Archive for the tag ‘sbs/brt nostrand ave’

The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round... Source: Lempkin / Flickr

The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round… Source: Lempkin / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Last week, we discussed the MTA’s recent attempts to fix problems with the local bus system such as newly-designed routes that suffer from the same problems plaguing the rest of the system. An example is the B67 extension to the Navy Yard, which is circuitous and not conducive to transferring to other bus routes since it terminates short of Williamsburg Bridge Plaza. It misses vital bus connections and operates with extremely poor headways of 30 minutes. Yet, the MTA visualizes routes such as this as a partial solution to fixing gaps in the routing structure.

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Source: bebo2good1 / YouTube

Source: bebo2good1 / YouTube

THE COMMUTE: Last August, I critiqued the 23-page MTA planning outline, entitled “Looking Ahead.” Last week, the MTA released the full report — a 142-page “MTA Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment 2015-2034.” Most of my previous comments still apply. I will try not to repeat myself. Rather than summarize this document or critique it as others have already done, here and here, I will just mention where this ‘Needs Assessment’ is deficient.

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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.

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Thomas F. Prendergast, new MTA chairman and former president of MTA New York City Transit (center) speaks to the press. Source: Patrick Cashin for the MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: It was announced on Friday that, after 100 days without a permanent chairman, the former head of New York City Transit, Thomas Prendergast, who had been sharing the responsibilities with Fernando Ferrer, has been named the sole MTA Chairman and CEO. That is good news. We finally have someone who knows the system. We don’t have to give on-the-job training to a real estate mogul, someone whose primary credentials are finances (i.e. the past two chairmen), or a former transit head from another city. We all know that New York is not like any other major city and its transportation system and needs are unique. Continue Reading »

THE COMMUTE: In Part 1, we discussed why it is too late to change the proposed B44 Select Bus Service (SBS). In Part 2, we discussed why the B44 SBS is different from the other SBS routes. In this final part we will answer the question posed above. It is not such a simple question to find an answer for.

If you go to the MTA home page on the weekend, you first have to find and click on the “MTA Home” tab. It is in small print in the upper right hand corner in dark grey on a black background and not very obvious. During the rest of the week this step is not necessary. Next, you must click on the tab “MTA Info” in the top center. Then you click on “Planning Studies” on the left side of the page. Following that, you click on “Select Bus Service.” Then, on “Current and Planned SBS Routes.” And finally, on “Nostrand Ave SBS.” That’s six transfers. Couldn’t the MTA have made finding information about SBS on the web a bit easier instead of it being so cryptic?

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Construction crews were on Emmons Avenue and Nostrand Avenue today, beginning the installation process of sidewalk bulbs – or bulges that stick out into the parking lane – and payment machines. The work is being done to prepare the B44 route for Select Bus Service (SBS), which features off-board fare collection at nearby payment machines, and dedicated bus lanes on certain parts of the strip.

Community Board 15 has expressed opposition to SBS along Nostrand Avenue, saying that the parking spaces it will cause to be eliminated are more valuable than the few minutes the MTA says riders will save over current B44 service.

A contractor on-scene said work at each stop takes just a couple of days. They will be working their way up the line over the next few weeks.

THE COMMUTE: (Here is Part 1 from last week). The B44 is different from other Select Bus Service (SBS) routes because the SBS will not take the same route as the local. It will utilize Rogers Avenue northbound instead of New York Avenue, making it more difficult to access Kings County Hospital. It will also provide a glut of northbound bus service on Rogers Avenue while cutting New York Avenue service by 50 percent.

Another difference is that it will not use all articulated buses as the M15 and Bx12 do, or all standard length buses as the S79 and S78 do. The B44 SBS will use the longer articulated buses, but the locals will continue to use the standard length buses, as last proposed. Wouldn’t that mean there should be more locals than SBS buses on the B44? The MTA does not think so.

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THE COMMUTE: According to Theresa Scavo, chairperson of Community Board 15, the MTA stated that it is now too late to request additional stops to the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS) because maps have already been printed. She made that announcement at this month’s Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA) meeting. She also stated that the board is still fighting the reduction in available parking spaces. However, that is the least of the problems this route will cause.

If it is too late to add an SBS stop at Avenue R, a likely assumption would be that it is also too late to change the route as I recommended back in 2011. I suggested that the southern portion of the B44 SBS terminate off-route at the Sheepshead Bay station instead of at Knapp Street and Voorhies Avenue, using Avenue Z to get to the station supplementing B36 service.

Whether you agree with me or not is not really important now. What is important is that I received assurances from the MTA Project Director Ted Orosz at the last B44 SBS Workshop that he would investigate my suggestion and get back to me in three months. He also stated that if they agreed that it was feasible to do, and it was something the community wanted, they would change their plans. He never investigated it, nor got back to me as promised.

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Source: MTA

The MTA is increasing efforts to catch fare beaters on city buses, which it estimates cost the city tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Since 2008, the “Eagle Team” has patrolled the budding Select Bus Service fleet to fight fare cheaters, a new form of express bus service that has off-board fare collection, which critics say has spurred on fare beaters. Now, the team of approximately 60 ex-police officers and military veterans will double in size as they prepare to patrol regular city buses. The group members coordinate with police and have the power to issue $100 summonses.

Thomas Prendergast, the head of the MTA’s transit division, explained that the Eagle Team will cost $6 million to deploy, and they will be “chasing $50 million” in revenue lost to fare beaters.

In 2010 the MTA estimated it lost $14 million in would-be fare, but admit that the statistic is hard to track. Drivers are instructed to press a button when someone enters without paying.

The Eagle Team is deployed with a mission to balance customer service with enforcement, said Vincent DeMarino, the transit division’s vice president of security.

“Just the way the police, I’m sure, want people to always wonder is there a cop on every corner, we want them to wonder if one of us is on every bus,” said Vincent DeMarino, the transit division’s vice president of security.

Don’t forget: Sheepshead Bites is hosting a Transit Town Hall to push for the restoration of the B4 service, as well as to convey to our elected officials how important public transportation is to our community.

The event, held in conjunction with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association and Transportation Alternatives’ Rider Rebellion Campaign, will kick off at 7:00 p.m. at Baron DeKalb – Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue).

This is not an MTA gripe session. We’re not looking for generic complaints about the system, but proposals to fix the problems plaguing commuters. Among the issues to be discussed are:

  • Restoring full B4 service from Coney Island Hospital to Knapp Street (and perhaps tweaking the route to better serve residents)
  • Propose alterations to the B44 SBS route, which will replace the B44 Limited
  • Suggestions for better riding conditions on other bus and subway lines in the neighborhood

More information can be found on our previous post.

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