Archive for the tag 'op-ed'

The F train rumbles into the Smith-9th Street station. Source: Emily Kay Bachman / Flickr

The F train rumbles into the Smith-9th Street station. Source: Emily Kay Bachman / Flickr

Allan Rosen is on vacation this week. Filling in for him is John Rozankowski, Ph.D., a long-time community activist with a keen interest in mass transit issues, who has contributed to Sheepshead Bites in the past.

THE COMMUTE: Once again I have the pleasure of filling-in for Allan Rosen, who is on vacation again. Isn’t he the lucky one? I’m John Rozankowski, author of “Bring On the Express – Nighttime.”

In his State of the MTA speech on March 3, 2008, MTA CEO Lee Sander said:

“The MTA network’s 55 miles of underused middle track on elevated subway lines also represent a tremendous opportunity that we must exploit. These lines, primarily in Brooklyn and the Bronx, might enable additional express services to be operated, shortening travel times between these boroughs and the Manhattan core.”

Ridership has been surging to heights unknown since the early 1950s and spreading throughout the daytime hours. On many lines, rush hour is really all-day and most of the evening. Most lines are running at capacity and trains are crushingly overcrowded.

More express service is the only feature that can make subway travel more bearable and more attractive. It’s more than saving time. It’s more than reducing the tedious boredom of too many stops as it is at night. Express service redistributes passenger loads more efficiently with benefits both to riders and the operators.

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Bring On The Express


Source: Bill Sweeney / Flickr

Source: Bill Sweeney / Flickr

Allan Rosen is on vacation this week. Filling in for him is John Rozankowski, Ph.D., a long-time community activist with a keen interest in mass transit issues, who has contributed to Sheepshead Bites in the past.

THE COMMUTE: Frequently, when the subject of express service is discussed, MTA officials love to point out that other cities don’t have it. When the F train was re-routed to 63rd Street and the V train took over its original run via 53rd Street (2001), MTA spokesperson Paul Fleuranges indicated this and added that “New Yorkers are spoiled (by express service).”

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The brand new B44 Select Bus Service, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

The brand new B44 Select Bus Service, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTEOn Friday, Mayor Bloomberg and the press took a ride on the 7 extension to 34th Street, although the line is still six months away from completion. He was hoping to have it finished before he left office. He failed, but received the press coverage he desired.

The M42 bus branch to 34th Street was discontinued in 2010 due to a lack of ridership. So what do we do when there is inadequate demand for bus service? We build a new subway instead, of course. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

The subway was not extended to meet existing demand but to stimulate real estate development for the Hudson Yards project. The mayor pointed out that was how it was done in the old days. First you built the rapid transit line, and that encouraged development. Not the other way around, building subways as a response to development. The subway was not extended for the benefit of subway riders, like the Second Avenue Line, which will relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line. It was extended to help Bloomberg’s millionaire developer friends get even richer.

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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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Source: MovieClips

Source: MovieClips

THE COMMUTE: Last week, Sheepshead Bites reported on legislation being considered by the City Council to lower the speed limit on city residential streets narrower than 60 feet wide from 30 mph to 25 mph. It is a compromise to legislation proposed by City Councilmember David Greenfield to lower the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph. The City Council is currently revising the language of the law, which they hope to enact before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office.

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The brand new B44 Select Bus Service, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

The brand new B44 Select Bus Service, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: This week we are taking another look at the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS). On Monday we discussed major problems thus far: confusion, not enough SBS stops, and inadequate service on New York Avenue. We discussed actions taken by some local elected officials. Yesterday we shared some rider and operator reviews gathered from an email, the media, and transit discussion groups on the internet. Today we will share a few more reviews and draw some conclusions.

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The B44 SBS debuts along Nostrand Avenue. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

The B44 SBS debuts along Nostrand Avenue. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Yesterday, in Part 1, we provided some media coverage from NewsChannel 12 and NY 1 showing rider frustrations with the new B44 Select Bus Service (SBS). That is not to say that everyone is unhappy about it. As I predicted, those traveling long distances who can make use of the SBS stops will save time and be pleased. You can never please everybody. The question remains: Will more riders be helped or hurt by this new service?

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Select Bus Service  on the B44 route, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

Select Bus Service on the B44 route, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Select Bus Service (SBS) on the first route in Brooklyn, the B44, is now one week old. I have not yet had a chance to observe or ride the SBS or the B44 local, so at this time I can only offer second-hand information.

As to be expected, there was much confusion resulting from the elimination of the Limited service, which has been replaced with SBS; removal of some Limited stops, which became local stops only, and the rerouting of half of the buses from New York Avenue to Rogers Avenue. Bus riders were informed of the start date through automated announcements on the buses during the week prior to implementation. Not enough information was given to avoid confusion.

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THE COMMUTE: After two years of delay, and five years of planning, the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS) finally made its debut yesterday along Nostrand Avenue. Limited stops at Avenues L, R, S, V, W, Y and Z are no longer in effect since the Limited has been discontinued, so do not wait for one. You now either have to take the local or walk to the closest SBS stop.

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A Capital District Transportation Authority Gillig Low Floor BRT hybrid bus. Source: Wikipedia

A Capital District Transportation Authority Gillig Low Floor BRT hybrid bus. Source: Wikipedia

THE COMMUTE: I thank Dr. John Rozankowski for filling in for me last week as I enjoyed a week away from New York City and the internet in the Adirondacks. I was limited to the television for accessing the news, most of which was the usual local variety featuring the latest fires and murders. However, there was one story which interested me — Albany’s version of our Select Bus Service or Bus Rapid Transit, which they call Bus Plus. There is currently one Bus Plus route in service with plans for three more. I will explain later why we should care about this and how it affects you.

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