THE COMMUTE: I have better things to do on Memorial Day than watching buses. But after last year’s mayhem, I thought it was my duty to at least check out the crowding this Memorial Day, especially after the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association’s (MBNA) request for additional beach shuttle buses, which I do not believe is necessary. There was no mayhem this year, but things did not go smoothly either.
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THE COMMUTE: Last month, I wrote that some neighborhood residents want assurances from the MTA that this Memorial Day will not be a repeat of last year’s holiday, when thousands attempted to leave the beach at the same time, severely overloading the bus system. This week’s Bay News reported that a pow-wow was held about this matter on April 29 between the MBNA, Community Board 15’s chairperson Theresa Scavo, and unnamed MTA officials.
The MBNA is asking for extra buses on summer weekends from the “new” stop at Hastings Street directly to the Brighton subway because, according to resident Stan Kaplan, “Everyone leaves the beach at the same time and just wants to get to the train… We really need just to take hundreds of people from the beach quickly and efficiently.” MBNA spokesman Edmond Dweck stated, “Buses were so full that they couldn’t stop for everyone,” referring to Memorial Day of last year.
Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here is the rest of the story.”
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THE COMMUTE: “Making Every Dollar Count” has been Jay Walder’s slogan since taking over as Chairman of the MTA, but is he really doing that? Last week’s article focused on restoring the B4. I suggested that a service restoration resulting from last June’s service cutbacks could be paid for by operating separate school open schedules for Fridays on certain routes because of lower bus usage on Friday afternoons. I stated that buses leaving Kingsborough College around 3:00 p.m. left the school nearly empty because of a half-day Friday schedule. So on Friday, April 29, I decided to count buses and passengers for two hours from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Oriental Boulevard and West End Avenue to see how correct I was.
Keep reading to find out what Rosen found.
THE COMMUTE: Sheepshead Bites reported on overflowing crowds at Manhattan Beach bus stops last Memorial Day, with inadequate bus service to handle these crowds leaving the beach. Now some neighborhood residents want assurances from the MTA that this will never happen again.
What happened last year could have had disastrous consequences and the MTA needs to do something, but the question remains whether the obvious solution to increase service is worth the cost involved. First of all, the beach only gets crowded on a summer holiday weekend when the forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s, which certainly does not happen every holiday weekend. Scheduling extra buses to the subway on a regular basis could just be a waste of scarce resources.
Read about the history of beach route bus planning, and what, if anything, the MTA should do to accommodate holiday weekend crowds.
THE COMMUTE: Bus service is the MTA’s job, but Kingsborough can assist the MTA in improving bus service by taking the following measures.
- Provide security officers to assist MTA dispatchers and bus drivers
- Inform the MTA every time there is a deviation in the school schedule
- Move the bus terminal from Mackenzie Street to inside college property
The MTA cannot do the job by itself. Here is why.
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Photo by a-NeRo86 via Flickr
The following op-ed is by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981). For a complete list of his contributions to Sheepshead Bites, which includes many articles about the bus cuts, MTA and DOT, click here.
A bus arriving every two minutes sounds like great service. Well it is, if you are a Kingsborough College or Leon Goldstein High School student, but not so great if you are not.
On October 5, which was not an unusual day, between 2:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. fourteen B1 buses left Kingsborough College but only one of them made any other stops before arriving at the Brighton Beach Subway station. During this period, at least 25 other passengers needed the B1 and their wait exceeded a half hour. This happens every school day.
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Photo courtesy of a reader
A 4-year-old boy is dead and his 45-year-old mother is hospitalized after a B49 MTA bus hit them on Oriental Boulevard near Falmouth Street at around 4:30 p.m.
The child reportedly ran into the middle of the street, and the mother darted out to stop him. Unfortunately, the bus was moving too quickly and hit the child, while the mother was struck by the bus mirror.
NYPD, FDNY and a Kingsborough vehicle are on the scene, and police have closed the street off to traffic while they investigate.
A witness told a Sheepshead Bites reader that there was blood from the child, and possibly the mother, too. The child was declared dead at the scene and then transported to Coney Island Hospital. The mother was taken to Lutheran Medical Center in serious condition.
[As this was a breaking news story, there were several updates since the initial post to more accurately reflect the events as they occurred. Please remember that all of our stories are "living" and are reported as information comes in.]
Courtesy of dimaruss34 via Flickr
Some Manhattan Beach residents are saying the MTA dropped the ball in their preparations for Memorial Day, leaving hundreds of people stranded and in the rain along Oriental Boulevard.
The critics say the problem is that thousands flooded to the beach, but, when weather soured, there was only one bus to serve the crowd. According to the Manhattan Beach Community Group:
Late afternoon there was a thunderstorm and the beach emptied. Manhattan Beach is capable of holding 10,000 people and in the lot approximately 900 cars. The problem now became that there was only one bus available to thousands of people trying to get home.
For the past two summers, the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) has been requesting additional buses on hot summer weekends and holidays such as Memorial Day. The situation of weekend schedules for these busy days is unacceptable and does NOT WORK.
The MTA needs to devise plans to provide buses to ensure no one gets hurt and people can go home in a safe way. Hundreds of people waiting at a bus stop is dangerous.
Following a stabbing and other criminal incidents at Coney Island, police began directing beachgoers to neighboring beaches. Manhattan Beach quickly became overburdened, according to the MBCG. Police responded quickly, said MBCG President Ira Zalcman, and the day was without incident. But the MTA let down riders.
Some disagree with MBCG, saying the MTA did their job. Keep reading to find out why.
B49 bus shelter gets demolished (Photo by Ray Johnson)
The B49 bus shelter located in front of 2900 Ocean Avenue has been demolished to make way for a brand new one.
The operator of the hydraulic excavator who was sitting in the cab of the truck, as if in the “calm after the storm,” told us that a new bus shelter will be installed by the next day.
When asked if there was something wrong with the shelter, or if there was some accident that prompted the replacement, he replied, “No, as far as I know, nothing was wrong with it. The city has a lot of money to spend.”
The NYC Department of Transportation says on its website:
We will replace every bus shelter and install an additional 200 (3300 bus shelters total) by 2011. DOT is working closely with community leaders to identify the best locations for additional shelters to ensure that new locations best serve each community and the riding public. For the first time ever, all of our bus shelters will offer seating, especially important for the eldery (sic) and disabled. The City is also exploring exciting new technologies like Bluetooth, LCD screens and real-time bus arrival information.
The DOT tells us that the they are replacing every bus shelter in order to best serve each community. But to fully understand why the city would destroy a perfectly intact bus shelter (a day before Earth Day, nonetheless) to build a new one, we have to figure out the private enterprise that will benefit most from these contracts with the city.
This photograph was taken on Wednesday, April 21, 2010. Has anyone seen the new fancy bus shelter? Let us know, and shoot us a photograph if you have one.