Traffic. Ugh. Source: Samuel Leo / Flickr

Traffic. Ugh. Source: Samuel Leo / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: My article about traffic congestion last week sparked a lot of criticism, specifically on SubChat, from those accusing me of being an automobile lover and bicycle hater. Of course, those advocating that we dedicate more street space to bicycles and pedestrians, and who do everything possible to discourage automobile use, misinterpreted my comments.

There is nothing wrong with accommodating pedestrians and bicycles, but you shouldn’t greatly inconvenience motorists just because you hate cars. I’ve written extensively about my thoughts regarding Select Bus Service (SBS). Reducing car use is also an admirable goal, but if you do that, you must give people other viable choices to make their trips. Until we improve our mass transit system, we should not deliberately make automobile travel more difficult because all we will succeed in further doing is drive the middle class out of the city.

The fact is that, in an area such as ours, unless you are willing to put up with mass transit commutes of 45 minutes for short trips and between two and three hours for long ones, a car is a necessity. That is what most Manhattancentric readers cannot understand. They believe that mass transit travel from Southern Brooklyn is just as convenient as it is from Park Slope or Chelsea, for example. A map from WNYC, in which you see how long subway trips take from each part of the city, shows that most trips from Sheepshead Bay to boroughs other than Manhattan take at least two hours. A small portion takes 90 minutes, probably at least twice as long as by car. A short trip to neighboring Canarsie also shows up as a two-hour trip, although parts of Canarsie probably could be reached in 75 to 90 minutes if bus trips were shown on the map. It is still up to six times the time required by car.

Why I Am Not A Fan Of Proposed B44 SBS Service

The B44 SBS would cut some north/south cross-Brooklyn trips by 15 minutes. Sounds nice in theory, but the route, like other proposed SBS routes, would not be accessible for many who would still need their car. So to say we are reducing road space to help you only applies if you can readily access the route, not to those who are using the street to cut across Brooklyn without their origin and / or destination near Nostrand Avenue.

Take, for example, a specific trip I make to visit a friend in Clinton Hill from my home near Sheepshead Bay. In other boroughs that have more highways, a trip of similar length would take 15 to 20 minutes by car. In Brooklyn, it takes about 45 minutes, whether I use direct local streets or an indirect highway. So what would my mass transit options be? I would need a bus to the Brighton Line to Downtown Brooklyn and then a bus or train at the other end for a second fare. The second fare could be avoided if I were willing to take three extra trains underground by changing to the R, and then take the F to the G — a total of four trains and a bus. I wouldn’t even venture to guess how long that trip would take, but two hours during off-peak hours with all that transferring would not be a bad estimate. I could probably accomplish the trip in 75 to 90 minutes with the bus-train-bus option, which is still quite a long for a trip that does not even involve leaving one’s own home borough.

So what if I took the B44 SBS instead when it starts operation? Well, it would take me two buses to access the SBS, then the B25 at the other end — a total of four buses, also at two fares. The 10 minutes the SBS would save me over the current local (or less, if I compared it to the Limited) would still take longer than by subway and bus or by two local buses.

That’s not to say that some riders living near the SBS route would not benefit somewhat. All I am saying is that those who believe that many will now choose SBS over taking their car are wrong because unless you vastly improve connecting travel, the usefulness of SBS is limited. It mostly benefits the MTA by reducing operating costs, while benefits to the passenger are overly exaggerated. When timesavings are quoted for SBS, numbers are always quoted for passengers riding from end to end, something practically no one does. Timesavings for the average passenger are rarely mentioned.

Everything sounds good in theory. It’s only when you look at specific examples, you can see how something works in practice. It would be great if we could replace car travel with bike travel, but as long as New York City remains the city with the longest commuting time, as I pointed out last week, New York will never be Amsterdam.

Although the study in the Huffington Post appears to refer to automobile commutes, I doubt it if mass transit commutes are any shorter. People are willing to put up with long commutes only because of what New York City offers in terms of jobs.

Conclusion

We must improve our mass transit system. Adding a few new bus routes at 30-minute headways, and a few SBS routes is in no way sufficient. We need to expand the rail system, correct bus routing deficiencies, add new inter-city express bus routes at reasonable fares where drivers have routing discretion to minimize traffic delays, and build off-street bus terminals for local and intercity travel and by other methods that do not cause real inconvenience to cars. Even small changes, such as reopening station entrances, can help by cutting five or six minutes off someone’s commute, as much as what SBS will do for the average passenger. So why is it not done? Until we take the necessary steps to improve mass transit, in many areas of the city where commute times are great, the automobile will still be a necessity for many.

We also need to get a national effort underway to increase mass transit funding. Just as there are many national environmental groups, we need have them for mass transit. We need to get the political support for increased funding that helps shorten commutes, not only funding that helps the large corporations during the construction phase of megaprojects. Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese pledged that, if elected, he would form a coalition of the mayors from the largest cities to pressure Washington for increased mass transit funding. That would be a start.

The other candidates should follow his lead.

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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  • Bullsh!t

    No, people aren’t promoting car-alternative travel and discouraging
    car travel because they hate cars, it’s because cars are the reason car-alternative travel isn’t reaching its full potential.

    Once again you fail to mention that it’s drivers on the road who make bus travel woe-fully inefficient and slow. Your Sheepshead to Canarsie example alone is a 35 minute bus trip during non-rush hour times when there are less cars on the road. I know because I made that trip last week and do it every now and again.

    You also can’t complain about there not being good connections between
    buses/trains and simultaneously criticize infrastructure for a system to
    solve that problem for a huge portion of the population (e.g. bike
    share).

    Your articles sound like those whiny people who complain about there not being a train that goes from their front door to the front door of their office.

    • Allan Rosen

      You have it wrong. Cars are not the reason car alternative travel is not reaching its full potential. It’s the fact that the subway system is Manhattan oriented. If there were not a single car on the road, subway travel from southern Brooklyn to Queens would still take just as long. A huge portion of the population do not ride bikes to commute. It is Avery small percentage of work trips. Also, cars are not the primary factor why buses are slow. Twisting the facts any way you want does not make you correct.

      • RIPTA42

        The subway system is Manhattan oriented because it was built at a time when most people didn’t commute by car and the outer boroughs were being sold as transit-oriented suburbs. Once development in the boroughs reached a point that trips not involving Manhattan became common, prevailing wisdom was to build highways instead of new transit lines.

        You haven’t considered that a large number of people don’t bike to work because the infrastructure isn’t all there yet. Not many would drive to work if all roads were two lanes and unpaved.

        • Allan Rosen

          As I previously stated, the infrastructure is not the reason most people don’t bike to work, it is the long distances most would have to travel because we have the longest commutes to work of anyone in the country.

          We needed those highways but we should have built the mass transit also. We can still reactivate underutilized ROWs for rail transit to make the system less Manhattan oriented.

          If all the roads were two lanes and unpaved fewer would be living here because it would take three hours to get to work and most would not want to put up with that just lie most do not want to ride their bike for two hours or an hour each way especially when it is 25 or 90 degrees or raining or snowing which bike advocates never ever mention.

          • RIPTA42

            Commutes don’t have to be unimodal. Putting the infrastructure in place would make it easier for those people in three-fare zones to bike to their second bus route or subway station.

            If the roads were two lanes and unpaved but other reliable modes of transportation were provided, people would still want to live there but would use the mode of transportation that was the most convenient.

          • Allan Rosen

            The more traffic congestion there woud be due to poorer roads, the less attractive those areas wouldbe if mass transit were not a good alternative. As far as bikes being a second mode to get to their bus route or subway, I am all for that and said that by stating there should be some bike racks and bike storage areas in subway stations. In my Chicago series I believe I mentioned the lost cost alternative to providing narrow ramps on subway stairs so you can roll your bikes down the stairs as opposed to carrying them. When subway stairs are rebuilt here we could add those ramps which inconvenience no one and are only about three inches wide.

          • RIPTA42

            “…if mass transit were not a good alternative.” Bingo. If investment is made to make a particular mode convenient, it will be the favored mode.

            I missed your Chicago series, but I’m curious as to whether you also picked up on the fact that Chicago has been systematically converting vehicle lanes to bike lanes and now has more than 200 miles of them.

          • Allan Rosen

            Funny thing is I didn’t see a single bike lane during my three days in Chicago.

    • sonicboy678

      Define huge.

      Don’t forget that some areas that were supposed to receive subway service didn’t in the end.

  • Andrew

    Traffic engineering is an actual field of study, an actual profession, with its own body of research and practitioners.

    In your article last week, and in your responses on SubChat, you did a good job of summarizing the state-of-the-art of traffic engineering circa 1972.

    It’s 2013 now. The field has moved on since 1972. Traffic engineers have learned a lot in the past four decades.

    (Do you seriously think that it makes sense to obstruct heavily congested sidewalks with ramps in order to make it easier to drive in Midtown Manhattan?)

    • sonicboy678

      You mean those pedestrian overpasses?

    • Allan Rosen

      You would not be obstructing the sidewalks and you would make it easier and safer to walk also by separating cars and people which is still the current thinking today. And I was only talking about overpasses at two locations anyway, 6th Avenue, and at Tines Square and perhaps another two to be determined, not all over.

      • RIPTA42

        The ramp has to go somewhere. Either it’s obstructing sidewalk or it’s (*gasp*) taking over a vehicle lane.

        • Allan Rosen

          It’s not obstructing the sidewalk anymore than those dozens of food carts on the sidewalk. Are you against those also?

          • Andrew

            I’ll admit that I’m not in the area every day, but I’m not aware of any food carts, let alone dozens, on 42nd between 5th and Broadway.

            But even if there are food carts, a ramp is much longer than a food cart. And once it’s installed, it’s permanent – its permit can’t be revoked like a food cart’s.

            And the obstruction of a ramp will be in addition to whatever obstructions may already exist, not in their place.

          • Allan Rosen

            I counted like 20 food carts on Seventh Avenue all on the sidewalk between 42 and 43 Street recently plus the block on the north side of 42 St between 7 and 8 Avenue was lined with vendors selling goods and a few more food carts.
            If the City viewed all those vendors as obstructions, they would not be there. Also, at the time I was there they weren’t seeming to cause any problem. At rush hours it may be different.

            I still think overpasses if done correctly would help passenger flow not hinder it.

          • RIPTA42

            The difference between a food cart and an overpass is a food cart is economic activity. Also, food carts are limited to five feet wide because of the needs of pedestrians. A ramp would be, at a minimum, twice that width.

          • Allan Rosen

            But 20 five foot wide food carts lined end to end take up significant sidewalk space whereas a ramp only takes up space until it reaches its required elevation which would be less than the length of 20 food carts. Isn’t greater pedestrian safety worth anything?

          • RIPTA42

            The ramp would be about the length of 10 food carts before a person could walk under it, but it would still be twice as wide as the food carts. Sidewalk-area-wise, it’s a wash. Sidewalk-clear-width-wise, you’re cutting capacity capacity in half.

          • Andrew

            I have never, ever, in my entire life seen 20 food carts lined end-to-end. But if such a formation actually exists somewhere, it’s presumably providing a useful service to its customers.

            Pedestrian overpasses in Midtown Manhattan, on the other hand, would serve only to make it easier to drive in Midtown Manhattan.

            I am quite concerned about pedestrian safety. That’s why I am strongly in favor of finding ways to reduce automobile use in general, to implement widespread automated enforcement of speed limits and red lights, and to increase the penalties for dangerous and illegal driving behaviors that kill, injure, and threaten pedestrians.

          • Andrew

            I thought we were discussing the intersection of 42nd and 6th. How did we get over to 7th?

            In any case, I find it very hard to believe that there were 20 food carts on a single block of 7th Avenue. Google Street View doesn’t show a single one on either side of 7th between 42nd and 43rd (there’s a small cluster on 43rd just west of 7th, but that’s it), nor on 42nd between 7th and 8th. And, moving back to the blocks of 42nd on either side of 6th, I don’t see any food carts there either.

            (I don’t know when Google obtained its imagery, but at least some of it was clearly on a weekday – I see an X31 bus and an X17J bus, both weekday-only operations.)

          • Allan Rosen

            I was there on a weekday in early June.

          • Andrew

            I don’t doubt that you were there. I highly doubt that there were 20 food carts on a single block. And, in the unlikely event that there were 20 food carts, they were presumably providing a service to their customers.

          • Allan Rosen

            They were all clustered together like it was some authorized space they were supposed to be in and they had a uniform paint scheme. I counted them and don’t remember the exact number but it was around 20. It could have only been 17, but we’re definitely not talking only five or ten.

          • Andrew

            And I counted the ones on Google Maps, and the exact number was zero. Not 20, not 17, not 7. Zero.

            Perhaps the 17-20 carts were there for some sort of special event. It’s certainly not the norm.

          • Allan Rosen

            If I’m in the neighborhood again, I’ll take another look. I was not aware of any special event. Why is your one day survey with Google Maps more valid than my one day survey?
            Was the Google picture taken in the winter perhaps?

          • Andrew

            I’ve been in the area many times. I’ve never seen 17-20 food carts on a single block.

            Here’s the Google Street View link. With people in short sleeve shirts, winter seems unlikely to me. But even if it’s winter, what difference does that make? Do people eat less in the winter?

      • Andrew

        You are proposing to narrow some of the most heavily congested sidewalks in all of North America in order to make it a little bit easier to drive in Midtown Manhattan.

        • Allan Rosen

          And also make it easier to cross the street by eliminating conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles. The only way now for cars to make a turn at 6th Avenue is to force their way into the pedestrians. If they all waited until the pedestrians stopped walking, they light would turn red again and they wouldn’t move at all for 20 minutes to an hour. Cars forcing themselves through the intersection causes a real hazard for pedestrians.

          • RIPTA42

            Perhaps an exclusive pedestrian phase is needed.

          • Allan Rosen

            It wouldn’t work.

            Pedestrians walk throughout the pedestrian cycle meant for both pedestrians and cars. If there were an additional cycle just for cars, they would walk through that as well.

          • sonicboy678

            You’re right. I see that too often when heading home at Flatbush Junction.

          • Andrew

            A right turn ban might work better.

          • Andrew

            Let me see if I have this straight. Sidewalks should be constricted and pedestrians should be forced to walk out of their way so that they won’t be injured or killed by scofflaw drivers who are unwilling to yield to them as required by law.

            Is that right?

          • Allan Rosen

            Not all laws can be followed all the time. What would you do if you were driving a car and the only way you could turn from the right lane was either to force your way into pedestrians or turn on armed signal which is also against the law. Remember, the law states unless directed by a law enforcement official, you should never cross a double yellow line unless entering or leaving a private driveway. How many time have you been in a situation where construction or a doulble parked vehicle forced you to break the law and cross the double yellow. Your only other choices woud be to make an illegal u-turn or wait eight hours or so in one place until the construction was completed if the motorist behind you didn’t take your life first for not moving. Do you have that straight now? It’s great to talk how things should work in a perfect world. Reality is quite different however.

          • flatbush depot

            “if the motorist behind you didn’t take your life first for not moving”

            talkin’ about that human nature..see how crazy it is to drive in this place when people want to kill you for this nonsense? I assume you would have a similar response to what I said about how I would get off a certain road if staying on the road meant having to use the bus lane to circumvent a vehicle parked in the general traffic lane. (on a road with no bus lane I would just stay on the same road.)

            I am telling you straight that I would not care how a motorist reacted to my driving habits. this is part of making waves and being a player in a mass transit revolution unless the person who wants to be a player has other effective ways of being a player (just using the system to commute 5 days a week is not enough to be a player).

            if waves are not made the status quo will remain..you brought up the idea of a motorist killing another motorist for not circumventing a double parked vehicle; how about you write some articles about how more people need to eschew cars and deal with the transit system and then pressure the government to do something once so many (there need to be many) people have shown the government that they will not use cars to run away from the problems with mass transit and the government must do something about these problems?

            something is wrong if, with all these articles you write, you bring up the idea of a motorist doing something as bestial as going out of his/her way to kill another person and then you write no article that puts the spotlight on stuff like this and insist that it is all the government’s fault that our transit system is not as good as it can be and say nothing about change starting with the individual..as I said before, it is much easier to keep the car-independent car-independent than it is to try to break the car-dependent out of car-dependence; what is wrong with making statements like “if parents showed their kids that happiness/success/prosperity were possible even if they never own cars, then we might be able to get more people to focus on mass transit and work our way out of these ridiculous problems cars cause” and writing articles discussing this and how to make it possible? talk about neighborhoods that are safe and have very good mass transit. as I said before, Manhattan and quasi-Manhattan are not the only places in NYC. try neighborhoods that provide decent access to MTANYCT/MTAB services that go to airports, Penn Station, GCT, Atlantic Terminal so people can avoid using cars to travel to other parts of the country or state. of course it may not be possible to avoid using cars for every such trip, but it is easier for those who can take, say, an (A) or (2) train to Penn Station, a (5) or (7) to GCT, a (4) to an M60 to LGA, etc

            are you afraid of being ripped a new one for making statements that may be extreme? I ain’t..

            I feel like this could turn into a competition: who is more or most determined to fix these problems?

          • Allan Rosen

            There is nothing wrong with the articles I write. I was speaking of road rage which I am sure you heard about. What is the point of doing something like not moving which you know will infuriate other drivers? It’s not worth dying over soe principles.

            You ask me to write articles about parents impressing on their kids they can have happiness, prosperity and success without owning cars. But that is not a transportation article. It’s an article about how to raise kids, a field I am certainly no expert in.

            There are many safe neighborhoods with good mass transit where cars are not necessary and car ownership is low, but these are all neighborhoods within 15 minutes of Manhattan by subway. The further you get from Manhattan, the more you need a car.

            The way to focus more attention on mass transit is for more people to tell their local politicians what it means to them. Unfortunately most will rate mass transit in importance after police, fire, sanitation, education and perhaps healthcare. So most politicians do not think it is important to their constituents and give it little attention.

            Another way is to bombard te MTA with complaints every time you experience a significant delay. When no one complains, they don’t realize they have a problem and don’t try to fix it. So they think they are king a good job even if they aren’t.

          • Flatbush depot

            I never said there was anything wrong with your articles.

            No, not all the neighborhoods I had in mind were within 15 mins of Manhattan by subway. Those neighborhoods witihn 15 mins of Manhattan are part of quasi Manhattan.

            What is the point of doing..the point is that if a bus lane is to be treated like a train track (which it really should be) there should not be all of these excuses for non buses to use them.

            Vehicles double parked in the only travel lane are not a good reason as long as bus riders have to put up with this nonsense with the government and the rest of the citizenry standing idly by and doing absolutely nothing about this stuff..no loading zones are planned for Nostrand near Linden Blvd from what I understand. And still nothing is done about people abusing privileges by double parking their private vehicles.

          • Flatbush depot

            Notice how the other government services you mentioned are only provided by the government and have to be used by absolutely everybody except perhaps the filthy rich every time those services are needed. For example pretty much any time a crime is committed I must get a hold of the local, state, or federal police to deal with the crime. I have no private police force to do it.

            Now notice how people either circumvent or run away (depending on how much they really need to use cars) from the problems with the transit system by using cars. See the difference?

            Only so many things can be focused on by one person. While I am aware of the fact that the subway system is kinda falling apart, I am more concerned with doing something about slow bus speeds and the fact that buses need more respect f

          • Flatbush depot

            Forget the word respect. I want edit it at the end but the technology I am using conks out from time to time, preventing me from making such changes.

            I have absolutely no interest in talking to the government (MTA or politicians) directly about any of this stuff unless I have enough [influential] persons on my side to help. I know I create a chicken and egg problem by doing that; at the end of the day I do not care b/c I always know that my eschewing cars will wind up helping me physically by keeping me in shape and mentally since I appreciate not contributing to some very ugly problems caused by cars..allied with human nature.

            Of course I recognize the importance of choosing neighborhoods accordingly so that my insistence on eschewing cars does not cause me to live like a peasant. But again, manhattan and quasi manhattan are not the only places where people can live well without cars.

          • Flatbush depot

            When I said very ugly problems I meant to say very ugly problems that I wish did not exist in addition to my point about not contributing to them by eschewing cars.

            When are you going to acknowledge the fact that one of the most important pieces of this puzzle is keeping the car independent car independent so that we can have fewer cars on these roads and thus less of a need for all these street parking spaces that the people fight tooth and nail to keep when they need to be eliminated (not necessarily all day) to make more room for loading zones and whatnot?

            Ok, you do not want to write about parents keeping their children car independent. What about change starting with the individual and road rage and other reasons that driving in NYC is bad and everything else that has been mentioned here? What about the psychological effects of trying to attack problems when nobody helps or the government lets you down? Like being lectured for a half hour out at sampson’s office in Canarsie?

          • Flatbush depotde

            Also try the psychological effects of seeing this nonsense on the road after asking the government so many times to do something about it and then feeling extreme anger but then having to suppress it or cool off since remaining angry is bad for one’s health and can prevent one from driving safely.

            Kingsbridge road comes to mind. What I said about it on NYCTF.

          • Flatbush depot

            I made that remark about the subway system falling apart because I misinterpreted your comment about significant delays. I did not realize you also may have been referring to significant bus delays. it is just that “significant delays” made me think of the subway immediately for some reason.

            Anyway my statement about the frustration experienced when futilely talking to the government about these things still applies.

          • Allan Rosen

            I can’t possibly address all the issues you raised, some of which I don’t understand. All I will say is for a young person you sound far too angry. How will you feel when you get older? The fact is that there are sone things one person can do without a group behind him, but it does help to get others to support your position. I convinced the MTA all by myself in 2010 not to completely discontinue the eastern portion of the B4. Everyone at the MTA is not bad and neither are all elected officials. You have to calm down and not let yourself get so irritated about double parking and bus lane violations for example. You don’t want to get high blood pressure.

            When I was younger I used to get angry like you about these things and my boss gave me the same advice I am giving you.

            I don’t agree that driving in NYC

          • Allan Rosen

            I don’t agree that”driving in NYC is bad”. Sometimes it is the best way to get around. Mass transit is only good for trips many people need to make. It can’t do everything although it certainly can be improved.

          • flatbush depot

            I know not everyone at the MTA is bad because several of my friends are MTA employees.

            when I get older I will not care about any of these things. much like now.

            if I ride a bus down Nostrand Ave and nobody wants to let my bus into the other lane b/c my current lane is blocked by a double parked vehicle, I just smile or laugh and think about something else. and remind myself that this stuff happens because of good old human nature.

            up until a few months ago I would get angry. my reactions changed thanks to my experiences with politicians (and the people working for them) and telling them about Plaza Auto Mall and getting nowhere with that, and the city-data and NYCTF threads in which I participated that related to these problems.

            if my posts sound angry I apologize.

            anyway, thanks for your advice, and keep calm and carry on.

            I have absolutely no appreciation for cars after seeing all the problems they have caused and nobody doing anything about them.

            nothing and nobody can convince me to own one as long as I live in this city.

            whatever restrictions I impose upon myself by doing these things are my problem.

          • flatbush depot

            well actually in some rare instances I may rent a car. but I would try to avoid driving or parking it close to my neighborhood or any other where traffic and parking violations cause problems for buses or finding street parking is a problem. or something like that.

          • flatbush depot

            remember that the transit network would have been better if it had not been for the personal auto (the Great Depression and WWII also doomed subway expansion plans), and if it were not for the personal auto, people would not have built things that were centered around the use of the personal auto.

          • flatbush depot

            ..and thus there would have been fewer trips that would have (pretty much) required the use of the personal auto

          • Andrew

            Driving is neither good nor bad, but driving certainly has a lot of external impacts.

          • flatbush depot

            since you are following the 125 St Bus thread in NYCTF and I went on about driving being bad again, I should get something straight.

            I tend to say driving is bad b/c it is easier than saying driving has a lot of external impacts or whatever. I suppose I will modify my language somehow if I continue participating in discussions about this stuff.

            but remember that whether I say driving is bad or the external impacts of driving are bad or driving has a lot of external impacts or something along those lines, the emphasis is always on driving in dense urban areas.

            who here wants there to be fewer cars on the roads off NYC? I have a follow-up question after that one is answered.

          • flatbush depot

            roads of NYC not roads off NYC

          • Andrew

            It should come as no surprise that I’d like to see fewer cars on NYC streets.

            A car is simply a tool. Sometimes it’s the best tool for the job. Sometimes it isn’t.

          • flatbush depot

            alright, next question: do you think more should be done to convince people who want to live in dense urban areas like NYC to live car-free, esp. since the external impacts of driving, such as parking requirements and traffic (and abuse of the privilege to drive/use a car), create so much trouble here?

            I have a follow-up question after that one is answered.

          • Andrew

            Of course. (This isn’t the first time you’ve read my posts!)

          • flatbush depot

            alright, next question: should we be trying to convince people (particularly young people who are not yet set in their ways and are more flexible than older people) that driving in NYC is bad or that driving in NYC has a lot of external impacts?

            the issue I take with explicitly saying the second thing (“ext. impacts”) is that it does not sound as provocative as the first thing (“bad”).

            unless, for purposes of trying to convince people that driving in NYC is bad or has a lot of external impacts or w/e WITHOUT explicitly saying these things (or without these explicit statements being made [that much] while trying to convince people), there is no difference between the two stances. which is possible.

            but I think of it as parallel to smoking: it seems like one convinces people not to start smoking or to quit by just coming out and telling them that smoking is bad and giving reasons, not by telling them it has a lot of external impacts and giving reasons.

            the same thing should be done when it comes to driving in NYC. or maybe I am focusing too much on the idea of explicitly stating that driving in NYC is bad vs. explicitly stating that driving in NYC has a lot of external impacts since the argument does not have to revolve around these explicit statements..

          • Andrew

            There are many safe neighborhoods with good mass transit where cars are not necessary and car ownership is low, but these are all neighborhoods within 15 minutes of Manhattan by subway. The further you get from Manhattan, the more you need a car.

            Car ownership is low in many neighborhoods quite far from Manhattan. Even in the relatively car-dependent Assembly District 45 (the district that includes Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach), a full 46.3% of households are car-free, which implies to me that cars are by no means necessary. And many neighborhoods well over 15 minutes from Manhattan have lower car ownership rates than that.

            Not everybody is like you.

          • flatbush depot

            there is also the question of how well those people live though.

            I originally thought I would live in District 45 when I got older, but once I realized how problematic the B44 was south of JCT (bad signals on bidirectional Nostrand Ave, Plaza Auto Mall problem that nobody wants to solve and so on) and the problems with climate change and a few other things, I decided I would rather not.

            because I honestly did not think life would be very good even for me with no car in District 45 due to the fact that it is so far from not only the city but also the commuter rail terminals and airports, which are important for intrastate and interstate travel, and I really do not want to own a car at any time in my life. and I really did not want to deal with riding the B44 (forget about other bus lines in District 45) up Nostrand past Plaza Auto Mall and through all of the garbage PAM generates.

            the garbage would be the double parked vehicles always in front of PAM.

          • Andrew

            You’re making a very good point. If a neighborhood (or a city or a country) strongly promotes one mode over all others, its residents are generally going to find that mode more convenient than the others, and it’s going to attract new residents who already prefer to use that mode. Adding insult to injury, anybody who doesn’t use the favored mode is often looked down on by his or her neighbors. On the flip side, if a neighborhood takes a balanced approach and treats multiple modes as useful options, recognizing that different people have different needs and different preferences, the resulting makeup is far more balanced.

            For example, if a neighborhood goes out of its way to maximize car speeds, throughput, and parking, and objects to any improvement for pedestrians or bicyclists or transit riders that might potentially impede car travel even a little bit, its residents will naturally pick up on those cues and will strongly favor driving. Existing residents who don’t drive will feel increasing pressure (both pragmatic and social) to drive, and the neighborhood will be attractive to new residents who already drive but unattractive to potential new residents who don’t drive and aren’t looking to start.

            On the other hand, if a neighborhood widens sidewalks, installs bike lanes and bus lanes, reduces parking requirements, even if some of those changes slightly impede driving, some of its residents will walk, some will ride bikes, some will use the bus, and some will drive (and most will do some combination of the four) – and the neighborhood will be attractive to new residents who have many different preferences.

            Given the attitudes of many in District 45 and your desire to go car-free, it’s no wonder that you don’t find it an attractive neighborhood. It’s a shame that so many of its most vocal residents are unwilling to seriously adopt a multimodal approach.

          • flatbush depot

            what needs to be done in order to create a balance? I think I could only begin to see private autos as being good (forgetting about pollution issues) if they congestion priced roads such as Nostrand Ave, Flatbush Ave, Utica Ave, Kingsbridge Rd, Fordham Rd, the Grand Concourse, Rogers Ave, and Bedford Ave b/w Dean St and Taylor St to name a few. and if not a single vehicle double parked on these roads (and others) again except in an emergency or construction or Con Ed utility work or something like that. (they would have to get ride of several or many parking spaces so commercial trucks could use ‘em instead of double parking.)

            the objective would be to keep cars off these roads so that there would be less of a need for traffic signals that slow down buses on these roads. and the double parking and other nonsense.

            I wonder what needs to be done before the idea that cars are over-represented can be dismissed? I will tell you that even if I got all my wishes with this stuff (congestion pricing many bus roads, mass elimination of street parking spaces or something else to prevent delivery trucks from having to double park, other than creating public parking lots, making traffic signals more beneficial to buses, maybe some physically separated bus/traffic lanes which I can explain later, etc), I still do not think I would have a higher opinion of private autos than I do now.

            also I probably would be even more averse to using cars than I am now since street parking would be harder and driving would cost more..one big reason that I cannot own a car and must avoid using them is that it would be hypocritical of me to use them and then want all of these things to be done with bus roads.

            of course there is the thing about people not wanting a lot of traffic on residential roads and whatnot (what a headache), but I will get into that only if somebody other than me brings it up.

          • flatbush depot

            also I may not have had a problem with living in district 45 if it were not for the B44′s issues south of JCT. that bothered me a lot more than district 45 being far from commuter rail terminals and airports (if using mass transit to get to them) and whatnot.

          • Allan Rosen

            I agree with Flatbush Depot. “there is also a question of how well those people live though.”

            Yes you don’t need a car to go anywhere as I stated if you don’t mind taking 30 to 45 minutes for short trips and an hour to an hour and a half for most of your other trips. Most people, however, value their time which is what it is all about.

          • flatbush depot

            therefore do not expect these problems to go away any time soon; do not expect people who have lives to live and families to feed to spend time petitioning the government about these things, because an easy way out (cars) is too easily available.

            by valuing their time in the short run, many others’ time is screwed up in the long run.

          • Allan Rosen

            You may be interested in going to this tomorrow. Here is part of the press release:

            RIDERS AND WORKERS LEAD THE MOVEMENT FOR TRANSIT JUSTICE
            Transit Justice = The Right of Every New Yorker to Quality Public Transportation
             
            WHAT: Transit Justice Rally
            WHEN: Wednesday, July 24th, between 8:30-11:00AM
            WHERE: MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Avenue, between 44th-45th Streets in Manhattan
            WHO: TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen; ATU Local 1056 President Daneek Miller; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; State Senators Adriano Espaillat, Velmanette Montgomery, and Eric Adams; Assemblymembers Bill Colton, Gabriela Rosa, and James Brennan; Councilmembers Robert Jackson, Andy King, and Donovan Richards; Sonia Ivany, NYC Chapter President, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA); Pastor Gilford Monrose, Vice President, Churches United to Save and Heal; Joe Boiko, Ombudsman, Riverbay Corporation (list in formation)
             
            New York, NY— Riders, community and faith organizations, bus and subway workers from TWU Local 100, and elected officials will hold a rally for their right to quality Public Transportation outside of MTA Headquarters on Wednesday, July 24th. For over three years, this broad coalition has been leading grassroots campaigns to restore the MTA’s 2010 service cuts across the city, and will be converging at MTA Headquarters to continue the fight for full restorations and additional service improvements.

          • flatbush depot

            thank you Allan.

          • Andrew

            The MTA didn’t cut service in 2010 due to a shortage of rallies – it cut service due to a shortage of funds.

            Did the TWU not notice that the MTA just announced a package of service enhancements, on top of last year’s package? Like last year, some are restorations while others are new services. There is certainly no need to restore everything – some cuts are best left cut. (The most obvious example is the M train, which has proven much more useful in its current cheaper form than the way it used to run.) Ridership patterns change over time, and restoring a service that hasn’t made sense for decades is not a worthwhile use of limited operating funds.

          • Allan Rosen

            So you are saying that no rally is necessary because the MTA is doing everything right? I’m not saying that all cuts need to be restored or that I agree with everything th union is saying. The facts are that even after these restorations and past restorations there are still other things worth fighting for. That’s what the rally is about and you know my position tat the MTA did not do a very good job in justifying the cuts in the first place. Some never should have been made in the first place.

          • Andrew

            So you are saying that no rally is necessary because the MTA is doing everything right?

            No, I’m saying that a rally is pointless, because it doesn’t address the problem.

            If these elected officials and union leaders put half as much effort into solving the transit funding crisis as they do into organizing and attending rallies, we wouldn’t have a transit funding crisis anymore.

          • Andrew

            That’s a far cry from your earlier claim, that the only safe neighborhoods were cars are not necessary and car ownership is low are within 15 minutes of Manhattan by subway.

            It’s also an excellent reason to speed up bus service, to expand the bike lane network, to improve the pedestrian experience.

          • Allan Rosen

            Which post are you replying to?

          • flatbush depot

            this one:

            I agree with Flatbush Depot. “there is also a question of how well those people live though.”

            Yes you don’t need a car to go anywhere as I stated if you don’t mind
            taking 30 to 45 minutes for short trips and an hour to an hour and a
            half for most of your other trips. Most people, however, value their
            time which is what it is all about.

          • Allan Rosen

            I don’t see any contradiction. In NYC, you can always go anywhere by mass transit. It’s a question of how many vehicles (2,3,4,5,6?) you are willig to put up with, how much time you are willing to spend ( 1 hr, 2 hr, 3 hours) how far you are willing to walk (1 mile too much?) and how many fares you are willing to pay if you dot have an unlimited? Few would walk a mile to and from mass transit, pay three fares each way and have the trip take 3 hours or more if you have to wait an hour in the middle of the night for a bus. But it is possible.

          • RIPTA42

            Then the focus should be improving on transportation for people (and providing more useful alternatives for those who think a car is necessary) in those areas, rather than making car travel easier in the areas where there are already much better alternatives.

          • Flatbush depot

            Sir yes sir!

          • Allan Rosena

            You are correct about the focus. But if we improve traffic flow for cars, buses benefit also.

          • RIPTA42

            If your only “improvement” is an indirect consequence of giving cars more space and traffic signal priority over pedestrians, then you’re doing nothing to get those people to the buses, or even to encourage them to not drive for short trips within their own neighborhoods.

          • Allan Rosena

            I was referring to improving bus speeds which would encourage bus usage.

          • RIPTA42

            I’m aware of that. You have to do more than just improve speeds, though. Having to cross a six lane arterial to get to a stop, for example, will make people shy away from the bus (as well as walking or biking).

          • Allan Rosen

            There are no six lane arterials here unless you are counting both directions. (The one way avenues are 5 lanes. The only exception may be West Street, which is a surface highway.) So I guess you are saying it would be better to allow parking than to use the curb lane to move traffic on streets lie 42 St. That would make traffic even slower.

            I also do not know anyone who shys away from crossing streets such as 42 St, a six lane arterial, to get to a bus stop or to walk or bike. Witness all the people who cross it every hour.

          • RIPTA42

            To a pedestrian, it doesn’t matter what direction the lane is going. The difference between an arterial in Manhattan and an arterial in an outer borough is that traffic moves much more slowly in Manhattan and there are signals every 200 to 300 feet; crossing them is far easier than crossing Hillside Avenue or Union Turnpike.

          • Allan Rosen

            True. I thought you were talking about Manhattan arterials since that was what we were discussing.

          • RIPTA42

            I thought we were talking about areas where there is a question of how well people can live without a car.

          • Andrew

            There are no six lane arterials here unless you are counting both directions.

            Why would you only count one direction? How often do you cross a six-lane, two-way arterial at an unsignalized intersection? (Drivers are required to yield at an unsignalized intersection when a pedestrian is crossing in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, but of course they almost never do.)

          • RIPTA42

            If you start forcing pedestrians into more constrained spaces and onto circuitous overpasses in midtown Manhattan so cars can get through signals quicker, it then becomes “how well these people live” in midtown Manhattan. Why not improve the lives of the pedestrians and cyclists instead of making them live “unwell” to cater to cars?

          • Allan Rosen

            I never recommended circuitous overpasses. Don’t change what I said to prove your points.

          • RIPTA42

            Your pedestrian overpasses will be circuitous once you factor in how long the ramps have to be to meet ADA requirements.

          • Allan Rosen

            Why would ADA requirements require that they double back on themselves? They would only cause slightly longer walks for someone needing an address near the corner.

          • RIPTA42

            It has already been pointed out that the ramps would be about 270 feet long. Lay out your ramps. How far would you have to walk to get from the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 41st Street to the southeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 43rd Street?

          • Allan Rosen

            Under those circumstances you would have to walk an additional 140 feet. From the northeast corner of Sixth and 41st to the southwest corner at Sixth and 43rd, it would only be 70 feet extra because the ramp could be built without turning on the west side of Bryant Park. (I don’t see anyone complaining about having to walk to the corner first when crossing the street and then having to walk back.)

            But that wasn’t what I was talking about. Such ramps may not even be necessary. I was talking about pedestrians crossing Sixth Avenue that block cars making a right turn, not people crossing 42 Street since they have a red light anyway and shoudn’t be crossing anyway when cars are turning right. So the ramp would be needed across Sixth Avenue which could be built without any turns and woudn’t require any additional walking unless your origin or destination was near 42nd and Sixth.

          • RIPTA42

            I’m confused about people crossing 42nd Street. Wouldn’t cars be turning right from Sixth Avenue while pedestrians are crossing 42nd Street?

            As for crossing Sixth Avenue, the uptown blocks aren’t long enough to accommodate the ramps, so they have to extend along the 42nd Street sides. In order to cross Sixth Avenue, the pedestrian has to walk 270 feet west on 42nd Street to get to the ramp, then 270 feet west again on the other side. That’s more than 1,100 feet of walking to cross a 60 foot wide street. I suppose people would adapt and cross at 41st or 43rd instead, or just use the subway as an underpass if the fare control arrangement there allows (in which case, an overpass seems redundant).

          • Allan Rosen

            The traffic movement I was talking about was the right turn from 42 St to Sixth Avenue where there was delays.

            Cars would also be turning right from Sixth Avenue to 42 St. I wasn’t watching that so I don’t know if there is a problem there or not or if any remedies are needed. It is irrelevant to the problem I was discussing.

            You would post signage at 41st and 43 Sts telling pedestrians that they cannot cross Sixth Avenue at 42 Street and they should “Cross Here for Other Side of Sixth Avenue.”

          • fdtutf

            “You would post signage at 41st and 43 Sts telling pedestrians that they cannot cross Sixth Avenue at 42 Street and they should ‘Cross Here for Other Side of Sixth Avenue.’”
            Um, so somehow this will work, but having an all-pedestrian crossing phase won’t because pedestrians will ignore it, as you wrote in another comment? So putting up these signs (presumably there would be “PEDS DO NOT CROSS SIXTH AVENUE” signs at 42nd Street) will prevent people from crossing Sixth at 42nd?
            I ain’t buyin’ it.

          • Allan Rosen

            No. Of course you could have an all pedestrian crossing phase and people would use it. The problem is they would also cross during the car phase when they are not permitted to cross. That’s what I stated.

            If you build an overpass and post signs that crossing is not permitted at 42 Street, you also install fences that do not permit you to cross at the intersections and as I stated in the article, you can also have mid-block crossings.

          • RIPTA42

            Mid block crossings would add another signal and increase car delays.

          • Allan Roaen

            I’m not sure about them increasing car delays. I think they would be reduced because you would have less conflicts with pedestrians at intersections and in fact it is being done in some strategic locations like near Herald Square and Times Square. Delays would only increase if they are not in sync with the other signals.

          • fdtutf

            Also, I don’t see how these fences would work. If you put fencing along both 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue at the corner (for even a reasonably short distance, say 10-15 feet each), then you’re inhibiting pedestrian movement along Sixth Avenue as well, since people will have to go around the fencing to cross 42nd. (Some of them will probably also avoid the fencing along Sixth by stepping into that street…interfering with automobile movement.)

            If, on the other hand, you only put the fencing along Sixth Avenue to block people from crossing it, then all the rogue pedestrians will simply go around it. This could even induce them to occupy the portion of Sixth Avenue nearest the curb (“outside” the fencing), which again would also interfere with automobile movement.

            I don’t think this is going to work.

          • Allan Rosen

            You would have to move the crosswalks on 42 Street to like about 30 to 40 feet from the corners for the fences to work. I thought they did put up fences somewhere in midtown.

          • fdtutf

            …And then you have 30-40 feet of space nearest the intersection that can’t be used by anybody (except, possibly, cyclists, and even that is inadvisable). So you’re reducing the road space available to motorists to make it easier to drive? Interesting strategy.

          • Andrew

            You would have to move the crosswalks on 42 Street to like about 30 to 40 feet from the corners for the fences to work. I thought they did put up fences somewhere in midtown.

            Then any through pedestrian, trying to walking straight, has to divert 60-80 feet to reach the crosswalk and then to get back.

            The fences near Rockefeller Center were put up under Rudy Giuliani. They make it easier to drive and harder to walk in Midtown. We don’t need any more of them.

          • RIPTA42

            Even if signals are perfectly synchronized along a corridor, a midblock signal will add delay for someone turning into the corridor at the previous intersection. That doesn’t mean they’re not successful in some places or that increasing car delays is a bad thing in some cases, but it doesn’t make sense to move a crosswalk to midblock for the sole purpose of reducing car delays at one location only to introduce delays elsewhere.

          • fdtutf

            Yeah, that was my point. If pedestrians are going to ignore a light phase when they are not permitted to cross, and you post signs telling people not to cross Sixth at 42nd but instead to use overpasses that they have to go a block out of their way to get to (and then another block out of their way to get back to 42nd), what makes you think people aren’t going to just ignore the signs and cross Sixth at 42nd anyway?

            Oh, you’re going to build *fences*. This pedestrian environment gets more attractive by the second; I can’t wait to experience it! Seriously, you don’t see any ancillary safety problems created by fences on a busy urban street?

            And where are you going to put these mid-block crossings, given how short the avenue blocks (between numbered streets) in Manhattan are? As it is, if the lights weren’t/aren’t timed (I don’t know if they are or not), a car would barely be able to get up to the speed limit before encountering the next light at the next cross street when traveling on an avenue — they’re that close together. So if you’re now putting in mid-block crossings, the lights will be even closer together. (Or maybe I’m giving you too much credit by assuming that these mid-block crossings will be signal-controlled? You haven’t said.)

          • Andrew

            If you build an overpass and post signs that crossing is not permitted at 42 Street, you also install fences that do not permit you to cross at the intersections and as I stated in the article, you can also have mid-block crossings.

            I thought you were claiming that overpasses didn’t take pedestrians out of their way. If they don’t take pedestrians out of their way, why do you need fences? Wouldn’t all of the pedestrians be happily up on the overpass?

            By recommending fences, you’re proving that you want to force pedestrians out of their way in order to make it easier to drive a car in Midtown Manhattan.

          • RIPTA42

            “The further you get from Manhattan, the more you need a car”

            I don’t think “need” is the right word when in all but the absolutely most far flung parts of the City, more than 20 percent of households still don’t own a vehicle:http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-york-city/1606540-nyc-automobile-ownership-map.html

          • Andrew

            Thank you, I was looking for that link.

            All I found was this one, where the shading indicates changes in car ownership – to see the actual car ownership numbers, you have to click on the district.

          • RIPTA42

            “What would you do if you were driving a car and the only way you could
            turn from the right lane was either to force your way into pedestrians
            or turn on armed signal which is also against the law.”

            Armed? Anyway, I might give up and turn right at the next block instead. Forcing a driver to go a couple hundred feet out of his way is a lot less disruptive than doing the same to a pedestrian.

          • fdtutf

            I’m pretty sure that somehow, “a red” got changed to “armed” in Allan’s post.

          • Allan Rosen

            You are correct. It should have been “red” not “armed.”. Damn auto correct..

          • Andrew

            I would signal a right turn, pull into the intersection, and wait for the pedestrians to finish crossing. Worst case, they’d finish when the light changed, and I’d complete my turn then.

            (Even where there are no pedestrians, how do you normally turn left where there’s a steady stream of oncoming traffic? Do you shove your way between oncoming cars, or do you wait for an opening, even if that opening doesn’t come until the light changes?)

            If the line were long, I’d consider pulling into the left lane and finding another route to my destination. (6th Avenue only runs another 17 blocks before hitting Central Park – wherever I’m going, chances are there’s another way to get there without driving much, if at all, out of my way.)

            Violations of this law kill hundreds of New Yorkers every year. It’s a law that I personally believe should be taken very, very seriously. Threatening to kill someone (and perhaps following through on the threat) because you don’t want to wait your turn should not be acceptable.

          • Allan Rosen

            That’s what most people do. They wait until the light turns red and then make their turn. But it is a problem if six cars want to turn and you have to wait for six traffic signals to do it and traffic is too heavy for you to pull out to turn at 8th Avenue instead where you may have a similar problem.

          • Andrew

            How is a right turn across a busy crosswalk any different than a left turn across a busy opposing lane? In either event, it’s sometimes the case that only one vehicle can make it through per green phase. Drivers learn where those hotspots are and avoid them as much as possible. Fortunately, the 17 blocks of 6th Avenue north of 42nd Street are very transit-accessible, and anybody driving anywhere else can get there without making the turn in question.

            (Why do you think driving has such a low mode share in Midtown Manhattan? It’s because people who have tried to drive there have quickly learned that it’s a major pain and that there are usually much easier ways to get there.)

            Threatening to kill a pedestrian with your car in order to persuade him to let you go ahead of him is simply not acceptable in the slightest.

          • Allan Rosen

            A right turn is different because at busy left turns there are left turn signals. I am not aware of intersections that only permit right turns for vehicles that also prohibit pedestrians from crossing. And if they did exist, the pedestrians wouldn’t listen anyway and would still walk right in front of the cars trying to make a right turn. But that would be perfectly acceptable to you, because there is never a legitimate reason to drive in midtown.

          • flatbush depot

            human nature again (referring to pedestrians disobeying the signals).

            it may not be fair of them to do that, but it really boils down to: you make your bed, you have to lie in it.

            if it becomes such a terrible problem, traffic cops are needed to tell pedestrians not to go..and then even more traffic cops are needed to give people summonses or whatever for disobeying signals.

            not that I want any of this to happen, and I do not disobey signals like that too often. not such that any vehicles trying to get thru when they have a signal are inconvenienced.

            I will tell you one thing: it is a damn shame when I miss a bus or train and I happen to have to wait a while for the next one on account of the fact that there were so many cars or the signals were so long that I could not make the bus or train.

            and the private vehicle operators have no fixed route or schedule to follow and do not have to wait for transit vehicles, while the trains and buses run on schedules and fixed routes.

            at the end of the day I still win though.

          • flatbush depot

            you make your bed you have to lie in it refers to people driving in midtown. they know driving in midtown is a hassle, but since they know this they should be ready to properly deal with anything that comes with driving in midtown if they choose to drive there.

          • Andrew

            I have no objection to police enforcement of laws prohibiting pedestrians from crossing against the light, but I certainly think the strong priority should be police enforcement of laws requiring motorists to yield while turning to pedestrians who are crossing with the light.

          • flatbush depot

            “I will tell you one thing: it is a damn shame when I miss a bus or
            train and I happen to have to wait a while for the next one on account
            of the fact that there were so many cars or the signals were so long
            that I could not make the bus or train.

            and the private vehicle operators have no fixed route or schedule to
            follow and do not have to wait for transit vehicles, while the trains
            and buses run on schedules and fixed routes.”

            remember how “a car gives you freedom?” the above is an example of how cars encroach on other people’s freedom.

          • RIPTA42

            There aren’t left turn signals at every busy left turn, particularly in midtown Manhattan. Sixth Avenue & 42nd Street, for example.

            There are legitimate reasons to drive in midtown. There are no legitimate reasons to make driving in midtown more convenient at the expense of pedestrians, cyclists, or transit riders.

          • Allan Rosen

            There are no left turn signals on 42 Street because they are banned at most every intersection. That’s why you need to make right turns.

          • RIPTA42

            Left turns are only prohibited from 7 to 7 Monday through Saturday at 42nd and Sixth Avenue, even though opposing traffic volumes are higher at 11 p.m. than they are at 8 a.m.

          • Allan Rosen

            7 AM to 7 PM 6 days a week is technically less than 50% of the time. But when you consider the low traffic volumes between 1AM and 6 AM as compared to the volumes the other times, it affects most of the vehicles using the street.

          • Andrew

            opposing traffic volumes are higher at 11 p.m. than they are at 8 a.m.

            Not doubting you in the slightest, but is your source for this available online? I’d be curious to see more.

          • RIPTA42

            NYSDOT Traffic Data Viewer – http://gis.dot.ny.gov/tdv/. The count I used was taken in 2002 somewhere between Fifth Avenue and Tenth Avenue, so it’s just an estimate – http://ftp.dot.ny.gov/tdv/YR2002/R11/04_New%20York/04_1222.pdf. Westbound traffic on West 42nd Street was 486 vehicles between 8 and 9 a.m. and 504 vehicles from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.

          • Andrew

            This is really easy to verify with Google Street View.

            At the fourteen potential left turns off of 42nd between 11th and 1st: two (11th and 9th) have arrows, three (5th, Madison, Vanderbilt) are banned full-time, one (6th) is banned part-time, and eight (10th, 8th, 7th, Broadway, Lex, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st) are legal turns with no arrow.

            So, depending on the time of day, left turns are banned at either 3 or 4 out of 14 left turns off of 42nd – 21% or 29%, not even close to “most every intersection.”

            (Note that the image of Lex is partly obscured by a bus, it’s possible that a no-left-turn sign is hiding behind it. Even if so, 36% is well shy of “most every intersection.”)

          • Allan Rosena

            I think you need to redo your left turn analysis. 3rd, 8th and 10th are one way north, so you could never make a left turn going westbound anytime. I didn’t check the other intersections but you need separate counts for east and west traffic.

          • RIPTA42

            He didn’t specify westbound only.

          • Allan Rosen

            Ignore this post.

          • RIPTA42

            There are protected left turn arrows at Third and Eighth.

          • Allan Rosena

            I guess you are talking about going east. What I said is that you you would need separate left turn counts for west and east to determine the percentage of intersections with restrictions to see what is happening as was done. ALumping the restrictions together for both directions isn’t useful.

          • RIPTA42

            Lumping them together is useful for the purpose of rebutting the claim that left turns “are banned at most every intersection” on 42nd Street.

          • Allan Rosen

            But that way you count the entire intersection as allowing left turns when it is really only allowed in one direction biasing the totals.

          • RIPTA42

            You were only referring to wrong way movements onto one-way streets? You wouldn’t make a right turn if you want to turn left and the street is one way. You would turn left at the next intersection.

          • Allan Rosen

            No. This conversation is getting very confusing. I was wrong about saying most left turns off 42 Street are banned.

            What I should have said is that you may need to make a right turn at Sixth because you cannot make a left onto Fifth or a right from 42 St to Vanderbilt. I’m not sure but right turns onto Madison may also be banned. Most of the turning restrictions are in central midtown on 42 St. There aren’t many streets where you can turn so where it is allowed, the movements are heavy.

          • Allan Rosen

            Ignore this post also.

          • Andrew

            But that way you count the entire intersection as allowing left turns when it is really only allowed in one direction biasing the totals.

            I was responding to this assertion of yours: ” There are no left turn signals on 42 Street because they are banned at most every intersection.”

            In fact, left turns are banned at only 3-4 intersections (depending on the time of day), and another 4 have arrows. Both clauses of your assertion are factually incorrect.

          • Andrew

            Lumping them together is useful for the purpose of rebutting the claim that left turns “are banned at most every intersection” on 42nd Street.

            Glad to see that somebody here knows how to read.

          • Andrew

            Yes, I see them now – thanks for the correction.

          • Andrew

            That is factually incorrect.

            The designated “Thru Streets” have green, yellow, and red arrows for right turns at the permissible right turn locations. When the green and yellow arrows are on, pedestrians are not allowed to cross at the conflicting crosswalk.

            And there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of busy intersections across the city where motorists turning left have to wait on the green ball for an opening in oncoming traffic.

  • Subway Stinker

    Inter city bus terminals in outer boros is not a priority when we have B train service running part time, no express service on F or D lines and sardine can service on the N out of Canal Street. Alan, let’s get real and make Prendergast and Cuomo to restore the MTA to service levels as they were. As for that phoney Bloomberg, don’t forget his ads on tv four years ago when he said he would work to improve subway service. He must have thought that we were jerks, and you know…he was right.

  • mike manhattan beach

    I think one way to speed up local bus service is to reduce the number of bus stops.

    It seems like there stops every block or 2 or 3. With exception of
    avenue blocks (which are appx. 3 street blocks) I think the stops should between 3 and 5 blocks apart.

    As far a bike commuting – how many young people live within a 10 mile radius of midtown (appx 1 hour bike commute) – millions ? I have to think that you (Allan)
    are seeing the feasibility of bike commuting through the eyes of your generation’s
    age – it’s much easier than you think – I am 71 and can bike from Manhattan Beach to City hall within 1 hour:15 and not sweat. Youngsters are much more able
    and willing to take this on and the more that do the less demands on transit.

    • Allan Rosen

      First, I want to commend you on your excellent health, but unfortunately you are not a typical 71 year old. Most people your age and younger would have difficulty walking additional distances to bus stops. Sometimes the difficulty is only temporary but it is still a problem. Sometimes it makes sense to have bus stops 3 blocks apart rather than two, but as a rule I woudn’t go farther than that for local buses.

      • Andrew

        Buses serve New Yorkers of ages, not only 71-year-olds. Closely spaced bus stops may be helpful for bus riders who have difficulty walking more than a few blocks, but they make bus service highly unattractive to potential riders who would be happy to walk a bit further for faster service.

        On bus lines that are particularly busy, one approach to serve both groups is to split the service, with some buses making closely spaced stops and others stopping only at major transfer points and traffic generators.

        Even if the SBS won’t be of use to you personally, it will be very useful to many others. It isn’t all about you.

        • Allan Rosen

          Did I say anything here about SBS or Limited service? As I previously said, they have their place. By making buses more difficult for the elderly, I guess you want more to use Access a Ride. Aren’t you the one who is always talking about the need for the MTA to save money? You do know that it costs over $50 per person to provide access an access a ride trip.

          • RIPTA42

            Your rallying cry against bike lanes is that they serve a minority of the population (cyclists) at the expense of a majority (cars), yet 54 percent of NYC households own bicycles while only 46 percent own cars.

            Now you want the needs of the elderly to drive bus route planning. Only 25 percent of NYC households have a member who is 65 or older.

          • Allan Rosen

            As I previously stated, you can use statistics to prove anything. The fact is that car and bicycle ownership numbers are meaningless. Some use their cars only on weekends, not to commute. Some use their bikes even less frequently like once a month. I own two bicycles and neither one has been used in eight years. You need to look at the percentage who commute by various modes, not ownership which proves nothing.

          • RIPTA42

            One more time: streets are for more than just commuting. More than half of the respondents who owned bicycles use them at least weekly.

            If car ownership numbers are meaningless, where are you getting your figure that the majority is being punished?

          • Allan Rosen

            because there is obviously more non-bicycle traffic than there is bicycle traffic.

          • RIPTA42

            There is obviously more non-pedestrian traffic than pedestrian traffic. Should we eliminate sidewalks to turn more real estate over to cars?

          • Allan Rosen

            It depends which streets you are talking about. In midtown I would say there is more pedestrian traffic than vehicular traffic so should we make midtown a virtual pedestrian mall and reduce all roadways to only a single lane?

          • Andrew

            That would seem to align with your position, not his. You were arguing that we don’t need bike lanes because there are more motorists than cyclists; by that same argument, where there are more pedestrians than motorists, you would presumably say that we don’t need motor vehicle lanes.

            Personally, I take a more balanced approach, with accommodations provided even for minority modes. RIPTA42 can speak for himself, but he seems to have a similar approach.

          • Andrew

            You have objected to SBS on countless occasions, including this very article.

            I have never proposed eliminating local service. On the contrary, I advocate running both local and SBS buses, to serve both the riders who favor short walks over fast service and the riders who favor fast service over short walks. Many New Yorkers find that closely spaced bus stops give them access to bus service that they’d otherwise have difficult reaching, and travel time is secondary. But many other New Yorkers find bus service highly unattractive because it is so pathetically slow, and giving them the option of faster service, with fewer stops and with strategically placed bus lanes, is key to attracting ridership.

          • Allan Rosen

            My objections to SBS have been very specific. I have never objected to SBS in general, only the locations chosen or the reasons for choosing a certain corridor. I never accused you of proposing to eliminate local bus service so again you are putting words in my mouth.

          • flatbush depot

            agreed.

          • Andrew

            You have objected (quite a bit) to the notion of having some buses skip some of the less-busy stops so that riders at the busier stops can have more faster service.

          • Allan Rosen

            It depends on how busy those stops are. If you have two block spacing and the stops are moderately busy, I think converting that part of the route to three block spacing is a good idea and should be done. My problem is if all the stops are very busy or very lightly used. If very busy, leaving the two block spacing and adding limited is a better idea. Otherwise all you do is overcrowd already crowded stops and make the people walk longer by going from 2 to 3 block spacing and no time is saved because the buses just dwell longer at the remaining stops.

            If all the stops are lightly used, it also does not make sense to switch from 2 to 3 block spacing since the buses would normally skip most of the stops anyway so why inconvenience to the few who use the bus stops by making them walk longer and risk missing a bus that could add 10 minutes to their trip unless you just want to increase the number or parking spaces?

          • Andrew

            By ” having some buses skip some of the less-busy stops so that riders at the busier stops can have more faster service” I’m referring to limited or SBS service. (And the word “more” should have been omitted – sorry if that made it unclear.)

          • Allan Rosen

            I’ve never objected to Limited service and you know what my SBS objections are. My comments about local bus stops are still valid.

          • Andrew

            I replied in great detail to your SBS objections half a year ago. You blew me off in response.

          • Allan Rosen

            You raised a few valid points in that post. But the reason I blew you off at that time was just prior to that you insulted me and I told you that if it continues, I will no longer reply to your posts. The insults did continue. Then you expected me to respond like nothing ever happened. Looks like you finally started to behave yourself.

          • Andrew

            I was not insulting you. I was criticizing your posts, much as I and others are doing now.

            You are not my mother. I don’t need you to tell me that I’m behaving myself.

    • sonicboy678

      It’s good to hear that you’re in pretty good health — especially at your age — but what you are saying is a bit misguided. Even if I had a job (I’m still a school student), I would never consider using bikes to go to/from work. I don’t care how far I am from Midtown, my job, or anywhere else. I would much rather use the bus or the train to get to work.

      • Andrew

        Then don’t. I don’t ride a bike either.But a number of my coworkers bike to work (and enjoy it), and I’ve heard other coworkers say that they wish they could bike if only there were better bicycle infrastructure. I support improved bicycle infrastructure even though I’m unlikely to ever use it myself.

        It isn’t all about me, or you, or Allan.

        • Allan Rosen

          With Citibike in place and more bike lanes where you don’t have to take away a traffic lane to provide them, we have all the infrastructure we need. We do not need to repeat mistakes like what was done on Vanderbilt Avenue turning it into a parking lot during rush hours inconveniencing far more people than were helped.

          • RIPTA42

            Not if those bike lanes don’t connect to any meaningful accommodation.

          • fdtutf

            So putting in bike lanes, per se, means that “we have all the infrastructure we need,” as long as we don’t remove any automobile lanes?

            You are the same fellow who wants us to believe he’s not pro-car at the expense of all other modes, right? Because that’s sure how you’re sounding here.

          • Allan Rosen

            It was done on Bedford Avenue without removing lanes so it could be done elsewhere. Wherever you remove a lane you will most likely cause congestion unless you are talking about streets like Seaview Avenue where the anticipated traffic never materialized because planned bridges were never built so it never became a through street.

          • RIPTA42

            There are some streets where lanes are excessively wide and it can be done without removing a lane. That’s the case on portions of both Bedford Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue. Along the one-way portion of Bedford Avenue, a lane was eliminated for the bike lane.

          • Allan Rosen

            A through lane was removed on Vanderbilt and turned into a left turn lane. Those left turn lanes were not necessary. I was speaking to someone yesterday who was working for a consultant looking into the impact of removing th LAN on Vamderbilt as part of the Barclay Center traffic impact study. When DOT informed them of the change and the traffic model went crazy showing negative traffic impacts all over the place. Their recommendation to DOT was to restore the lane which they of course refused to do.

            I also believe a lane was lost on the one way portion of Bedford also to accommodate bikes. On the two way portion there was no impact.

          • RIPTA42

            I did my own quick simulation. Granted, it’s based on old numbers I have at hand (2016 No-Build from the Atlantic Yards EIS) and assumed optimized signal timing, but I see minor negative traffic impacts, not crazy negative traffic impacts.

            Did this consultant look into the crash impacts of removing the lane? http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4049/4707047371_5176467018_o.jpg

          • Allan Rosen

            Accidents may or may not have been part of the analysis but it certainly is not the only factor to consider. Traffic movement is the primary focus of such a study. If the Vanderbilt change resulted in delays at various intersections all over the neighborhood according to the model and those delays did not exist when four lanes were programmed into the model, that is good enough reason not to make the change, and that was the consultant’s recommendation.

          • Andrew

            Traffic movement is the primary focus of such a study.

            Your bias is showing.

          • Allan Rosen

            That is not a bias. That was the purpose of the study and that’s what it should have been. That’s the purpose of doing them in the first place because if it shows there are no ways to handle the traffic impacts, you do not proceed with the development. Why do the study merely as an exercise and proceed to develop if it will result in traffic congestion?

          • Andrew

            There are many possible reasons to do a traffic study. Maximizing automobile throughput and and or speed is just one possible reason.

            In this particular case, there were four stated objectives to the change: creating dedicated cycling space, improving pedestrian comfort and safety, further calm traffic for all street users, and improve streetscape. A study of the impacts of the change should primarily, though of course not exclusively, consider how well it has achieved its stated objectives.

          • Allan Rosen

            I wonder how pedestrian comfort has improved during rush hours when now there are seven blocks with cars idling in one direction for the entire rush hour and the pollution that is causing when previously traffic was free flowing and there was little pollution.

            Talk about selective presentation of data. Of course speeds have slowed because no one is moving at all. You just sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Why don’t they show average speed limits by hour before and after? Because they don’t want you to see the rush hour congestion this change has caused.

            And why did the consultant recommend the change be rescinded? That they won’t tell you either.

          • Andrew

            You just sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

            Nonsense. And this isn’t the first time you’ve vastly overstated the impacts of a small loss of vehicular capacity. On First Avenue, for instance, you repeatedly insisted that travel times had increased by 15 minutes and that there was a major diversion of traffic to other avenues, when, in fact, travel times and volumes on First Avenue remained essentially unchanged.

            There’s a real live traffic engineer participating in this thread. Rather than arguing with him, why don’t you take the opportunity to learn something from him?

          • Allan Rosen

            So I guess I would have to waste a half hour of my life to prove it to you. Wait, that wouldn’t work because you would insist that something special was going on that day.

            If I am exaggerating, why doesn’t the DOT study show rush hour travel times and speeds after the change? Allthey say is less cars are speeding. What are they hiding and why did the traffic engineers who performed the study suggest to DOT that they reverse the changes? Answer those questions please without calling me a liar.

          • Andrew

            You’ve been wasting a lot more than a half hour of your life right here.

            I’m not calling you a liar. I said that you often vastly overstate impacts.

          • Allan Rosen

            Well I guess you are “wasting” your life here also. And you contradict virtually everything I say often putting words in my mouth to prove points.

          • RIPTA42

            “No one is moving at all.” That’s why the 85th percentile speed is still greater than the speed limit.

            Where is this recommended rescission?

          • Allan Rosen

            But those speed limits are not by time of day and do not show what happens in the rush hour.

          • RIPTA42

            No, it shows what’s happening when pedestrians are at the greatest risk of being killed by speeding cars. What’s happening in rush hours is measured in delay time, not speed, and is measured by the aforementioned simulation.

          • RIPTA42

            If there are minor increases in delay but dramatically fewer and less severe crashes, that’s reason enough to make the change. If any increase in delay were enough not to do something, there would be no such thing as a stop sign or a traffic signal.

          • Allan Rosen

            From what I was told the increases in delays were major not minor. And that’s what I have witnessed first hand on several occasions during the rush hours. The delays may not be as significant at other times.

          • Andrew

            Allan, I get the distinct impression from this post that you’re arguing the principles of traffic engineering with an actual traffic engineer.

            RIPTA42, if you don’t mind my asking, are you a traffic engineer? Feel free not to answer.

          • RIPTA42

            Yes.

          • flatbush depot

            snap snap snap…

          • Andrew

            I love it.

          • Andrew

            The primary rationale for the Vanderbilt Avenue bike lane was to improve safety by reducing speeding. (The same goes for the Prospect Park West bike lane.)

            http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/vanderbiltave.pdf

            http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2012_ppw_trb2012.pdf

          • Andrew

            Your bias is showing.

          • Allan Rosen

            Well then they certainly succeeded in reducing speeding. . Now traffic just stands still during rush hours. No one can go faster than five mph. Hooray for DOT.

          • Andrew

            Hyperbole much?

  • Andrew

    It’s pretty obvious that the B44 isn’t the best route for the a trip from Manhattan Beach to Clinton Hill – whether local or limited or SBS.

    Have you tried the B1 to the F to the G? Or the B1 to the F to the C? Or the B1 to the B/Q to the Franklin shuttle (to the C or B25 or B48, if necessary)?

    Even if the B44 isn’t terribly useful for you, it managed to pick up 39.661 fares per weekday in 2012, so apparently somebody finds it useful. Brooklyn has a lot of north-south streets with a lot of lanes, and the conversion of one to bus-only does not lead to instant carmageddon.

    • Allan Rosen

      I give you credit for coming up with the B1 to the F to the C which I believe would be the best way to get there and would be one fare but woud still take about an hour and a quarter. The MTA recommends B49 to B train to B48 bus at two fares and one hour three minutes but Empire Blvd is not an area I would feel comfortable changing from train to bus.

      Even though there are a lot of north south streets and a lot of lanes, it still takes about 15 minutes to travel the short distance from Empire Blvd to Eastern Parkway on any one of those seven avenues during the morning rush hour and fewer lanes will only increase that tie for those who can’t use the SBS.

      • flatbush depot

        “it still takes about 15 minutes to travel the short distance from Empire Blvd to Eastern Parkway on any one of those seven avenues during the morning rush hour”

        as of when?

        • Allan Rosen

          As of several years ago, the last time I tried it. I really doubt it is any better today. Eastern Parkway has the traffic signal priority over north south avenues, so they all get severely backed up during the morning rush.

          • Andrew

            You’re basing your analysis on a sample size of one (and an old one at that)?

          • flatbush depot

            wait, one what?

          • RIPTA42

            Allan’s 15 minute trip from Empire Boulevard to Eastern Parkway several years ago.

          • flatbush depot

            but he must have had other motorists sharing the road with him, taking the same 15 minute trip.

            I hope it does not still take that long, but if it does, looks like I gotta fight that battle too, later on, so that the B44 SBS does not have to deal with such nonsense..for whatever it is worth.

      • Andrew

        The MTA Trip Planner allows you to select whether you’d prefer to minimize transfers, fare, travel time, or walking distance. If your top priority is to keep the fare to a minimum, perhaps you selected the wrong option.

        Improving travel times and reliability on a busy bus corridor attracts new ridership, some of which would have previously driven. Even a small decrease in traffic volumes can generate a significant reduction in congestion. (No, not everyone who drives will shift to the bus, but nobody was counting on that.) Giving up one driving lane to buses may, in the long run, be beneficial to both motorists and bus riders.

        On the flip side, keeping the status quo will allow the long-term decline in bus ridership to continue. Riding buses will increasingly be perceived as a last resort, and car ownership and use will increase – increasing traffic congestion even more.

        And aside from these pragmatic points, insisting that bus riders can’t have even a measly one pair (northbound and southbound) of exclusive bus lanes, to provide them with a little bit of immunity to traffic jams caused by lots and lots of cars, is plainly selfish.

        • sonicboy678

          Trust me, those bus lanes are just going to sit around most of the time and be meaningless. Unless the rules are enacted and enforced 24/7, it really wouldn’t be all that practical to have the bus lanes. After all, they’re there for a reason.

          • flatbush depot

            you wanna do something about those useless bus lanes, other than press the NYPD to enforce? if so, let me know. traffic enforcement is a band-aid solution and trying to fix that would be a serious waste of time unless they started eliminating lots of parking spaces and revoking licenses for double parking on streets where buses run and using bus lanes.

          • sonicboy678

            Those could work. (I’m not being entirely serious, but enforcing these rules can help somewhat.)

            Ultimately, I don’t see the purpose of having bus lanes if they’re going to be used for short time periods as exclusive lanes. It’s as if they’re not being used to their full potential as exclusive lanes, yet they force other lanes to become more crowded unnecessarily. Bike lanes can also have problems, but that’s a different story. The point is, we have to find a better way to balance the various forms of traffic. We can’t just make special lanes without properly weighing in everything going into it. Why have the lanes when their sole purpose seems to be screwing over the others? Why have the restrictions in effect for such short times as opposed to all?

          • flatbush depot

            -you do realize that the fact that there will be bus bulbs north of JCT so the SBS buses do not have to move over to enter/exit bus stops will probably discourage people from driving in the bus lanes even when it is not technically in effect, right?

            -why so much pity on motorists when so many of them violate the rules and inconvenience thousands of bus riders every single day by double parking on bus streets? all that pity does is encourage car-dependence, which discourages transit use, and each additional vehicle (in this case the vehicle of concern is the private automobile) on a bus street absolutely makes the buses on that street slower, and each additional vehicle on a street crossing that bus street has the potential to make the buses on that street slower (mainly due to traffic signals, most of which suck and are especially bad for the buses).

            -you do realize that with the double parking that is currently done on many of these roads, there really is no difference between the motorists double parking like they currently do (Nostrand Ave b/w Clarkson and Linden Blvd has been terrible with double parking for a long time..), blocking off a lane, and DOT placing bus lanes on these roads, closing off a lane to traffic? again, why so much pity on motorists when they do it (double parking and whatnot) to themselves so much?

            -do you want to be a player in a mass transit movement badly enough to avoid using cars unless you absolutely have to (like if a family member asks you to, which is the only time I ever drive. not saying you should do the same, just giving an example)?

            -if not, you have any other really good ways of being a player in this movement?

            -see also my responses to Allan. one from 7/17/2013 at 22:54, the other from 7/17/2013 at 22:57.

          • flatbush depot

            listen sonic, I do not mean to come off as hostile or anything like that, but I think my frustration is justified.

            I also would like to see the lanes in effect at all times, but as I said the presence of the bus bulbs will probably have an effect similar to that of a 24/7 bus lane.

            I just do not see your argument about how the bus lanes are only there to screw over others. scofflaw motorists have essentially the same effect, doing plenty of screwing over already, as has been the case for years..I know Nostrand well; I have been there plenty of times over the past few years..

            if you are going to say “we have to find a better way to balance the various forms of traffic,” do you have any specific ideas?

          • flatbush depot

            I mean I only drive if a family member asks me to (which is not often). misuse of a pronoun in my 7/17/2013-23:04 post.

          • Andrew

            The purpose of the bus lanes is to give bus riders rapid, reliable service, not “screwing over the others.”

          • Allan Rosen

            But the others will be screwed over.

          • flatbush depot

            they already get screwed over by scofflaw motorists! what difference does it make!? half of em do it to themselves and their ‘fellow’ motorists anyway!

          • Andrew

            There are 20 north-south streets in each mile (at least as far up as Church). Each of those streets has at least one lane available to cars. The loss of one lane in each direction reduces vehicular capacity only slightly. It is a small loss to motorists and a great gain to bus riders. It is a very small step toward the balanced transportation system that I think we should be aiming for.

            I realize that you think that bus lanes (and bike lanes and pedestrian improvements) should only be implemented when they have no potential negative impact to motorists. That’s a bias.

          • Allan Rosen

            I was talking about streets between Eastern Parkway and Empire so why are you talking about 20 streets as far as up to Church? I guess you are saying it is alright to divert traffic to all those residential streets. I would feel much better about using parking lanes for SBS than using moving traffic lanes. I don’t consider that any type of bias.

          • flatbush depot

            and why would you want to do that if when a local bus stops at a bus stop in the curbside bus lane, an SBS bus has to circumvent the local bus (contending with motorists who do not want to let the bus into the open lane) or wait for it to move?

          • Allan Rosen

            You have the same problem where the parking lane is used for a bus bulb and the bus lane becomes a bus stop, buses still have to pass each other.

            When SBS was initially presented, the plan was to either use a parking lane or a traffic lane. The traffic lane was chosen because communities didn’t want to lose parking spaces.

          • Andrew

            So you only object to the B44 SBS bus lane between Empire and Eastern?! That’s news to me.

            Even though north-south streets are more widely spaced north of Church, there are still plenty of them. If Rogers and Nostrand aren’t to your liking, you have plenty of other streets to choose from.

          • Allan Rosen

            I’ve tried most of them. They are all clogged during the morning rush and unless parking spaces are eliminated on some of those avenues which is not proposed, they will get even slower.

          • Andrew

            Stop and think about what you’re saying. Even with many alternative routes, cars take up so much space that they’re still all clogged. Wouldn’t it pay for all parties involved to promote modes that consume far less space per person?

            That is, not only is refusing to give up one measly pair of lanes to buses incredibly selfish, it’s simply counterproductive – even to someone who will never personally set foot on a bus.

          • Allan Rosen

            I said they were clogged because Eastern Parkway has the traffic signal priority. Perhaps there might be a better way to set the signals that would reduce some of the congestion on the avenues crossing it by slightly changing the priority.

        • Allan Rosen

          I just tried the MTA Trip Planner again and this time I selected “minimize fares”. I got three alternatives all costing $5 each way. Your option of the B1 to the F to the C or G did not appear.

          • flatbush depot

            MTA trip planner is a little stupid. so is google transit. I think both of em kinda suck. I prefer using my knowledge of the system to determine what to do. although it does help that I use an unlimited MC.

            when you have an unlimited MC it helps tremendously b/c you can ride as many transit vehicles as you want without worrying about paying more. it makes the system much easier to use.

            although having an unlimited MC is much better when you have no car than when you do have one.

            it would probably be more worthwhile for one to fight for better transit if one used an unlimited MC and did not own a car than it would be for one to use a PPR MC, own a car, and worry about all this extra fare-dodging as PPR users must do.

            why did you use the present tense when referring to traffic around Eastern Pkwy when you have not seen that area in the AM rush in several years? are there any parking or standing regulations that our wonderful scofflaw motorists regularly disobey(ed) that may have caused those traffic jams? you sure it was all because of the fact that Eastern Pkwy gets so much green time?

          • flatbush depot

            by the way I do not expect you, Allan, to dump your car and get an unlimited MC any time soon. or leave Manhattan Beach to go to a safe neighborhood more conducive to a car-free lifestyle. as I said on NYCTF you made the decision to live there for reasons x, y, and z, and that is your business. I was referring to people in general.

          • flatbush depot

            “it would probably be more worthwhile for one to fight for better transit
            if one used an unlimited MC and did not own a car than it would be for
            one to use a PPR MC, own a car, and worry about all this extra
            fare-dodging as PPR users must do.”

            b/c that fare-dodging is yet another disincentive for one to use transit rather than drive, and merely talking about how this caused one to avoid using the transit system and writing articles about how this caused one to avoid using the transit system are probably less effective than eschewing cars at all costs and telling everybody about how one avoided using cars, dealt with the transit system, got some exercise while doing it (walking) assuming it was physically possible and not painful, and will gladly do it again but hopes more people understand that these problems need to be solved and the government must help.

            meanwhile the person contributes to no traffic or parking issues (which are responsible for many of his/her traffic congestion complaints and whatnot) b/c the person never uses cars.

          • Allan Rosen

            During the rush hours many of those avenues ban parking at least on one side of the street to create an extra lane. All it takes is one scofflaw to destroy that extra lane. Additional parking may be banned because of the B44 SBS but it won’t increase capacity for cars on Nostrand and Rogers. If they would or coud ban more parking on the parallel streets and would enforce it, that would help and possibly could even cancel out the negative traffic effect resulting from the SBS, but I don’t believe changes are planned for the other avenues.

          • flatbush depot

            so? the scofflaws who double park cause there to be the same capacity for cars on these roads as there would be if there were a bus lane!

            they should go as far as to make a law telling all the cars to turn off the street with the bus lane during middays (when there will be 1 bus lane and 1 traffic lane) and go elsewhere to continue their trips if the 1 traffic lane is blocked by a double parked vehicle unless and only unless it can be proven that the offending vehicle was double parked for emergency reasons.

            rush hours, go into the unblocked traffic lane as long as that lane is not blocked. BUT NOT THE BUS LANE. if no traffic lane is available, get to another street. I would have no problem following such rules if I were driving on these roads. remember, I do have a license.

            or am I going to get the same old tired responses from the government and citizenry about how this is not the answer and something else needs to be done (after which statements everybody goes back to business as usual and nothing is done about these problems).

          • flatbush depot

            “the scofflaws who double park cause there to be the same capacity for cars on these roads as there would be if there were a bus lane!”

            so do the scofflaws who park next to the curb when the curb lane is supposed to be moving.

            remember what a mess we get ourselves into when we try to fight battles against human nature when it is allied with the personal automobile, in order to improve bus speeds. that is why the number of personal autos on these roads needs to be decreased and it would help if car-independence were promoted more.

          • flatbush depot

            forget about the emergency reasons; it makes no sense to attempt for a person to figure out whether the offending vehicle is there for emergency reasons when a person is driving..

      • Andrew

        I should add, perhaps you should recommend that the MTA add a new option to its Trip Planner to avoid transfers at locations that were unsafe in 1993.

        • Allan Rosen

          People make travel decisions based on perceived safety not actual safety. That’s why some still refuse to set foot on the train.

          • flatbush depot

            I suppose this is why younger generations are a good thing; if people thought areas were unsafe forever and these ideas were unreasonably maintained from generation to generation, neighborhoods that are/were in hell would remain in hell forever..

          • Andrew

            And do you think transportation policy should be determined based on a small number of people who still hold onto decades-old perceptions?

            I don’t think I know of anyone, young or old, who still refuses to ride the subway because he or she thinks it’s dangerous. (I know people who don’t ride the subway for other reasons, but safety is not the issue.) How many such people are still around?

          • flatbush depot

            I will tell you that I used to criticize express buses running in areas served by subways a lot. nowadays I think differently b/c women have dealt with problems on crowded subways that they do not really deal with on express buses.

            part of it is that they do not have to live in places where they would have to depend on insanely crowded train lines to get around (try spreading out, going a bit further out in the outer boros but still near at least one train line etc) and there is also the thing about riding the trains with a friend or significant other (hopefully the significant other would do his due diligence by riding with her, making sure she is ok riding these trains with or without him or her crew, etc), but still.

            but this is more of a social problem than a transportation policy I suppose. it is definitely more of an issue than walking around Empire Blvd or Bedford-Nostrand Aves/LaFayette Ave or Flatbush/Nostrand Aves though.

            I do not think there is much to be worried about unless you are the only decent/non-threatening person waiting for the bus (the B48 by Prospect Pk in this case. I think even the B43 shares that stop w/ the 48, which means you are more likely to have more people waiting than if it were the 48 stopping there by itself).

            although honestly I am speaking from the POV of younger persons, not the POV of Allan who is older and rightfully has his own opinions about what makes comfortable and so on, so let us keep that in mind.

          • Allan Rosen

            Now you are basing your opinion on a sample size of one. But you can do that.

          • Andrew

            Sample size? What’s the sample?

            I’ll ask my question again, since apparently you missed it: ” And do you think transportation policy should be determined based on a small number of people who still hold onto decades-old perceptions?”

        • flatbush depot

          +1

          I was wondering though, where do you get these random years from? I remember a year ago you said he was stuck in 1989 thinking Flatbush/Nostrand Aves was a hotbed of crime (may have been an exaggeration on your part, but w/e) and now you talk about 1993..I do not remember him saying anything about Flatbush/Nostrand Aves as it was in 89 or Empire Blvd as it was in 93..

          • Allan Rosen

            It makes him sound more legitimate if he throws in years. The only time I would use a specific year is if I could cite something noteworthy that happened that year. Otherwise, I probably would just cite the decade or say something like early eighties.

          • flatbush depot

            ah ok.

          • Andrew

            Nothing specific about 1993 or 1989 (I could have said “about two decades ago” – would you have preferred that?). I think it’s pretty common knowledge that violent crime rates spiked in the late 80′s and early 90′s, and that’s the period I’m referring to.

          • flatbush depot

            no preference. I see what you are saying.