would allow the (A) to
    run express during the overnights). The (K)’s purpose would be to
    simply supplement lower Manhattan service along the 8th Avenue line for
    those going uptown and are too lazy to walk from WTC to the (A)
    platform, that’s why it would only be 2-5 TPH. Also, to prevent overloading of the Cranberry tunnel, during rush hours some (E) trains would operate as they do now to and from Chambers Street-WTC.

    4. The (F) runs express at all times on the Culver Line, except
    overnights when the (C) would not be running and the current service
    patterns would be in effect.

    This would have the problem of the (C), (F) and (M) all stopping on the
    local track at Broadway-Lafayette, but we are likely talking about maybe
    32-33 TPH and only during rush hours. To me, that’s a small price to
    pay for increasing service on the Culver Line and giving Culver riders a
    new option of 8th Avenue Line/Upper West Side service they don’t
    currently have. Culver local riders looking for 6th Avenue stations
    south of West 4th simply would be riding the (C) train to those stations
    as opposed to the (F) and if they need the 6th Avenue line can make a same platform
    transfer at Broadway-Lafayette for the B/D/F/M. This also would give
    (6) riders a new transfer (except overnights) to/from the 8th Avenue
    line at Broadway-Lafayette.

    The new project on the West Side Yards likely to me will warrant such a change anyway. Some in Park Slope may not like it, but those at local stations along there could make a same platform transfer at Broadway-Lafayette to the (B), (D), (F) or (M) trains there. Another side benefit is Fulton line riders looking for midtown on the 8th Avenue line could switch from the (A) or (E) to the (C) at Jay Street and skip lower Manahattan altogether. Those would be major side benefits to this change if done this way.

    • Allan Rosen

      I’m all for more service and I’m glad you mentioned the west side yards development as the impetus to justify the additional costs such massive improvements would entail. I doubt however the MTA will agree to additional service especially in the “outer boroughs” because of Manhattan development.

      I also agree with doing the work to reopen the lower level of Bergen Street which apparently the MTA has no interest in doing at least right now. They won’t have money in the future either as long as they keep dragging out and adding costs to East Side Access.

      • wallyhorse

        I agree the MTA may not want to do it because of the costs, but I would think the return on investment would be worth it, especially with the West Side Yards project just starting now. My way would have BOTH 6th and 8th Avenue service, and if ridership warrants, you could even extend the (C) to Coney Island as well to give Coney Island riders an 8th Avenue option they don’t currently have..

        • Allan Rosen

          The MTA does not make changes in anticipation, only after many years and after much community outcry, and even then it may not help. It took them 3 years just to extend the B46 a few blocks after Kings Plaza opened. When they extended the B13 to Gateway Center in Spring Creek, it didn’t happen the first day either, and when it did, they would only run buses every 30 minutes. It is still a two fare ride for many.

          There has to be significant political will and power to push them to make improvements.

        • John of the Bronx

          I fully agree with your proposal for service diversification, a concept which I push at every opportunity. Your idea would give direct 8th Avenue service to the Culver and to Coney Island (the train could shortline at Avenue X). This would benefit riders now and certainly in the future with Far West Side development. It would also boost local trains and remove an impediment to a full length F express.
          I have a slightly different take on the routing. At present, there are E trains running to 179th St. If this service was formalized and slightly expanded (all day), E trains labelled with a diamond or a new letter could run the route.
          This would avoid re-routing the C trains, leave enough regular E trains at WTC and avoid resurrecting the old K train. I feel that the K designation belongs to East New York.
          It’s great that you’re aware of the bottleneck between West 4th St. and 2nd Avenue. It could be a problem to route all C trains during rush hour. Likewise, merging regular E trains with the A between Canal St. and Hoyt Schermerhorn would be a problem. With the E diamond service, you just might get away with it.
          Unfortunately MTA Operations Planning rejects most ideas which a pro-rider or hides them for a number of years to then present as their own.

          • wallyhorse

            I’m well aware of the potential bottleneck between West 4th and 2nd Avenue, but even then, that bottleneck would probably be relatively minor because the combined service levels would be 32-33 TPH, not too far over the 30TPH threshold.

            As noted, the (E) as I would do it during rush hours would have SOME trains run as they do now to Chambers and go back from there to avoid overcrowding in the Cranberry Street tunnel. The (K) supplement would be specifically to placate to those who are too lazy to walk to the (A) platform at Chambers-WTC and those who do actually go from lower Manhattan to and from the Upper West SIde and don’t want to have to even switch to the (A) to get to lower Manhattan. That’s why the (K) at max would be 5TPH in rush hours.

            One other option I didn’t mention previously would be to have the (F) terminate with the (G) at Church Avenue (with limited (F) service running to Kings Highway and Coney Island as is presently done in rush hours) while the (C) replaces the (F) as the full-time train to Coney Island (with the (C) running 24/7). This gives Coney Island riders a full-time 8th Avenue option since and they would still have a full-time 6th Avenue option in the (D) from there. The few who actually ride from CI to the Queens Boulevard Line can simply take the (D) to anywhere on the 6th Avenue line and switch to the (F) between Broadway-Lafayette and 47th-50th OR the (Q) to anywhere it connects with the (R).

            Just my thoughts.

    • peppertree5706

      Why not have the E terminate at Lefferts Blvd. at all times and have all A trains terminate in Rockaway (after the route is re-opened).

      • wallyhorse

        The idea is to have the (E) replicate the current (C) in Brooklyn, however, overnights the (E) could easily run to Lefferts to replace the overnight shuttle if it is running 24/7.

  • Andrew

    When proposing new routes or extensions, they usually do not consider the potential of additional ridership — only the additional operating costs involved. For that reason, all improvements are balanced with service reductions that unnecessarily harm passengers in order to even out costs.

    That’s certainly not the case. What service reductions balanced the large package of service improvements implemented on January 6?

    The MTA claims to use computer modeling in planning Select Bus Service (SBS) routes, but has not revealed any of its assumptions. It should be able to predict additional patronage and ridership shifts resulting from proposed route changes if it works properly. However, the benefits of SBS have been exaggerated and the disadvantages minimized. The only measures — used to evaluate its success or failure — are running-time savings and additional route patronage, not even considering that some “new” patronage may merely be riders attracted from other routes. However, that still does not tell the complete story.

    Often, local service is denigrated once SBS is instituted. At the September meeting of the PCAC NYCT Transit Riders Council, Council Member Trudy Mason remarked the following:

    “…She stated that on 2nd Avenue, the SBS buses come along at a rapid rate and there are no M15 local buses available for riders who want them. She said that she stood for 27 minutes at the stop between 85th and 86th Streets and that five SBS buses passed the stop before a local bus arrived.”

    Travel times have dropped, satisfaction rates are astonishingly high (95%+, as I recall), and ridership has gone up (on the SBS and local combined). The M15 local is never scheduled with a headway of 27 minutes or longer except in the middle of the night (when the SBS doesn’t run), so Ms. Mason was obviously witness to a service disruption. If it’s any consolation to her, I’ve experienced similar service disruptions on the SBS.

    Do you understand the difference between data and anecdotal reports? During your brief tenure as a professional planner, did you base your planning decisions on data or on anecdotes? If you ignore the wealth of data demonstrating SBS to be a success and instead latch onto one person’s report of a long wait for the local, I think I understand why your tenure as a professional planner was brief.

    The MTA continues to push forward with additional proposed routes despite not performing proper evaluations of existing routes. The B44 SBS will commence later this year, and along Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens in the next few years. The MTA makes a few changes, like adding stops due to community opposition, but instituting SBS in the selected corridors is a foregone conclusion.

    I don’t know why you keep bringing up Woodhaven. The only active SBS plans at present are the B44, the Bx41, and a collection of routes to LaGuardia Airport.

    A small number of complainers notwithstanding, communities have generally been very supportive of SBS.

    In the early 1990s, the MTA briefly considered re-instituting the F Express in Brooklyn, but dropped the idea because of the increase in operating costs. Now they are considering it once again, but only in Park Slope, where there are four tracks — not in Southern Brooklyn, where the three tracks would permit express service only in the peak direction. Again, rather than performing an objective study to determine if the return of express service is warranted by weighing the costs, and the effects of ridership, they have already arrived at their conclusions, which are to reinstitute express service north of Church Avenue — only without stopping at Bergen Street, as it had done in the past — and retaining the G extended to Church Avenue permanently.

    No decision has been made to reinstitute express service north of Church Avenue. That is, in fact, exactly the question that is being studied. Personally, I doubt it will go anywhere; the local stations are too busy.

    At the same PCAC meeting, Jay Krantz, NYC transit director, Rail Network Planning, discussed the future of the Culver Line following the completion of the Culver viaduct rehabilitation. Retaining the G to Church Avenue, which was brought about through community pressure, not by the MTA’s own initiative, was justified by stating: “[T]he extension of the G train to Church Avenue on a permanent basis will continue a time savings for riders of about one and a half minutes per trip.” An F express north of Church Avenue was justified for further study by stating: “[T]wo-way express service between Church Avenue and Jay Street (would save) 4 minutes in travel time for riders.”

    However, when asked why there would not be one-way F express between Church Avenue and Kings Highway, Mr. Krantz stated: “[I]t offers little or no net travel time benefit and so is not recommended for future study.” It would save at least two minutes, which the MTA apparently does not consider significant. However, added to the projected four-minute savings by operating expresses north of Church Avenue, a six- or seven-minute savings would have resulted for residents of Gravesend and Coney Island.

    You missed one key word: NET. Trains would save about 2 minutes (I doubt any more than that), and the people on those trains would save 2 minutes, but the people at the local stops would lose time by having to wait twice as long for a train. The net travel time savings would be small, because the shorter rides for people boarding at express stops would be mostly offset by the longer waits for people boarding at local stops.

    You also quoted selectively. Here’s what it said on the subject: “At this point, there are two major options for restoring express service. The first of these is comparable to what was in place in 1976. It features one-way express service to Kings Hwy and requires a new switch configuration south of Kings Highway. In spite of its substantial cost and potential for operational conflicts from the short turns of some trains, it offers little or no net travel time benefit and so is not recommended for future study. A second concept features two-way express service between Church Avenue and Jay Street, saving 4 minutes in travel time for riders. It is recommended for future study.” Running express service south of Church would require capital investment to reconfigure an interlocking and would create conflicts with short-turns (which need to get to the middle track at Kings Highway to terminate), imposing new delays for all. If it’s clear from the outset that the net travel time savings would not be large enough to justify the expense of interlocking reconfiguration – and I think that’s pretty clear here – there’s no need to study any further.

    Does anyone else see this contradiction in logic that a two or three minute savings is called “insignificant” when the MTA does not want to make a change, while a one-and-a-half-minute savings is significant, in the case of the G, where the MTA has already decided to make a temporary change permanent? Contradictions in MTA planning logic are nothing new. It is something I have been pointing out for 40 years.

    Do you really not understand the difference between time savings for a train and net travel time savings for the riders?

    The G extension was supposed to be permanent until budget cuts made it temporary. Last year it was made permanent again. Church is a much better terminal for the G than Smith-9th – aside from serving riders at five additional stations, it reduces delay to the following F train. It also improves connectivity by allowing a direct transfer between the G and the R. And, unlike any form of F express, it doesn’t hurt anyone.

    Proposing to lengthen any bus route results in a response that the route would become unreliable, except when the MTA makes the proposal, when decreased reliability is not a factor.

    Nonsense. One strike against a bus route lengthening is that doing so typically reduces reliability. If there’s a strong argument in favor, that’s often enough to outweigh the loss in reliability.

    In the case of the G, Smith-9th has only one relay position while Church has two. That allows for more recovery time to be scheduled, which increases reliability, despite the increased length. Compared to other subway lines, the G is still one of the shortest.

    Presently, many who live between the F line and the B/Q lines choose the Brighton line, even if it is further away, because it operates an express while the F does not. Even when there is no Brighton Express, the MTA admits that beachgoers choose the Q over the F making it more crowded. Those living equidistant between the F and the D, choose the D because it operates express at least part way. An F express from southern Brooklyn would help equalize ridership between the D, F, and B/Q, and would mean quicker trips and better service for most. Perhaps, the MTA would arrive at the same conclusion if only they would not draw their conclusions before embarking on their “studies,” instead of after.

    F trains are quite crowded at the peak load point (Mr. Krantz says 85 percent of guideline and 2nd Avenue). The bulk of that ridership boards at a few busy stations north of Church. There is certainly no need to attract riders away from the Brighton line, which has 20 tph, onto the Culver, which only has 14.

    Yes, running the F express would make it slightly more attractive to potential riders near express stops. However, it would also make it less attractive to riders near local stops. The many riders from the east who connect with the Brighton line by bus are unlikely to be attracted to stay on the bus all the way to the Culver line by a two-minute savings which would be outweighed by the extra travel time on the bus. (Coming from Manhattan Beach, would you stay on the B1 past Brighton Beach station all the way to the F train if it ran express?) The reason ridership is relatively low on the southern part of the Culver line is that residential density is relatively low. As the line runs north of Church, residential density picks up, and ridership grows accordingly.

    • Allan Rosen

      I thought you finally started to behave yourself and stop the insults, snide remarks and attempts at discrediting me. I guess I was wrong. A tiger never changes his stripes.

      This is your final warning. If you continue, I will again stop responding to you. This time I won’t even ask for an apology, since I already know that getting an apology from you will never happen. I have already explained why my tenure at the MTA was brief. It had nothing to do with my abilities so stop insinuating that it did. I lost my position as Director of Planning because in the words of my supervisor, “It’s easier to transfer you than to fix the problem with the diesel fumes.” And for your information, I was a professional planner for 8 1/2 years. I wouldn’t call that “brief.” So quit with the innuendos and inaccurate statements.

      Now for your comments:

      “What service reductions balanced the large package of service improvements implemented on January 6?”

      As everyone else knows, the “service improvements” of January 6th were not service improvements at all. They were partial restorations of the unwarranted service cutbacks of 2010. The “improvements” didn’t nearly balance the reductions. It was still a net loss for the passenger. And you claim to know what the word “net” means and questioned if I knew its meaning.

      I certainly do know the difference between data and anecdotal reports. I also know when data is withheld or not collected to bias conclusions so that success is exaggerated. I never stated or implied that Ms. Mason’s experience is typical or occurred more than one time. But you admit anyway as to experiencing similar delays. So why are we even discussing this?

      I also never stated or implied that scheduled headways are greater than every 27 minutes, but you are an expert at putting words into someone else’s mouth. She was talking about reliability, not scheduling. It is obvious that 5 SBSs would not be scheduled for every local

      The only point I was making was that local service has deteriorated in some instances since SBS was initiated, and nowhere in any of the MTA’s measures of success do they ever talk about local service. You
      never heard of anyone complaining of waiting 27 minutes for a local before SBS, did you?

      As far as satisfaction rates being so high, (95%), were local passengers
      solicited for their opinion or were only SBS users consulted? And satisfaction levels are not the only measure of success. Actual travel time savings are more of a success measure and that includes walking to and from the bus stop for local as well as SBS users, not merely the travel time savings of a bus from one end of the route to the other or that ridership on the route increased.

      “I don’t know why you keep bringing up Woodhaven. The only active SBS plans at present are the B44, the Bx41, and a collection of routes to LaGuardia Airport.”

      For someone who claims to know everything, I’m surprised that you are ignorant of the fact that funding is being sought for preliminary engineering of Woodhaven Boulevard to install SBS service. (Project X77275 –Preliminary Engineering to install Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard) http://www.nymtc.org/abouttip-down.cfm This is being done before asking the communities if they even want SBS there.

      Funds are also being requested for preliminary engineering to install SBS on Utica Avenue also. So your statement about “active SBS plans” is thoroughly wrong.

      Now after these preliminary studies are complete, do you really think anyone will spend additional monies to study any other corridors suggested by communities? Or have the decisions already been determined which corridors will get SBS before the communities are solicited, as I have stated?

      Only if there is massive opposition will DOT and the MTA cancel SBS plans as they did on Merrick Boulevard. They will not substitute alternate corridors by doing additional preliminary engineering studies, having already spent the money for that function.

      “A small number of complainers notwithstanding, communities have generally been very supportive of SBS.”

      Untrue. I am not aware of any Brooklyn Board that has supported the proposed B44 SBS. CB 15 is opposed not solely for the loss of parking, but because the MTA and DOT have not been forthcoming in answering questions they have been asked. (I’ve also read that CB 14 was opposed. Don’t know their current feelings on it.)

      “No decision has been made to reinstitute express service north of Church Avenue. That is, in fact, exactly the question that is being studied. Personally, I doubt it will go anywhere; the local stations are too busy.”

      You are assuming that the study will not recommend increases in local service which is a possibility. At least it’s being studied, not already ruled out as express service south of Church Avenue was without even doing a study.

      “You missed one key word: NET.”

      I don’t see “net” in the quote about saving 4 minutes between Church Avenue and Jay Street. “Net” is only mentioned when speaking about express service south of Church Avenue.

      “Do you really not understand the difference between time savings for a train and net travel time savings for the riders?”

      Of course I do. That’s why they should also study expresses south of Church Avenue, to determine the net time savings. They have already concluded it would be insignificant without a study because they have decided they do not want any capital expense which is why they have also ruled out expresses stopping at Bergen Street. But they had no problem with the extra capital expense to renovate the Bleecker Street Station to make the tile and design match better with the northern end of the station.

      “The reason ridership is relatively low on the southern part of the Culver line is that residential density is relatively low.”

      I wouldn’t call Luna Park and Trump low density. The rest of the line is no less dense than the Brighton Line except for around Washington Cemetery (and the Brighton Lines runs through Prospect Park so it balances out.) By stating the F would be less attractive for local riders you are assuming headways would not be improved which is a possibility too so that may not be the case.When I used to travel home from Jay Street in the 1980s, I sometimes did take the F and yes, it running as express did influence my decision.

      • Andrew

        I thought you finally started to behave yourself and stop the insults, snide remarks and attempts at discrediting me. I guess I was wrong. A tiger never changes his stripes.

        Allan, I’m sorry if you can’t take the truth, but my post was not insulting. Ignoring the costs and overstating the benefits does not product an honest cost-benefit analysis.

        If you continue, I will again stop responding to you.

        I love these threats. Nobody’s forcing you to respond to me or to anybody else. I really don’t care one way or the other.

        I lost my position as Director of Planning because in the words of my supervisor, “It’s easier to transfer you than to fix the problem with the diesel fumes.”

        And you never got it back, even after the department moved to 370 Jay or 130 Livingston or 2 Broadway, with no diesel fumes to worry about.

        And for your information, I was a professional planner for 8 1/2 years. I wouldn’t call that “brief.”

        If you were a 30-year-old, I’d be inclined to agree. But you’re a retiree. If I were a recent retiree, I wouldn’t brag about a career I held for less than a decade, only until 1981.

        As everyone else knows, the “service improvements” of January 6th were not service improvements at all. They were partial restorations of the unwarranted service cutbacks of 2010. The “improvements” didn’t nearly balance the reductions. It was still a net loss for the passenger. And you claim to know what the word “net” means and questioned if I knew its meaning.

        The service cuts took place in 2010, on a permanent basis. They were not intended to be temporary.

        Some of the service improvements were simple restorations of services cut in 2010. Others were new improvements to existing services or entirely new services designed from scratch.

        I certainly do know the difference between data and anecdotal reports. I also know when data is withheld or not collected to bias conclusions so that success is exaggerated. I never stated or implied that Ms. Mason’s experience is typical or occurred more than one time. But you admit anyway as to experiencing similar delays. So why are we even discussing this?

        Because no transit service runs perfectly 100% of the time. Despite occasional delays, and despite Trudy Mason’s negative experience, SBS on the M15 is a vast improvement over the old Limited. I don’t know her training or professional background, so I don’t fault her for giving undue weight to a one-time experience. But a professional planner should know better.

        The only point I was making was that local service has deteriorated in some instances since SBS was initiated, and nowhere in any of the MTA’s measures of success do they ever talk about local service. You never heard of anyone complaining of waiting 27 minutes for a local before SBS, did you?

        Never heard of anyone complaining? It’s happened to me, myself, multiple times!

        As far as satisfaction rates being so high, (95%), were local passengers solicited for their opinion or were only SBS users consulted?

        Haven’t you read the one-year M15 SBS progress report? It answers your question.

        Untrue. I am not aware of any Brooklyn Board that has supported the proposed B44 SBS. CB 15 is opposed not solely for the loss of parking, but because the MTA and DOT have not been forthcoming in answering questions they have been asked. (I’ve also read that CB 14 was opposed. Don’t know their current feelings on it.)

        The Chair of CB15 has recently gone on record in public opposition to the elimination of free parking privileges for CB members who own and use cars (but non-car owners got nothing, not even a free MetroCard). CB15 meetings take place at a location easily reached by car, with lots and lots of parking, but a tedious two-bus or three-bus ride away from the B44. There are a lot of B44 riders who don’t own cars, but few of them are likely to take the time and trouble to attend a meeting. It’s a quick trip by car, however, so anybody concerned about parking can easily raise an objection.

        If CB15 were interested in seeking input from the transit-dependent, meetings would be held in a location easily accessible to the transit-dependent, perhaps near a subway station.

        You are assuming that the study will not recommend increases in local service which is a possibility. At least it’s being studied, not already ruled out as express service south of Church Avenue was without even doing a study.

        ” Mr. Krantz said that what can be done in terms of F express service is limited by the imperative to be cost neutral and to generally work with the existing frequency of F trains. Service guidelines require at least 6 trains per hour on each service, and there are 14 existing trains that could be split between local and express either 7 and 7 or 6 and 8.” So, no, there will be no increases in local service, unless combined ridership increases to the point that more service is required, in which case 14 tph will increase to 15 tph. It can’t go any higher, since the F needs to merge with the 15 tph E in Queens.

        I don’t see “net” in the quote about saving 4 minutes between Church Avenue and Jay Street. “Net” is only mentioned when speaking about express service south of Church Avenue.

        The net savings between Church and Jay is obviously far less than 4 minutes. My gut feeling is that the net savings is negative (i.e., all-local service better serves the riders), but if it’s positive, it’s probably less than a minute. In any case, calculating the net savings north of Church is a complicated task, because of the G and because of the 4th Avenue transfer to the R, which an express would bypass. South of Church, it’s a lot easier to come up with a rough estimate, and a rough estimate is all that’s needed to determine that a major capital investment at Kings Highway would not be money well spent.

        Of course I do. That’s why they should also study expresses south of Church Avenue, to determine the net time savings. They have already concluded it would be insignificant without a study because they have decided they do not want any capital expense which is why they have also ruled out expresses stopping at Bergen Street. But they had no problem with the extra capital expense to renovate the Bleecker Street Station to make the tile and design match better with the northern end of the station.

        Do you not see the difference between a new connection that opens up transfer opportunities for tens of thousands of daily riders (most from Brooklyn) and a restoration of an old platform that would allow people to go exactly where they can go today?

        I wouldn’t call Luna Park and Trump low density. The rest of the line is no less dense than the Brighton Line except for around Washington Cemetery (and the Brighton Lines runs through Prospect Park so it balances out.)

        McDonald Avenue has very low densities compared to E. 15th/16th. Densities a few blocks east, on Ocean Avenue, are even higher. And the buses from the east all hit the Brighton line first (and some don’t run beyond it).

        By stating the F would be less attractive for local riders you are assuming headways would not be improved which is a possibility too so that may not be the case.

        The F currently runs 14 tph and is capped at 15 tph due to capacity constraints in Queens. The Brighton line already has 20 tph.

        • Allan Rosen

          As long as you continue to insist you are not being insulting and you are telling the truth, I am through having these back and forths with you. Any comments I make from this point forward will be extremely limited. The moderator already asked me if I want to have you banned. I responded that he should give you one more chance. But I won’t hesitate to ask you be banned if your insults continue. Apparently everyone else I speak to can see how insulting you have been in the past except you.

          All I will say is that I have read the M15 progress report which includes about six sentences out of 24 pages on customer satisfaction which is totally inadequate and contradictory. How can 90% of local riders say SBS is satisfactory and at the same time “be evenly divided”?

  • peppertree5706

    Do they call Ninth Street “The Culver Viaduct?” The Culver Line is only from Ditmas Ave. south. North of Ditmas, it should be called, “The South Brooklyn Line.”

    The original Culver Line turned West after leaving Ditmas Avenue, going inbound.

    • Allan Rosen

      Technically, of course, you are correct. I believe they have been using the term “Culver Viaduct” probably because no one would know what they meant if they called it “South Brooklyn” since that would also be a misnomer. The clearest term probably would be just Ninth Street Viaduct.

  • sonicboy678

    Planning, coordination, it’s not in their minds.

    As bad as planning is, coordination would probably get even worse than it is now. I know this is somewhat off-topic, but it took me a long time to get home today because of poor coordination. If they could improve that, there would probably be more money for real improvements. Better planning also helps and, with the current circumstances, planning is horrible. It probably would’ve been easier for me to get home had they not taken out the B51 back in 2010. Since they did, what proper alternatives exist? None, that’s how many.

    THAT’S SOME GREAT PLANNING, MTA. KEEP IT UP AND MAYBE PEOPLE WON’T JUMP DOWN YOUR THROAT LIKE THEY DO NOW.