Archive for the tag 'b1'

Photo by Allan Rosen

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Assembly Member William Colton (47th Assembly District – Brooklyn) is announcing that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has agreed to add service to the B1 bus line in southern Brooklyn.

Beginning on August 31, 2014, the B1 bus line will run on a “School-Open Schedule” only. This translates into additional buses on the line, which will help improve service by decreasing the delays, irregular service, and overcrowding.

Previously, the B1 bus service operated on two different schedules: a “School-Open Schedule” when public school was in session, and a “School-Closed Schedule” when public school was not in session. This created a problem when public school was not in session, because there would be less buses running on the B1 line. Although public school was not in session, Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach was often still open. With the large number of students at Kingsborough, when there were less buses running on the B1 line, the buses often would get full with passengers at the Kingsborough bus stop in Manhattan Beach, creating overcrowding, irregular service, and delays on the entire bus line.

With the B1 bus now only operating on a “School-Open Schedule” only, there will be more buses on the line, which will lead to more and improved service for straphangers.

In June, Assemblyman Colton sent a letter to the MTA, asking them to take action to address the problems plaguing the B1 bus line, especially the chronic bus lateness, passenger overcrowding, and irregular service.

Assemblyman Colton worked with Transport Workers Union (TWU) – Local 100 in order to increase and improve the service on the B1 bus line. The Transport Workers Union played a vital role in securing the service change which will ultimately lead to better commutes and easier, faster travels for southern Brooklyn straphangers.

While this is a major community victory for southwest Brooklyn, Colton is aiming to further improve the B1 bus line, an important public transit service in our neighborhoods.

In July, Colton sent a letter to the MTA asking them to purchase new buses for the Ulmer Park Bus Depot, which services most of southwest Brooklyn. Currently, the Ulmer Park Bus Depot has the oldest fleet of buses in the City. A newer fleet of buses for the Depot would mean less mechanical malfunctions and breakdowns, which causes delays, overcrowding, and disruptions in service for passengers. Constituents have complained that often the hydraulic lifts of these older buses malfunction or don’t operate properly. This mechanical malfunction causes a serious problem for riders, especially the elderly, young children, and those carrying heavy bags or packages, making it ever more difficult to board and exit these older buses.

Additionally, Colton also sent a letter to the NYC Department of Transportation asking for the installation of additional pedestrian islands along the B1 bus line, specifically at the bus-stops at 86th Street & 25th Avenue, 86th Street & 24th Avenue, 86th Street & 23rd Avenue, 86th Street & 21st Avenue. These pedestrian plazas will help riders of the B1 bus line board and exit the buses easier and quicker, since they lift passengers six inches off the ground and higher to the door of the bus. In addition, for riders who are senior citizens, children, disabled, or those with limited mobility, the pedestrian plazas will also make boarding and exiting the buses easier as well. In addition, the pedestrian plazas will create a safe space for riders to wait for the bus, so they don’t have to wait in the middle of the street near moving vehicles. Adding pedestrian plazas to these bus stops will create a protective barrier for riders to keep them safe from oncoming traffic.

“I will continue working to improve public transit for the neighborhoods of southwest Brooklyn. This increase in service to the B1 bus line will greatly enhance the quality of life for local residents by reducing wait and travel times, creating easier, faster commutes for straphangers,” asserted Assemblyman Bill Colton. He added, “The B1 services many important areas of our community, including the busy, comercial shopping area of 86th Street. The additional service on the B1 bus line is a win-win situation for the entire community.”

Councilman Mark Treyger, who has been working to improve public transit in southern Brooklyn, affirmed, “This is great news for the many southern Brooklyn residents who rely on the B1 bus and have been frustrated by overcrowding and constant delays. At a time when our neighborhoods are growing and the need for reliable public transportation is more apparent than ever, I will continue to work with Assemblyman Colton, our community and the MTA to increase service elsewhere as needed. Running the B1 bus permanently on a ‘School-Open Schedule’ is a great first step in our ongoing efforts to provide our neighborhoods with the public service options needed to adequately serve our residents. This is only the beginning as we push for further transit improvements across Southern Brooklyn.”

THE COMMUTE: I asked if that was the case back in 2010 when I documented 14 buses in a row bypassing bus stops after loading up at Kingsborough Community College. Since then I have done numerous B1 updates documenting service problems. I have written many times to the last two directors of Bus Operations over the past five years. Each time, I promptly received courteous replies and have met with a half dozen operating personnel on about four occasions, assured that the problem would be addressed and Manhattan and Brighton Beach passengers would not be ignored . Yet the problem persists.

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THE COMMUTE: Before we talk about the anniversary, first some questions the MTA needs to answer regarding the data we presented yesterday regarding eastbound B1 service at Coney Island Avenue and Brighton Beach Avenue.
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The B1 bus, en route to Kingsborough Community College

THE COMMUTE: More about the anniversary tomorrow, but first an update regarding B1 bus service. Last Monday, I noticed a steady stream of college students, about 30 of them, walking a mile and a half from the Brighton Beach train station to Kingsborough Community College (KCC) a little past 9:00 a.m. I haven’t monitored B1 service in awhile, so I figured it was about time for an update. This past Wednesday, I decided to watch the buses arriving and leaving the station. I intended to get there for the morning peak. I know it gets very crowded just before 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. classes. However, I didn’t arrive until 9:15 a.m. Approximately eight buses left the station, just around 9:00 a.m. All of them were full or at least had a seated load. It seemed like service was running pretty well. I didn’t expect to find too many problems since it was already after 9:00 a.m. What I saw surprised me.

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Kingsborough Community College administrators have moved the drop-off location of the yellow school bus that shuttles students from campus to subway station and back, no longer allowing it on the school’s property. The new location has a local civic group fuming that the school is piling on more traffic problems along the problem-prone Oriental Boulevard.

The school made a decision approximately five years weeks ago barring the Safe Coach bus from entering the campus out of a concern for safety, said Ruby Ryles, the school’s spokesperson.

“Public Safety feels they can scrutinize students and others entering the campus on foot better than on the bus,” Ryles told Sheepshead Bites.

The solution they came up with was to begin dropping students off in the same turnaround the MTA uses at Mackenzie Street for its B1 and B49 buses. The problem is, they never asked the MTA’s permission, and the Manhattan Beach Community Group said they feel like the school snubbed them by not asking their opinion.

“They just do things without telling us,” said the group’s president, Ira Zalcman. “They’re in our community, but they never bother listening to our concerns. This has been going on for years.”

Zalcman said he notified the MTA to find if the agency okay’d the co-location. The MTA said absolutely not.

“MTA New York City Transit runs very frequent service out of that loop,” MTA spokesperson Deirdre Parker told Sheepshead Bites. “We feel there is not enough room to accommodate Safe Coach in addition to NYCT buses at that location.  We are looking into our options which includes restricting the stop to Transit buses only.”

The school today agreed to move the location again – this time to Oriental Boulevard just outside of the gates. But they still won’t enter.

“The matter is now resolved,” Ryles said.

Not to the Manhattan Beach Community Group, though.

“Kingsborough almost capitulated. Almost,” Zalcman said when he heard the news. He pointed out that there No Stopping Anytime signs all along that stretch of Oriental Boulevard, which the DOT defines as “you may not wait, stop to load/unload packages or merchandise at curbside, or drop off or pick up passengers at this location.”

“We’re going to call the police station and we expect them to enforce all existing laws. They can’t stand there,” Zalcman said.

The problem, he claims is that it adds to traffic and safety concerns to have a large vehicle there, and to be unnecessarily dumping Kingsborough students into the community. He wants the school bus – and the MTA buses, for that matter – to drop off students on campus.

“It’s enough that we have cars sitting there all day waiting for students. We think they should have a waiting area that should also be on campus. The MTA turnaround should be on campus, the waiting area should be on campus, the yellow bus should be on campus” he said. “We have enough car safety issues in the community, and they just don’t want to listen to our concerns.”

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the decision to discharge students off campus was made five years ago. It was five weeks ago, and the article has been corrected.

A look back in transportation on the year that was. Photo by Brian Hoo

THE COMMUTE: It is difficult to believe that I have been writing “The Commute” for two years. In my reflections for 2011, which seem like yesterday, I explained what I hope to accomplish in this column. I stated that my primary goal is to make a positive difference by getting people more involved in transportation issues. I think we have partially succeeded in that goal. Many of you attended Sheepshead Bay’s transit town hall last summer, which resulted in the full restoration of the B4, effective January 6, 2013. Still, much work remains to be done before Sheepshead Bay residents and those in adjacent neighborhoods have the reliable and affordable service we deserve, which takes us as quickly as possible to our destinations.

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Why is this B49 only going so far as Church Avenue? Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Although buses are scheduled at 10 minutes intervals, if you were trying to get home from Manhattan Beach on the evening of July 4, there is a good chance that you would have had to wait for an hour for a B49. Two weeks ago I reported long waits on both the B1 and B49 buses on a hot summer weeknight during the rush hour, and how service is disrupted on an entire route because the MTA does not pay attention to heavy beach loadings. I decided to return on July 4 to see if conditions would be better or worse.

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Source: MTA

THE COMMUTE: As the second anniversary of the largest service cutbacks in New York City History quietly passed on June 27th, the MTA hinted at its monthly board meeting for the first time that they were considering the restoration of some cuts. The New York Times has the story. No specific mention was made as to which cutbacks were considered for restoration, but it does not hurt to be optimistic that restoration of the B4 and B64 are being considered.

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Students walking two extra blocks to Kingsborough Community College. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Yesterday I discussed service irregularities on the B1 and B49 last Thursday afternoon, a day when the temperature reached the mid-90s and passengers were trying to get home from the beach. Today we look at other service irregularities and measures that can be taken, which the MTA resists.

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A crowd waiting 20 minutes for a bus on Falmouth Street at 5:09 p.m. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Regular readers of this column know that my favorite subject is bus service, especially in Brooklyn. I particularly like to focus on subjects that virtually no one else pays attention to such as service to the area’s beaches. I’ve written about this subject several times before. Having ridden the B49 since the 1960s to go to Manhattan Beach, and constantly witnessing service irregularities dating back to then, I first attempted to get the MTA to pay attention to this problem in 1982 when I was director of the Brooklyn Transit Service Sufficiency Study, since irregular or poor service not only affects beachgoers, but it disrupts service along the entire route for all passengers.

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