Home Buses An Upper East Side BRT update and the weekend advisories

An Upper East Side BRT update and the weekend advisories

by Benjamin Kabak

Last night, NYC DOT and the MTA gave its most recent Select Bus Service presentation to Manhattan’s Community Board 8. Since I was on an airplane, I couldn’t attend, but Michael Auerbach from Upper Green Side filed a report for me from the event. I’ll have more about the DOT presentation next week. In the meantime, check out Michael’s take on how Select Bus Service will coexist with the Second Ave. Subway construction along the Upper East Side. The weekend service alerts follow.

After a rather tame affair downtown at Community Board 3 on Wednesday night, the DOT and MTA headed north to present details of the City’s highly anticipated (albeit watered down) version of Bus Rapid Transit, or as it is known, Select Bus Service, to Community Board 8’s Transportation Public Forum. The start of the forum was actually delayed because City officials themselves were held up due to the tragic accident on the 6 train last night where a woman was killed at the 77th Street station as she tried to retrieve her bag from the tracks.

Seasoned from weeks of practice in front of boards across the City, the DOT came to CB8 with their SBS schpiel ready to go. The presentation began with DOT identifying station locations and describing exactly where each design choice will be implemented along the corridor and why. In areas of “intense traffic,” particularly around the 59th Street Bridge entrances and exits, Design C (curbside bus lane, shared bike lane) would be used. whereas in areas of lighter traffic further up 1st and 2nd Avenues, Design A (offset bus lane and protected bike lane) would be utilized. For the most part, no real bombshells were dropped last night save for the small shocker that when M15 SBS service is up and running, all M15 buses (including locals) will terminate at South Ferry. That means no more M15’s making they’re last stop at City Hall. However, DOT did mention that customers wishing to travel to City Hall will still be able to take the M103.

Of particular interest (and long a burning question to the readership of this blog) has been exactly how SBS will co-exist with the ongoing construction for the Second Avenue Subway. Last night we finally got some answers: As per DOT officials, the City does not intend to paint the bus lanes or install any physical infrastructure in the roadway on 2nd Avenue from 100th to around 67th Street until SAS construction is complete. DOT does plan however to install two temporary SBS stations on 2nd avenue at 88-89th streets and 67-68th streets, respectively. Both stations will have fare collection machines installed so people can pay the SBS fare before they board, enabling DOT to realize some of the promised SBS time-saving goals in the short-term.

Once construction of the SAS is complete (or better yet, when conditions on the roadway allow) the DOT will then implement full SBS on 2nd avenue, which includes painting the bus lane, installing a physically separated bike way on segments of the avenue, relocating the temporary stations, and adding additional ones. According to last night’s presentation, it still appears that SBS will be somewhat hampered in the SAS zone due to construction crews that take up lanes of traffic on the avenue. DOT regulations require the MTA to maintain 4 lanes of moving traffic through the SAS zone at all times. A DOT official even went as far as to say that the current curb side lane (once a fully functional bus lane back in the day) is now NOT in fact a bus lane, but simply a lane for buses. Which also means it’s a lane for cars, and a lane for trucks…The statement makes one really wonder whether or not SBS will be able to truly achieve its stated goal of speeding bus trips along the corridor.

* * *
I’d like to thank Michael for this report. Definitely check out Upper Green Side for more livable streets analysis about the areas impacted by the Second Ave. Subway. In the meantime, below are your weekly service advisories. Subway Weekender has the map, and it’s worth repeating that work on the 7 line has wrapped three weeks early. As always, these comes to me via the MTA and are subject to change without notice. Listen to announcements and check signs in your local station.


Please note: From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, there are no transfers between A, 23, and 45 trains at Fulton Street-Broadway-Nassau. Manhattan-bound A trains are running on the F line from Jay Street to West 4th Street. Queens-bound A trains run local from West 4th to Jay Streets, bypassing Fulton Street-Broadway Nassau. In Manhattan, free transfers are available between 45 trains at Fulton Street and AE23 trains at the World Trade Center/Chambers Street/Park Place station. Customers must exit and re-enter the system when making this free connection. In Brooklyn, customers may transfer at Nevins Street between 23 and 4 trains.


From 11 p.m. Friday, March 12 to 7 a.m. Saturday, March 13, from 11 p.m. Saturday, March 13 to 8 a.m. Sunday, March 14 and from 11 p.m. Sunday, March 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, 2 and 3 trains run local between 96th Street and Times Square-42nd Street due to a track dig-out near 50th Street.


From 12:01 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14 and from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, 3 train service is extended to/from 34th Street-Penn Station due to a track dig-out near 50th Street.


From 11 p.m. Friday, March 12 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, Manhattan-bound 4 trains run express from Burnside Avenue to 125th Street due to a concrete pour at 149th Street-Grand Concourse.


At all times until September 2010, the Whitlock Avenue and Morrison-Sound View Avs. stations are closed for rehabilitation. Customers should use the Elder Avenue 6 station or the Simpson Street 25 station instead. The Bx4 bus provides alternate connecting service between stations.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, A trains run local between 168th Street and 145th Street, between 59th Street and West 4th Street, and between Jay Street and Euclid Avenue due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization project and station rehabilitation at 59th Street-Columbus Circle.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, Manhattan-bound A trains run on the F line from Jay Street to West 4th Street due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization project.
At West 4th Street, customers may transfer to a:

  • Brooklyn-bound A to reach Canal, Chambers or High Streets or
  • World Trade Center-bound E to reach Spring Street.

Note: A trains do not stop at Broadway-Nassau Street in either direction.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, there is no C train service due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization project. Customers may take the A or D instead. Note: D trains run local between 145th Street and 59th Street. A trains run local with exceptions.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, D trains run local between 145th Street and 59th Street due to station rehabilitation at 59th Street-Columbus Circle.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, there are no D trains between Pacific and 34th Streets due to the Broadway-Lafayette to Bleecker Street transfer construction. The N and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, E trains run local between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Queens Plaza due to track maintenance.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, F trains run local between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and 21st St-Queensbridge due to track maintenance.


From 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 12 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, there are no G trains between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Court Square due to track maintenance. Customers may take the E or R instead.


From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 13, Manhattan-bound J trains skip Flushing Avenue, Lorimer Street and Hewes Street due to track repairs.


From 12:01 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14, and from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Monday, March 15, N trains are rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge between DeKalb Avenue and Canal Street due to Jay Street station rehabilitation and construction of the underground connector to Lawrence Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, N trains run local between Pacific Street and 59th Street in Brooklyn due to Broadway-Lafayette to Bleecker Street transfer construction.


From 11 p.m. Friday, March 12 to 7 a.m. Saturday, March 13, from 11 p.m. Saturday, March 13 to 8 a.m. Sunday, March 14 and from 11 p.m. Sunday, March 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, uptown Q trains run local from Times Square-42nd Street to 57th Street/7th Avenue due to a track dig-out north of 42nd Street-Times Square.


From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday, March 13, downtown Q trains run local from 57th Street/7th Avenue to Times Square-42nd Street due to track cleaning.


From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, March 14, downtown Q trains run local from 34th Street-Herald Square to Canal Street due to track cleaning.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, Q train service is extended to/from Ditmars Blvd.


From 12:01 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14 and from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, there are no R shuttle trains between 36th Street and 59th Street in Brooklyn due to Broadway-Lafayette to Bleecker Street transfer construction. Customers may take the N instead.


From 6:30 a.m. to midnight Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14, R trains are rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge between DeKalb Avenue and Canal Street due to Jay Street Station Rehabilitation and Construction of Underground Connector to Lawrence Street.


From 10:30 p.m. Friday, March 12 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 15, free shuttle buses replace S trains between Rockaway Park and Beach 67th Street due to station rehabilitations at Beach 98th and Beach 90th Streets.

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14 comments

EC March 13, 2010 - 11:33 am

No one should be surprised by the watered downness of the BRT.

It happens in every city, BRT is much much easier to water down and make useless because of its nature (busses that run on a street). Wilshire Blvd in Los Angels was promised BRT how long ago? They still dont have their own lane.

There is a reason that one supports rail, it cannot be watered down to the point of uselessness.

And just wait till there is the first accident on the SBS (usually with cross-traffic), you will see speeds drop even further (ala the Orange Line in Los Angeles)

Reply
Ed March 13, 2010 - 1:53 pm

I wonder if Second Avenue is the right avenue for this. It may have the heaviest traffic on any of the avenues on the East Side.

Is the point to get Upper East Side commuters quickly to downtown or Midtown? Why not have the busses act like a local above 67th Street, then send them down the FDR, with one stop where they get off the FDR in Midtown?

Is the idea to get some express transportation service east of 3rd Avenue? Could they close 1st Avenue, where traffic is relatively light, to private auto traffic and taxis, and have both express and local busses running both ways. It would be great for bicyclists too. Then get rid of the 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue busses altogether, those would be the avenues for private auto traffic and cabs. But closing a major avenue to auto traffic, even if there isn;t that much traffic in it compared to other avenues in Manhattan, would probably freak too many people out.

Or do nothing. I’m just skeptical if express busses, and the sort of auto traffic I see on 2nd Avenue, is a good mess. Especially in the blocks around the Queensboro Bridge and the Midtown Tunnel.

I live off of 2nd Avenue and work downtown. I’ve found the express M15 bus going up FIrst a good way to get home, and have learned not to bother with the M15 bus going down Second.

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Alon Levy March 13, 2010 - 5:35 pm

Closing 1st to cars is a nonstarter. Nor would it help too much for buses – the signals are timed anyway, and the problem is intersecting crosstown traffic.

Getting local buses to run on the FDR wouldn’t do much good, either, because of the time consumed in crosstown travel from 2nd to the FDR. Crosstown traffic is so slow that the time saved on the highway would be canceled by the time taken to access the highway.

If you want better bus service on the East Side, petition DOT to give buses signal priority, and convert the avenues to two-way operation. Signal priority would make buses unaffected by jams on the Queensboro, and two-way operation would allow concentrating bus services on the highest-trafficked avenue (probably First, switching to Second after SAS is completed), and reduce the amount of extra walking people have to do. It would also allow the MTA to run limited-stop crosstown buses, stopping only at the avenues with subway stations or major bus lines – say, First, Second, Lex, CPW, and Broadway. The downside is that signal timing doesn’t work so well on two-way streets, making car traffic slower.

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EC March 13, 2010 - 6:04 pm

Having experience with Signal Priority in LA. It doesnt do much if theres traffic.

Its a small improvement but not much more than that.

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Alon Levy March 14, 2010 - 10:59 am

LA is not a good example of anything. Its entire transit system is built with staggering levels of incompetence, from the route and technology decisions to the integration with future rail projects.

Go to, um, anywhere in the world that isn’t in the US, and you’ll see signal priority work quite well.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak March 13, 2010 - 6:45 pm

I really like the idea of making First Ave. a two-way street and turning 2nd Ave. into a bike-and-bus only avenue. The local businesses would never agree to it, but it would be a radical change. And it would result in massively improved travel times.

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Alon Levy March 14, 2010 - 11:05 am

You don’t really need to close 2nd to cars – you could turn both avenues to two-way, and put dedicated bus lanes in one and dedicated bike lanes in the other. The bike lane avenue would have room for 4 driving lanes, and the bus lane avenue would have room for 2-3. It would more or less keep vehicle access for deliveries and to satisfy the obligatory “What, people walk here?” NIMBYs, while improving sustainable transportation’s travel times.

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Ben March 13, 2010 - 6:53 pm

Every time I see that phrase, “bypassing Fulton Street-Broadway Nassau”, I wonder—is it actually bypassing it, or just going right by the platform without stopping? I’d assume the latter, but considering how many different non-revenue tracks there seem to be around that I don’t know about, it doesn’t seem like a guarantee. Unfortunately, I have no earthly excuse to take a Queens-bound A most weekends, so I haven’t been able to find out the most obvious way.

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Ron March 14, 2010 - 10:23 pm

The nearest connections to any other trackway on the A line at fulton is the 6th ave line at either jay st or west 4th, so it must go through the station.

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Ben March 16, 2010 - 2:06 pm

Interesting. Thanks!

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Ed March 14, 2010 - 8:00 pm

“You don’t really need to close 2nd to cars – you could turn both avenues to two-way, and put dedicated bus lanes in one and dedicated bike lanes in the other. The bike lane avenue would have room for 4 driving lanes, and the bus lane avenue would have room for 2-3. It would more or less keep vehicle access for deliveries and to satisfy the obligatory “What, people walk here?” NIMBYs, while improving sustainable transportation’s travel times.”

I like this idea alot, and it is the direction the city should be thinking in.

Even though I don’t have a car, I actually like the city highway network, if only for the reason that cars on the BQE and FDR drive don’t bother me when I am trying to walk around and do errands (I live around the probably unfixable traffic mess surrounding the Queensboro bridge). But I’d like to see an equivalent network of bike trails and one for busses, some of the bike trails could be run through areas where there currently isn’t auto traffic.

If you subdivide 2nd Avenue and 1st Avenue, you essentially create three separate roads out of both, one for cars moving uptown, one for cars moving downtown, and one for busses or bikes moving in both directions. Access to the bus stops in the middle would initially be just by crossing the car portion of the street at the light, though if this works some pedestrian bridges could be put in.

However, the DOT has coordinated the traffic lights on at least 2nd Avenue to make it sort of a duplicate expressway to the FDR drive. If you are driving, its now often quicker to just go down 2nd Avenue than to go all the way to the FDR drive, if there is no gridlock there is a good chance you will get the light most of the way. This probably relieves congestion on the FDR drive. While there is room on the avenue to essentially create three normal one way city streets, you would lose this feature. I think its worth it, but its a possible cost.

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Streetsblog New York City » Today’s Headlines March 15, 2010 - 9:01 am

[…] How Will East Side Bus Lanes Co-exist With Second Ave Subway Construction? (SAS) […]

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Streetsblog New York City » Details on East Side SBS Come Into Focus at CB 8 Meeting March 15, 2010 - 5:09 pm

[…] Michael Auerbach, who's doing some fantastic livable streets advocacy at Upper Green Side, filed a report for Second Ave Sagas about how Select Bus Service will function alongside the subway construction zones on Second […]

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Select Bus Service Public Open Houses | Upper Green Side March 18, 2010 - 5:05 pm

[…] a quick refresher, hop over to Second Ave Sagas to catch the recap I wrote of last week’s CB8 SBS Public Forum. And while your on the subject, check out Ben […]

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