Archive for the tag 'service cuts'

A vintage Brooklyn bus map. Source: Enframe Photography

THE COMMUTE: There are two schools of thought on this. One is that changes should be made incrementally as the need arises. That is known as ad-hoc planning. The other is that changes should be made using a comprehensive approach by periodically studying all the routes for deficiencies, for example, once every 10 years, by performing origin-destination surveys and using other data.

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Local elected officials pledged support to bringing back full B4 bus service and other public transportation improvements to the area at last night’s Sheepshead Bay Transit Town Hall, organized by Sheepshead Bites, Transportation Alternatives, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association.

More than 50 people turned out for the event to share their experiences with mass transportation in the area, emphatically expressing the community’s desire to restore the B4 to a 24/7 bus line after service cuts in 2010 eliminated the line east of Ocean Parkway on weekends and off-peak hours on weekdays. The Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association presented elected officials with a petition signed by more than 1,000 people, and when a representative from Transportation Alternatives asked the crowd how many of them were affected by the B4 cuts, every hand in the room went up.

“Over 90 percent of our residents in this community rely on mass transit regularly,” Cymbrowitz said in his opening statements. “Ideas that appear brilliant on paper often fail to deliver in practice. One example? The decision to provide B4 bus service to Knapp Street and Voorhies Avenue during peak periods Monday to Friday, leaving thousands of potential riders without viable mass transit services.”

Keep reading to find out what other concerns and proposals came out of the meeting, and what the next steps will be.

We sure hope you weren’t planning a night out in the city, or perhaps a visit to Ground Zero for September 11. If so, don’t expect the MTA to cooperate with your plans: there will be no Q subway service this weekend in Southern Brooklyn.

From 10:00 p.m. tonight (Friday) to 5:00 a.m. Monday, September 12, there will be no Q trains running between Prospect Park and Stillwell Avenue. There will be shuttle buses, but we all know that’s not the most efficient or speedy service between our area and points north. Here’s the shuttle information:

  • For service between Stillwell Avenue and Brighton Beach, use the B68 bus (Manhattan-bound customers should consider taking the D, F or N train from Stillwell Avenue).
  • For service between Brighton Beach and Prospect Park:
  • Limited shuttle bus makes all station stops between Brighton Beach and Kings Highway, then runs non-stop between Kings Highway, the Flatbush Avenue 2 station and Prospect Park.
  • Local shuttle bus makes all station stops between Kings Highway and Prospect Park.

Additionally, uptown Q trains run local from Canal Street to 34th Street.

In all, this is hopefully the last blast of mass transit pain we’ll see for a while, with a nice emotional salve coming at the beginning of next week, when the express B train makes its triumphant return.

However, we’ve got raised eyebrows at the timing of this. The tenth anniversary of September 11 is an event that many New Yorkers will pay tribute to. And with so many families in Southern Brooklyn affected by the terrorist attacks – given the number of civil servants and emergency responders that hail from our area – it seems that the authority is cutting off access to larger tributes and memorials that residents may have preferred to attend.

Is this weekend shutdown a snub to locals who would’ve liked to attend larger ceremonies? Or just a poorly considered decision to complete last minute work prior to rebooting express Brighton-line service?

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.

After the June 27 bus service cuts, Department of Transportation officials stated that it has not yet made a decision regarding the fate of the bus shelters that would no longer be needed. Now it seems they have.

Some of them, if not all, are being demolished.

Three shelters along the former route of the B4 have already been unceremoniously removed: ones along Neptune Avenue at Ocean Parkway, Coney Island Avenue and at Shore Boulevard (pictured above). Relocating the BM 3 express bus terminal stop to its former location across the intersection of Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard could have saved the last shelter. However, that would have required some thought and cooperation with the MTA, but as I stated in my first DOT article, DOT is run by a bunch of idiots.

The removal of the shelters leaves several questions unanswered.

  1. What happened to the ones that were removed? i.e. Can and will they be reassembled elsewhere or did they go to the scrap pile?
  2. Will the contractor erect additional shelters to compensate for the ones that were removed and will this come at a cost to the city?
  3. If they will not be relocated, how much revenue will the city lose, since the contract called for a specific number of shelters to be erected in conjunction with an estimation of revenue generated during the lifetime of these shelters?

These questions demand answers. DOT cannot remain silent.

Going to the city this weekend? If you were planning on taking the train, you better seek out an alternative route. The MTA is once again halting Q service between Stillwell Avenue and Prospect Park, and instead providing free shuttle buses. There will be two kinds of buses – one that runs locally, stopping at all Q stations between Prospect Park and Kings Highway; and another express that runs non-stop from Prospect Park to Flatbush Avenue (transfer to the 2 train) and then Kings Highway, before resuming locally to Stillwell Avenue.

But I don’t need to tell you this, right? We’ve been through this routine a couple of times now. And aren’t there just spectacular improvements in service after each shutdown?

For those who work in the city and like to grab drinks after work, don’t make the kind of mistake I used to make (when I worked in the city, that is). I’d forget these rules go into effect early Friday night and end up drinking too much, then get on the train late only to find that I need to get out and figure this bus crap out while tossed.

It’s not fun. Don’t do that. Just drink when you get home. By yourself. It’s a different kind of pain, but at least it’s self-inflicted.

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.

The Department of Transportation promised to update all bus stop signs within three months of the massive June 27 bus service cuts, which included the loss of the B4 east of Coney Island Hospital during “off-peak” hours. It appears they are ahead of schedule with most of the sign changes already completed. But how good of a job did they and the MTA do?

Don’t expect every sign to be correct. Some always fall through the cracks.  For example, although Sunday meters ended several years ago, there are at least two places in Brighton Beach (and who knows where else) that the signage still indicates that meters are in effect on Sundays. On the bus side, there are still two or three locations in southern Brooklyn where bus maps are still posted for routes that have not run in over thirty years, one for the original B1 and the other for the B21.

Keep reading to find out what Rosen says about B4 signage screw-ups, as well as other sign-related messes.

The following op-ed is by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

I got my first glimpse on Thursday of what Department of Transportation intends to do about bus stops no longer needed as a result of the MTA bus service cuts. There has been much speculation about this. Will they increase the number of free parking spaces? Will they install meters? Will they leave the potential parking spaces as “No Standing” zones? Some yuppies have even suggested that former bus stops be used solely for bicycle parking, which, of course, is ridiculous.

After watching DOT in action regarding this and other issues, I have come to the conclusion – and how do I say this politely – DOT is run by a bunch of idiots. I’ve said this before – they make the MTA appear competent by comparison. Let me explain.

Keep reading Rosen’s take on the DOT’s mishandling of bus stop eliminations.

Photo by Arthur Borko

Sheepshead Bites’ accidental mass transit expert Allan Rosen pointed out an interesting Brooklyn Eagle op-ed, in which former NYC Parks Commissioner Henry Stern argues that livery cabs and private enterprise should fill the void left by MTA bus service cuts.

Stern predicts that service cuts are here to stay as the MTA embarks on the long road to financial recovery, leaving many Brooklynites smothered by inefficient service, made worse by spiteful regulations that bar a private-sector alternative.

Blame for the agency’s malfeasance is targeted at its insulation from elected officials, and its financial situation has given way to a change in priorities, Stern argues. Where mass transit was once considered a vital public service, it’s too frequently seen now as a money-making enterprise. And like any business, deficits mean cuts and not the double down in commitment from the city and state that is required.

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Brooklyn Public Library officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have struck a deal to maintain a minimum of five day service at all branches, narrowly escaping devastating cuts that would have shuttered branches and eliminated hours across the board.

[ABOVE: Watch BPL Representative Mel Henkle tell Community Board 15 about the new hours, and thank the community for its advocacy.]

In our neck of the woods, the compromise means that some of our libraries will lose Saturday service beginning July 10, including the Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Homecrest branches. Saturday service will be provided at the Kings Bay, Kings Highway and Brighton Beach branches, and the Kings Highway branch will also have summer Sunday hours.

See the new hours for all Sheepshead Bay area libraries.

Click here for the new Brooklyn bus map, in effect starting Sunday, June 27.

Where will the restructured B4 operate starting this Sunday? No one seems to know.

The B4 will no longer operate on Neptune Avenue, but instead will use Avenue Z. It will also now terminate at Coney Island Avenue at all times when it operates, except on Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. during rush hours, when it will continue to serve Plum Beach. (UPDATE 6/25/2010: We’re having trouble confirming the exact time the B4 will be running the Emmons Avenue/Shore Parkway route. The MTA’s webpage just says “rush hours.” Elsewhere on the site we read that means 6:15 a.m. to 9 a.m. / 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., but we’ve heard from others that the B4 will run between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. / 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

But even those in charge of placing signs around Coney Island Avenue appear to be confused where the bus is headed.

The new MTA map shows it operating eastbound along Avenue Z between Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue, and westbound along the Shore Parkway north service road between these points at all times. However, DOT posted B4 bus stop signs in both directions all along Avenue Z.

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