Nov
17

Southern Brooklyn drivers bemoan SBS impact

By

The Rogers Ave. Select Bus Service has faced community opposition in a car-heavy neighborhood.

As the New York City Department of Transportation and the MTA continue the painfully slow Select Bus Service rollout, the agencies are expanding the pilot to include areas of the outer boroughs underserved by the city’s subway service. In Brooklyn, the targeted corridors would bring the innovations of SBS to the Nostrand Avenue and Rogers Avenue corridors. But motorists and small business owners in the area are presenting a united front against the better bus service, and a DOT open house last night drove that point home.

Nostrand Ave. is one of the sad stories of the subway system. Long on the list for subway extension plans, the city never built a Nostrand Ave. line due first to the outspoken community opposition against a new elevated line and later concerns over cost. Over the years, then, the area is developed into a car-heavy one that views itself more as a suburban outpost within New York City than as part of the urban landscape.

Now that the MTA and DOT want to improve transit in the area, these motorists are having none of it. Alex Rush from the Courier-Life filed a report from the meeting last night:

All of these [SBS improvements] are meant to ease congestion on Nostrand Avenue, which is the fourth busiest bus route in the city with 13.6 million riders, according to MTA reports. However, local drivers say that the service will increase traffic, take away parking spaces and make turning dangerous for cars. “I think it’s a terrible idea,” said Jay Schneider, who drives down Nostrand Avenue to get to work. “The street is already congested and difficult to park on, and the extra bus lane will just make things worse.”

Schneider was one of dozens of people who attended the city’s presentation about the service on Nov. 15 at Brooklyn College. Nostrand Avenue business owners also expressed their concerns about the service. “Right now, it’s convenient for customers to park in front of our liquor store,” said John Tam, whose shop is between Lefferts Avenue and Sterling Street. “But if we lose parking spaces on that road, our business could decrease.”

Spokespeople for the city and the MTA spent most of the meeting telling residents that only a handful of parking spaces would be lost because the bus lane would likely replace a traffic lane, not a parking lane. But residents remain convinced that other aspects of the service, such as expanding the sidewalks for bus stations and running buses that are twice the length of current B44 buses, will make parking more difficult. They are also skeptical that an exclusive bus lane will reduce traffic. “The plan will definitely be a problem in Sheepshead Bay,” said Carl Romali. “Nostrand Avenue is already overcrowded with people trying to park and trying to drive around cars that are double-parked.”

This isn’t, of course, the first time that this area has expressed its displeasure with the plan. Community Board 15 voted against it in April for similar reasons. “The select bus service will steal away parking spaces,” Theresa Scavo, chair of CB 15, said. “And the service’s traffic signal priority system could lead to speeding buses, which would make the roads more dangerous for cars who are also trying to reach green lights.”

As much as I want to dismiss the windshield perspective out of hand as being wrong-handed and misguided, if the city and MTA are serious about bringing transit improvements, they’ll have to be responsive to the concerns of the community. How do you convince people so accustomed to driving that the bus improvements will truly be better for their lives and neighborhood? Paternalistically, it would be easy for the city to simply mandate the SBS routes for Nostrand and Rogers Avenues, but drivers must be willing to change their transit behavior and understand how and why the bus is preferable to streets that are “difficult to park on.”

Ultimately, the city needs to expand and improve its bus offerings, but if it is faced with communities that do not want Select Bus Service, the answer is easy: Award it somewhere else. If those along Nostrand Ave. and Rogers Ave. truly do not want better bus service, I’m sure the communities along Flatbush Ave. would gladly accept it instead. Only by showing instead of telling, the MTA and DOT can convert the driving skeptics.



Categories : Buses

155 Responses to “Southern Brooklyn drivers bemoan SBS impact”

  1. AK says:

    “if it is faced with communities that do not want Select Bus Service, the answer is easy: Award it somewhere else.”

    This is a fair statement, but I’m not willing to cede public opinion to those with the loudest voices. In other words, the fact that some car owners rant and rave about buses does not mean that a silent majority, many of whom lack political power vis-a-vis car-owning neighbors from the outset (if we assume, roughly, that economic power equates with political power), are strong supporters of improved public transit.

    • tacony palmyra says:

      Seriously. My block association is made up of terrible NIMBYs who hate anything new and rattle on about how we need more parks and community centers and nothing else. I hate it when they purport to speak for me, and trying to talk logic to them gets me nowhere ’cause I’m a “new” resident of only 4 years.

      I’m not overly familiar with this community district, but a lot of the CBs are not representative of their neighborhood demographics… car-owning, home-owning, “lifer” types are always overrepresented while the transient renters who don’t own cars aren’t involved.

      • Andrew says:

        Also, the city doesn’t owe anybody free or underpriced parking. It’s one thing to let people store their personal property on land that would otherwise be useless (although I still question why we don’t grant the same privilege to people who don’t own cars). But here we have a new use for the land: to improve bus service for current and prospective bus riders. Drivers can find somewhere else to store their vehicles or can take the bus.

        • Bolwerk says:

          The land is almost never useless. It can mean a wider sidewalk, a bus lane, space for a play street, a street car, and all kinds of other things.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          Without building off-street parking facilities, or scouring the area to free some spaces where there are unnecessary No Parking Anytime signs, the people really have no other place to store their car. However, that is not the major reason why this SBS should be opposed. There are many more valid reasons.

          In fact, traffic would flow much better if the parking lane became the bus lane instead of a traffic lane. Eliminating a traffic lane would be disastrous to traffic especially for cars trying to cross Eastern Parkway during the AM rush. Every northbound avenue is already jammed, there is nowhere where the traffic could be displaced. Currently it already takes about 15 minutes to travel from Empire Blvd to Eastern Parkway on any street you choose. It should take only about 3 to 5 minutes because it’s less than one-half mile.

          • Andrew says:

            Too bad for them. It’s not the city’s job to find free storage space for people’s private property. Everybody without a car has to pay for private storage space.

            If you bought a car under the assumption that the city would forever offer free storage space, you made a pretty stupid assumption.

            • BrooklynBus says:

              I’m not going to debate you as to if people have the right to park on the street for free or not. That wasn’t even my point. I never said they had that right. I started by saying “Without building off-street parking facilities…”. You just assumed that I was talking about free parking. Who would build an off-street parking facility and not charge? I was merely saying there is no place for them to store their car.

              So what is your answer to that one? They have no right to own a car? Another debate I’d rather not get into again. Next time read a little more carefully, before firing off an answer espousing your theories on what should and shouldn’t be.

              • Andrew says:

                Who’s stopping you, or any other private body, from building a private parking garage?

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  There is virtually no vacant land in this corridor. Building anything will involve demolition. It also has to be permitted by zoning. You just can’t build anything anywhere you want and other uses may make more economic sense.

  2. What is with this “dangerous for cars” argument? The same BS is being spewed about the DOT’s installation of pedestrian islands in outer Brooklyn. If you’re driving at or below the speed limit and are attentive to what’s ahead of you as you turn, what exactly is “dangerous?”

    Simple answer: it’s not dangerous. It’s inconvenient. God forbid we inconvenience a few drivers to help move thousands of bus riders.

    • Sharon says:

      “Simple answer: it’s not dangerous”

      Take a ride with me on 65th street in brooklyn which adds 5 min travel time to a 12 min trip prior to these terrible islands.

      First there was no need for a bike lane as there are same empty side street which I have been riding on for years

      Second, They added a middle lane that is yellowed stripped that has the islands at the end of most streets. The same morons who exceeded the speed limit now drive down these lanes and try to cut just before the islands. I need to take that route when I drop my friend off on the way to work and have seen near head on collisions multiple times, near accidents at near the islands as the law violating drivers (the minority) try to merge back in and once saw an SUV that almost flip over as he misjudged the merge.

      They are a safety issue that creates traffic where there was NONE before and tons of pollution and adding cars to once quiet side streets.

      On garrison ave ave in brooklyn the same thing. No traffic before tons of traffic now. This is a major belt parkway access route.

      Many parts of brooklyn are far lower density and driving is the only way to maintain a decent middle class quality of life.

      • Andrew says:

        I feel so sorry for you! It’s an absolute disgrace how little space the city has devoted to cars!

        • BrooklynBus says:

          That’s because you don’t drive. The streets need to be for everyone not only for buses, bicycles and pedestrians.

          • You’re right – and when 90% of the street space goes to car lanes and car parking, how, exactly, are those other three being included?

            • BrooklynBus says:

              First of all 90% of street space does not go to car lanes and parking lanes. On a typical 70 foot right of way, 20 feet are sidewalks, 14 feet for parking, and 36 are for all forms of traffic. That makes only 71% for cars.

              So you are proposing something like 30 feet for pedestrians, 15 feet for bicycles, 7 feet for parking and 18 feet for traffic. That amounts to eliminating 50% of the parking spaces and 50% of the traffic lanes on all avenues in the City currently having four lanes of traffic. Do you have any idea how idiotic that sounds and what the effects such a policy like that would have on traffic, would do to the economy, and affect peoples lives? Do you think that would cause everyone to run out and buy a bicycle and give up their cars?

              • Alon Levy says:

                It did in Copenhagen.

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  When will you ever learn? NYC is not Copenhagen. If you were talking about Boston and not NYC, maybe then I would agree with you.

                  • Bolwerk says:

                    NYC should, in theory, operate better as a walkable and bikable city than Copenhagen. If it would get its act together.

                    • BrooklynBus says:

                      How do you figure that? The way I look at it bicycles are only a viable option as a primarily source of transportation if most people are physically fit and able to bike, a large segment is not elderly or infirm, the climate is not subject to weather extremes, and most important, the area is compact with most destinations reachable within an hour by mass transit. NYC has none of those characteristics. Here it can take two hours just to transverse a borough or part of a borough. The average trip required here by mass transit is 45 minutes to an hour; 30 minutes if you barely leave your neighborhood.

                      The reason I mentioned Boston was because when I was there, every place I needed to go was accessible within 30 minutes, be it airport, beach, baseball stadium, downtown, etc. That certainly is not true of New York City.

                    • Alon Levy says:

                      The US has one of the youngest populations in the developed world, with a much lower elderly or infirm population than Denmark or the Netherlands. They use bikes in those other cities by designing bicycle infrastructure to be usable by 60-year-old women carrying bags.

                    • BrooklynBus says:

                      We aren’t talking about US averages. We are talking about New York City. Southern Brooklyn where I live had or still has one of the oldest populations. You can’t expect someone to ride his bike 20 miles to get to work when its snowing and raining or below freezing. Most people want to be comfortable when traveling. They are not looking for exercise before they start work and don’t want to take a shower the first thing when arriving at the office. They certainly don’t want to embark on a similar journey to get home after putting in a hard days work. If that’s what you want to do, it’s your perogative, but you certainly have no right to force it on others by taking away their traffic lanes. As I said if every place you needed to go was only five miles away, it would be another story.

          • Bolwerk says:

            Sorry, BrooklynBus, I had to move this to a new subthread.

            How do you figure that? The way I look at it bicycles are only a viable option as a primarily source of transportation if most people are physically fit and able to bike, a large segment is not elderly or infirm, the climate is not subject to weather extremes, and most important, the area is compact with most destinations reachable within an hour by mass transit. NYC has none of those characteristics.

            You practically answered your own question. NYC is arguably better off than Copenhagen in almost all those ways, except perhaps our obesity epidemic. Anyway, bikable/walkable doesn’t mean everyone has to bike or walk. A good transit system and smart road system should make it possible for those who can’t to get around.

            I don’t see why every NYC destination needs to be <1hr from every other NYC destination, though with a few billion in a badly needed transit beltway investment even that might be possible outside of Staten Island.

            Here it can take two hours just to transverse a borough or part of a borough. The average trip required here by mass transit is 45 minutes to an hour; 30 minutes if you barely leave your neighborhood.

            And the primary reasons for that are transit disinvestment and traffic congestion. We reaped what we sowed. I take the bus ~25m (plus probably ~10m walking) to visit my girlfriend, but in the summer I sometimes bike – I cream the bus in speed.

            The reason I mentioned Boston was because when I was there, every place I needed to go was accessible within 30 minutes, be it airport, beach, baseball stadium, downtown, etc. That certainly is not true of New York City.

            Though NYC isn’t too shabby when it comes to the subway. If you want to be able to traverse NYC by car that quickly, it probably necessitates an adequate congestion charge.

            If you want it by transit, it probably requires we stop spending so much subsidizing drivers and start spending it making our public transportation work.

            • BrooklynBus says:

              I’m not sure I understand everything you are saying. Of course many places would be easier to get to if we had invested more in our subway system, like building the IND second system, and we did something to help our buses run on time and changed the routes to where the people what to go, but you forget that New York City is not Manhattan.

              Mass transit only works well where you have the densities to make it work. For many trips within NYC, the best way is to get there by car and there isn’t congestion everywhere. You may not have the demand even for frequent bus service (without enormous subsidies) to make the trip quick enough. Every mode has its place.

              But this thread is about SBS on Nostrand Avenue. When you make any transportation change the goal is to help more people than you are hurting. This plan just doesn’t benefit enough people to make it worthwhile and inconveniences a hell of a lot more than it helps. (Especially when the same time savings could occur merely by enforcing existing laws against double parking that causes congestion.) That makes it a poor idea.

              • Bolwerk says:

                Of course NYC isn’t Manhattan. I wasn’t trying to say that four-track trunk lines should be forced through Ridgewood and Flushing. It doesn’t mean that rail transit doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense in lower density parts of Brooklyn, which are still by and large denser than many other places that manage self-sufficient rail systems. This is so even in those allegedly just-like-Everytown,-USA neighborhoods Sharon listed: “Sheapshead, Marine Park, Began [sic] Beach, Dyker Heights, Parts of midwood [sic] Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge etc.” Density information at the community district level is easy to calculate yourself from data linked here.

                Frankly, rail transit works quite splendidly with lower densities the world over, going so far as to connect rural towns to each other. While I’m not discounting that sometimes car trips make sense in NYC, the number of car trips people in NYC make clearly exceed capacity of NYC’s road system to handle. Probably what would make sense would be smaller cars in single-car households.

                But I don’t really see who the SBS inconveniences? This looks like it goes through mostly dense areas where it could draw usage.

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  You are correct in what you say about rail systems. Yes it can work in lower density areas if the line is being built with a destination that many people need to go to and there is a good collector system to get to the rail. It doesn’t work where both the origins and destinations are dispersed, which is what I was trying to say. The reason it is successful in lower density areas in other cities is because I bet those cities have free or very affordable park and ride lots at each of those outlying stations similar to the LIRR. That is not the case in the NYC where there are virtually no Park and Ride lots or if there are, there are only 10 or 20 spaces that are already taken before 7AM.

                  And the SBS along Nostrand will inconvenience many. (See my reply to Andrew at the top of the thread.) Also, the SBS lane between Avenue X and Emmons without a left turn lane will mean that all traffic will come to a halt whenever someone has to make a left at any one of four intersections because it will be illegal to temporarily swerve into the bus lane which I’m sure people will try to do. If turns are prohibited entirely, you will have to drive an extra mile or somehow get to the right lane to make three rights. This will increase the amount of accidents trying to get to the right in a short period of time.

                  • Bolwerk says:

                    The reason it is successful in lower density areas in other cities is because I bet those cities have free or very affordable park and ride lots at each of those outlying stations similar to the LIRR.

                    Nah. Well, not usually anyway. I don’t think P&R facilities are very easily going to fill a rail line by themselves. In the case of places like Dallas and DC, I guess they exist on the outsides of town. Sadly, though, cars are expensive to park and take up a lot of space, so you can only get so much of your ridership that way.

                    It doesn’t take very many people to fill two IRT-size rail cars. Two thousand boardings an hour can be cost-effective. That’s enough to fill 8 or so two-car trains, which is about one train every ~7 minutes. For SBS, it probably means 12-16 buses instead (kind of ballparking that, but I think it’s fairly accurate). Does Nostrand achieve these ridership levels?

                    Perhaps you’re right that many parts of Brooklyn don’t make sense for subway service (unless they’re being rezoned for higher-density development). But that doesn’t mean a light rail or its bastard cousin SBS service can’t work well. LRT could probably work with the advantage of a smaller footprint than the bus services. Somewhat counter-intuitively, fewer trains than buses leads to lower operating costs at greater capacity. Less interruption to drivers parking and turning too, since there are fewer large vehicles going by, and those that do go by don’t make awkward lane changes and turns.

                    (See my reply to Andrew at the top of the thread.)

                    I’ll catch up there before responding to the second half of this.

                    • BrooklynBus says:

                      I’m not sure what you are trying to get at with your 2,000 boardings an hour. Are you talking boardings at a specific point or is that a total all along a route? For a new subway line those loadings would have to be sustained through a good portion of the day, not only for two or three hours a day with low usage at other times.

                      I’m not saying that Nostrand Avenue doesn’t have the demand for SBS. I’m sure it does. The problem is that average trip lengths are too short for the time savings to be worth while. Also, SBS will not encourage much additional ridership to the IRT subway when most below Avenue M prefer the Brighton line which will still be a shorter trip for many and is perceived to be safer than boarding at the Junction especially during off-hours.

                      SBS would work much better on an east-west route in southern Brooklyn with major traffic generators on each end (such as Cesars and Gateway Mall shopping Centers) where average trip lengths would be greater. A nineteen minute time savings from end to end means nothing for the passenger if no one makes the trip. It also means nothing for the MTA when the savings are reinvested into the portion of the route below Avenue U where the buses will be nearly empty.

                      Also, the parking lane needs to be used, not a traffic lane which is just too disruptive.

                      The problem with light rail is that few right-of-ways are available. I definitely feel it could work well on the Bay Ridge LIRR or the Staten Island North Shore line, but not too many other places.

          • Andrew says:

            How on earth do you know whether I drive?

            Every street in the city accommodates cars. They also need to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists safely, and some need to prioritize bus riders. Even if that means that drivers sometimes have to slow down or find somewhere else to store their cars.

            • BrooklynBus says:

              Because any one who drives even semi-regularly would never say the things you say. You may have a license and rent a car every two or three months to take a trip, but I’m not counting that.

              No on count one. Incorrect Statement. Not every street accommodates cars. A few have been turned into pedestrian malls or to busways (Fulton Mall.)

              Virtually every street accommodates pedestrians. The number of streets in the City without sidewalks can probably be counted on your fingers and maybe a few toes.

              Accommodating cyclists safely does not mean a bicycle lane on every street. Many streets are perfectly safe to ride bicycles on without markings or lanes. When you have 64th and 66th Streets as perfect side streets to ride your bike on, why in the world would you need a bicycle lane on a major artery like 65th Street in Brooklyn?

              Never said we shouldn’t prioritize bus riders or routes, just said that this is the wrong route for SBS. My point earlier was that the elimination of parking spots was not a good enough reason to oppose SBS, but there are many other reasons why this is a poor idea in this location.

              There is a difference between drivers just having to slow down and having to stop and cause major congestion. My point was the latter would occur. If they just had to slow down, it would not be a problem if there was a greater benefit to be had.

              • Andrew says:

                Because any one who drives even semi-regularly would never say the things you say. You may have a license and rent a car every two or three months to take a trip, but I’m not counting that.

                Once again, you don’t know how often I drive. (Is it not possible for people to recognize that they might personally be the beneficiaries of policies that are detrimental to the greater society?)

                No on count one. Incorrect Statement. Not every street accommodates cars. A few have been turned into pedestrian malls or to busways (Fulton Mall.)

                And the tiny number of such streets makes my point. I would argue that there should be many more such treatments, especially (but not exclusively) in Manhattan.

                Virtually every street accommodates pedestrians. The number of streets in the City without sidewalks can probably be counted on your fingers and maybe a few toes.

                Actually, none of the city’s expressways accommodates pedestrians. Nor do most of the parkways.

                But you missed my point – perhaps you didn’t see the word “safely.” If you build a road that accommodates lots of motorized traffic at 30 or 40 or 50 mph, and then throw in a pair of sidewalks, you haven’t designed a road for cars and pedestrians. You’ve designed a road for cars, and you’ve included provisions for pedestrians. You may have engineered the road to be very safe for drivers, but you probably haven’t done the same for pedestrians.

                Many of this city’s streets are not safe for pedestrians. Traffic moves far too fast and drivers don’t yield to pedestrians when the law requires (and the NYPD doesn’t care). Pedestrians are killed as a result. That has to change. We could argue over whether the change should be brought about primarily through enforcement or primarily through street redesign, but the point is moot – as long as the NYPD doesn’t care, enforcement isn’t an option. So streets are being redesigned to slow traffic and to provide pedestrians, some of whom walk slowly, with places to stand if they can’t make it across the entire wide street in time. (Would you prefer a lengthened walk phase? I would – I think expecting elderly pedestrians to stand in the middle of the street is highly demeaning – but a lengthened walk phase would reduce the duration of the green phase on the busy street.)

                Accommodating cyclists safely does not mean a bicycle lane on every street. Many streets are perfectly safe to ride bicycles on without markings or lanes. When you have 64th and 66th Streets as perfect side streets to ride your bike on, why in the world would you need a bicycle lane on a major artery like 65th Street in Brooklyn?
                Never said we shouldn’t prioritize bus riders or routes, just said that this is the wrong route for SBS. My point earlier was that the elimination of parking spots was not a good enough reason to oppose SBS, but there are many other reasons why this is a poor idea in this location.

                Straw man. Nobody suggested a bike lane on every street.

                Perhaps 65th Street was selected because it takes cyclists where they need to go. Or perhaps it was selected in an attempt to curb a speeding problem.

                If you don’t like it, you can always drive on 64th or 66th. All three streets still have car lanes.

                There is a difference between drivers just having to slow down and having to stop and cause major congestion. My point was the latter would occur. If they just had to slow down, it would not be a problem if there was a greater benefit to be had.

                At least you recognize that it’s drivers (not bike lanes or pedestrians) who cause congestion for other drivers.

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  Quit twisting my words. I never even implied that bike lanes or pedestrians cause traffic for drivers. My point was that the unnecessary elimination of an important traffic lane will cause the congestion.

                  You are also trying to paint me as someone who hates bicycles and pedestrians and only cares about drivers. That also isn’t the truth. I’m a pedestrian more than 50% of the time and am greatly offended by inconsiderate drivers who do not give pedestrians the right of way. And I also blame the NYPD for not caring. Yes there are places where a longer walk cycle is justified and I wouldn’t oppose this either. But DOT has just gone overboard with the bike lanes putting them where they are not necessary and seemingly doing everything tin their power to cause traffic congestion, not eliminate it.

                  There aren’t very many streets like Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn with the bus volumes that would even justify an exclusive busway, so to put them on streets just to make it more difficult for cars, with the bus lanes remaining empty most of the time is not wise. The sucesss of the Fulton Mall is also dubious. It’s purpose was to revitalize Fulton Street. It failed miserably at that. It was to greatly speed the buses. Another failure. Before the Mall, buses were competing with cars. Now they compete with delivery vehicles instead. Virtually no time savings. The plan which was 17 years in the making was supposed to ban all daytime deliveries leaving the two lanes exclusively for buses. But the merchants insisted on continuing daytime deliveries screwing everything up. Buses often have to pass in the opposing lane when a truck is stopped outside of the designated delivery zones.
                  The only good thing coming from the mall was the increased pedestrian space.

                  You are probably too young to remember when Nostrand and Rogers were two-way streets before they were made into one-way pairs in the 1960s. That was done to enable synchronized signaling. That cut 15 minutes off a trip through Brooklyn.
                  This is very important since Brooklyn virtually has no expressways. Now the only streets in the area designed for through traffic will be greatly compromised.

                  Bottom line – all modes are important. They all have to be treated with respect. You can’t just favor one or two and disregard the others.

        • Sharon says:

          I agree in places where there are hoards of pedestrians such as midtown car space vs pedestrian was not distributed properly but in parts of the outer boroughs such as Sheepshead bay along Nostrand ave and along 65th street in Bensonhurst this is not the case this is not the case.

          Bloomy is making lane reduction changes for ideological vs practical reason. These changes make it WORSE for pedestrians not better. In the past the light turned green and within a few seconds all cars needed to clear the intersection cleared the intersection and pedestrians had free rein to cross the street. No a non stop line of cars single file.

          “I feel so sorry for you! It’s an absolute disgrace how little space the city has devoted to cars!”

          Your views seem to based on Ideology and not reality. The reality was that these areas were built for people who do not want to live the URBAN lifestyles. They just happen to be located within the borders of NYC. I already hear people telling me enough is enough. Many people in these areas don’t go into Manhattan for years at a time. Never set foot on a subway. They have rights also which are being trampled on by this mayor who is solving problems that just don’t exist in these areas. We would be better off with the police issuing tickets to the crazy Russian driver who floor there Beemer’s and Benz down a empty block just to slam on the breaks at the stop sign or traffic light or who run lights at will not the hard working person just trying to raise their families

          • BrooklynBus says:

            You are one of the few people here speaking any sense. You can’t run a City based on theories. What happens practically is what is important.

          • Andrew says:

            If Brooklyn isn’t suburban enough for your tastes, why don’t you ask us to help you find a different suburb that satisfies your desires? I’m sure we can find something, somewhere.

      • Al D says:

        Do you mean Gerritsen Ave? There is no direct Belt Pkwy access from this dead end, 4 lane street that was ripe for traffic calming.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          I’m sick of this euphemism “traffic calming”. Why not call it what it really is — increased congestion and pollution. Do you know if it actually stopped cars from speeding?

        • Sharon says:

          “Do you mean Gerritsen Ave? There is no direct Belt Pkwy access from this dead end,”

          A driver must travel one block south on Gerritsen Ave to get to Knapp street which leads to the Belt. Coming north Knapp runs into Gerritsen which had 3 lanes across, two through traffic and one turning lane. the two lanes of knapp merge gracefully into the three Gerritsen ave lanes. In my 20 years of using this intersection I never once encountered a car accident. The Dot nor designated one of the knapp street lanes as a right only. Anyone wanting to go south into Gerritsen ave would have made a right of knapp way before thus this lane is useless. It was only included because they eliminated one of the northbound Gerritsen ave lanes.

          As for traffic calming it does none of this it just slows down law abiding drivers. The speeders still speed. Just like 65th street the fly down the yellow line off middle lane.

          Any driver wanting to make a left onto ave U going southbound has a terrible time as well. Previously all cars would clear the intersection of Gerritsen and Ave U fairly quickly leaving plenty of empty room to make a safe turn. Now with half the capacity, the cars keep coming and coming and it could take two or more light cycles to make the turn spewing extra pollution caused by Bloomy fixing a problem that did not need fixing. Cars have to dart between cars in a far less safe manner than before. It has reduced the quality of life.

          Once again people in this area don’t want the URBAN lifestyle and many don’t go into the city but the mayor is bringing traffic congestion to us through reducing the road capacity. This also backs up the B3, B31, b2 and b100 bus lines.

          Drop me an email and I will give you a tour. IF these changes made sense, added bike lanes where roads in the area made it dangerous to ride or any practical reasons I would be for it but these changes made a fairly quiet suburban atmosphere into more gritty city. To add insult to injury they did not add trees to gerritsen ave just yellow lines. Adding a row of tree’s (in areas in the blocks away from the ave U area I described) would at least dress up the street that is quite wide but nearly empty before this traffic building changes

          Drop me an email and I will take you on a tour of this waste of money in a time when transportation money could be used other places for legitimate purposes

          • Al D says:

            I agree. The Gerritsen/Knapp/Ave U instersection was busy, but fine the way it was. “Traffic calming”, like many other concepts, can be taken too far, and this sounds like the perfect example.

          • Andrew says:

            Windshield perspective. Maybe you don’t notice them, but there are also pedestrians.

            Most of the U.S. still subscribes to the suburban ideal. If you’re not getting the lifestyle you like in Brooklyn, move.

      • Based on what you just said, the redesign isn’t make the street less safe. Dangerous drivers are making the street less safe.

        But nobody would dare point fingers at the NYPD to, you know, actually enforce the law.

        • Sharon says:

          The redesign makes travel times increase and pollution increased. They create traffic that would peacefully have flowed. People living near Ave V and Knapp now have cars idling outside their window in cue

          It does make travel less safe as the right lane at the Gerritsen merge right turn only(no reason to make a right there) and a few renegade drivers try to make a left and create a as the technically the small bike lane and the car lane could support two cars very close together.

          Once again tried to solve a problem that was not their creating a problem. The money could have been spent in better places. The city has plenty of transportation projects needing funding. People in this area a regular Joe’s and Mary’s who go to work, come home and take care of their families. They are have no time or desire to protest like some liberal trust fund type who has a one track cars are Evil mindset.

          The city should focus pollution reducing ideas not pollution creating ideas. How about street parking at meters reserved for cars getting over 40 mpg and not lets punish the middle class into riding buses that never come and don’t go where they want to go without 2+ transfers.

          This may be a valid strategy when it comes to commuting into the central business district for work but not for everyday tasks in a semi-suburban area

          • Andrew says:

            People who drive cars are not more important than people who ride buses or ride bicycles or walk.

            Sorry to burst your bubble.

        • Sharon says:

          The redesign makes travel times increase and pollution increased. They create traffic that would peacefully have flowed. People living near Ave V and Knapp now have cars idling outside their window in cue

          It does make travel less safe as the right lane at the Gerritsen merge right turn only(no reason to make a right there) and a few renegade drivers try to make a left and create a as the technically the small bike lane and the car lane could support two cars very close together.

          Once again tried to solve a problem that was not their creating a problem. The money could have been spent in better places. The city has plenty of transportation projects needing funding. People in this area a regular Joe’s and Mary’s who go to work, come home and take care of their families. They are have no time or desire to protest like some liberal trust fund type who has a one track cars are Evil mindset.

          The city should focus pollution reducing ideas not pollution creating ideas. How about street parking at meters reserved for cars getting over 40 mpg and not lets punish the middle class into riding buses that never come and don’t go where they want to go without 2+ transfers. It would take me between 1-2 hours to get from my parents house on Ave U and east 36th street to my home on 76th street and 16th ave on the B3 to the B4 vs 15 minute drive time, 20 minutes if their is traffic.

          This may be a valid strategy when it comes to commuting into the central business district for work but not for everyday tasks in a semi-suburban area

  3. Lex A says:

    Really, Flatbush wants SBS?! I’m in Bay Plaza watching the first SBS buses pass evey couple of minutes. And this is the most suburban part of the Bronx. Nostrand needs the bus and their traffic isn’t as bad as Flatbush which is worse because of the double parking, two way street being very narrow and more.

    You live in BK, see first hand the chaos that is Flatbush at 4, 5th aves because of the Yards project. Adding SBS to that is a death wish. I can see my dollar vans abusing the lane and the lights now. I truly think that DOT and MTA need to impose some order and sense onto Nostrand and Rogers. The community will further suffer if not.

    • I’ve been bugging DOT for improvements to Flatbush between 4th Ave. and Grand Army Plaza for two years now. If SBS along the corridor cuts down on traffic, I’m all for it. But you’re right: The presence of the arena construction and the loss of lanes there cuts down on the likelihood of SBS there.

      To be clear: The community definitely needs order along Nostrand/Rogers, but I question if it will work and be embraced if so many people have this knee-jerk anti-SBS reaction to it. Until they see that it works in the city, they will just scream their heads off.

      • Sharon says:

        The people driving are not going to get on SBS but I agree SBS for flatbush would be a good fit IF AND ONLY IF off street parking is included in the project.

        As for Nostrand ave south of the JUNCTION (flatbush/nostrand ave) SBS is not needed nor wanted.

        This is especially true south of Ave U. You can turn SBS at ave U as the B44 currently does because there is no demand south of ave U for bus service

        Other than people living in the projects, no one wants to go where the b44 goes. People looking to get into the city have easy bus access to the Brighon Line from multiple bus routed between Kings highway and sheepshead bay. They do not want the slow IRT into the city they want midtown and the faster Brighton line. I SHOULD KNOW I LIVED THERE FOR 25 YEARS AND USED ALL THE SERVICES I SPEAK ABOUT IN THIS POST

        • Al D says:

          Yes, but B44 SBS is not intended to take people to the City. It is designed to faciliate transit within the borough of Brooklyn, to Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses (SNH) or not. I can’t believe your statement about the ‘the projects’. You can’t seriously be telling us that the entire B44 ridership is based out of that 1 project. In fact, many B44’s turn around at Ave. U before they even reach SNH.

          As information, I also LIVED THERE for about 25 years, so I know what’s really going on here.

          • Sharon says:

            The majority of B44 ridership south of ave U comes from 3 sources

            1) sheapshead nostrand houses
            2) Out of areas students going to Sheapshead bay HS and Shell bank middle school
            3) Workers at the nursing homes at the end of the line.

            They are not coming from the CO-OP’s south of the projects or the rows upon rows of one and two family homes. Here’s a solution, Require off street parking with any new development along the corridor with part of the revenue going to the mta. The issue is removing parking on the avenue forces cars to look for spots on the adjacent side streets reducing quality of life for an so called improvement that shaves a max of 5 min or less for most riders and will cost tons to roll out. I am all for practical transit improvements. Just do them where they are needed.

            • Al D says:

              Then your proposal is to end all B44 service at Ave U? I would agree since most B44 service already ends there. B36 service could be beefed up some between let’s say Ave U and the Sheepshead Bay station in place of the B44.

              • BrooklynBus says:

                The SBS plan is to double the number of buses between Avenue U and Emmons on the B44. This is wasteful because the ridership is not there on that segment and putting SBS there will not encourage any more because the people want the Brighton Line, not the Nostrand Line.

                The bus lane between Ave X and Emmons will e disastrous for cars. Whenever someone will have to make a left turn at Voorhies, Z,Y, or X, all traffic will have to come to a halt unless people illegally pass on the bus lane. If left turns are banned at these corners, you will have to make three rights or travel a mile extra.

                Also, whenever someone stops to legally park, all traffic will have to come to a halt without the ability to swerve into the other lane as is presently done. People will detour to parallel residential streets for short trips and to Bedford and Ocean for longer ones making them slower and adding or 15 minutes to hundreds of people’s trips just so some bus riders can save about five minutes, with a handful of people a day can save 10 or 15 minutes.

                Really well-thought out and makes a lot of sense.

                • Andrew says:

                  Really? EVERYONE wants the Brighton line? NOBODY wants the Nostrand line? Somehow I find that quite hard to believe. Nobody’s going downtown or to the Grand Central area, which the IRT will get them to sooner?

                  And what about people who aren’t going to Manhattan at all?

                  • BrooklynBus says:

                    Okay. One person wants the IRT. But seriously, yes people need to get to Grand Central. But what makes you think getting there with the IRT is quicker? It is if you only consider the train ride. But the times may be comparable when you consider the longer bus ride to the IRT for many even after SBS, and the fact that the Brighton Line will be getting its express service back around the time SBS is scheduled to begin.

                    There are also other factors to consider. Some people may be willing to go to the Junction during rush hours but not view the area as safe during other times.

                    “And what about people who aren’t going to Manhattan at all?”

                    What about them? I only was talking about people wanting a subway. Of course there are B44 users who don’t transfer and some of them will take SBS, but I bet the locals will be much more crowded than the SBS and there will be way too much service south of Avenue U.

                    • Andrew says:

                      The time difference between the BMT and the IRT is marginal – precisely which one is faster depends on the exact starting point. Run them through the MTA Trip Planner and you’ll see. (Of course, don’t forget to the B44 running time by a few minutes to reflect SBS time savings.) Even if it takes a few minutes longer, taking the IRT avoids a transfer and guarantees a seat the whole way. And the IRT is undoubtedly the better route to Downtown.

                      (Brighton express service will actually make the Brighton option take longer for people coming from Avenue U, since the B won’t be stopping there anymore.)

  4. SEAN says:

    Just do it the american way… shove it down their god dam throwt. Who cares what a few spoiled entitled drivers think! You are not that importent.

    • Christopher says:

      That hasn’t been the American Way since the 1950s. (If ever, really.) And we maybe worse off for it. We’re at least less efficient.

      You wanna know why the rest of the world can build things faster and cheaper? Not all this pandering to the loudest voices. (Plus a citizenry that generally believes if the government wants it; it’s for the best.)

      • Lex A says:

        Some socialism will set up this city’s transit for a more prosperous and ordered future. Almost all of our informed comments reflect this. Hopefully the right people are reading.

      • Alon Levy says:

        On the contrary. The “rest of the world” (consisting of 199 countries that aren’t all the same) often listens to the community more, not less. For example, in France the low cost of greenfield high-speed rail comes from essentially trading time for money: the corridor selection process takes years, in full consultation with the regions through which it would pass. If there are lawsuits, then the lines aren’t built, or moved elsewhere; in fact, Provence NIMBYs have forced the high-speed line to the Riviera to be built along a difficult tunnel-ridden alignment for purely aesthetic reasons, causing a cost blowout that the region will have to pay billions for.

    • Sharon says:

      “Who cares what a few spoiled entitled drivers think! You are not that importent.”

      The last middle class resident is packing their bags. Why are drivers “spoiled” You have no clue what you are talking about. NONE

      • Alon Levy says:

        You’re presenting things as if there’s any middle class person still in New York. When you have no middle class, you have no middle class to lose…

        • Al D says:

          There are pleanty of Middle Class residents in NYC, and some even live in Sheepshead Bay.

        • Bolwerk says:

          No middle class? New York is the quintessential bourgeois city. It’s outside New York that lacks a serious middle class!

          • Alon Levy says:

            That’s upper class pretending to be middle class.

          • Sharon says:

            Not in these area’s . They are firmly middle class to the bone complete with two cars in the driveway.

            Sheapshead, Marine Park, Began Beach, Dyker Heights, Parts of midwood Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge etc are all middle class. Fewer areas each day as the city forces one size fits all mentality without taking a look at the reality on the ground.

            The Liberal activist who say they are fighting the rich to help the poor are actually fighting the middle and working class to aid the poor making being middle class harder and harder.

            Well intentioned people who just lack real world prospective on how to help people. There solutions to poverty have made the situation far worse.

            • Bolwerk says:

              The only thing forcing out that “middle class” (and how the hell two cars in a driveway automagically means middle class is beyond me) is attrition. Anybody who can effortlessly afford to move into such areas is necessarily in what Americans call the upper middle class.

              As for anybody in an income class of well above the American median to anywhere below, this utopian two-car lifestyle is already out of reach in New York City. If anything, improving transit access, even if it means losing some publicly subsidized parking spaces, at least in the long-term can help promote a shift to car-free living (which easily saves _anybody_ thousands/year).

              • BrooklynBus says:

                Your talking theory, not what will actually happen. For a shift to mass transit from cars to occur, a hell of a lot more will have to be done which will never happen. Building one SBS route won’t make any difference in that regard.

                • Bolwerk says:

                  No, I’m talking practice. It almost certainly makes a huge difference for the bus riders who see their trips speed up. And, yeah, okay, one SBS service won’t change too much. Several over several years would have real, practical results. And hopefully we’ll get smart enough to complement our transit system with faster, cheaper light rail and more subways.

                  The only “theory” here is the middle class Atlas shrugging off New York City, and it’s pretty thoroughly fictional.

                  • BrooklynBus says:

                    Not when the average rider will only be seeing a time savings of only six minutes, that also could be achieved through other means like enforcing rules against double parking without the expense and inconvenience of SBS. This is just the wrong route for it.

                    They should have chosen an east west route across southern Brooklyn with strong anchors at each end where the average travel savings could have been 15 minutes or more, with some saving as much as 30 minutes.

                    • Bolwerk says:

                      Eh, if you shave 6 minutes off the 40,000 people’s trips, the cumulative time saving is 4000 hours. In terms of labor-hours, that’s a tremendous number.

                      More important, perhaps, is making trips more reliable and predictable. For transit it draws ridership, and for the local economy it means fewer hours of lost productivity. Yes, one bus improvement could do that.

      • AK says:

        I don’t hate people who own cars, but I can’t let the “middle class” card be played without bringing up the actual statistics about wealth and car-ownership.

        http://www.tstc.org/reports/cp.....ouncil.php

        In the specific City Council districts discussed in this piece, car-owning households, on average, earn more than double what non-car owning households do. Moreover, aside from District 46 (where nearly 75% of people own cars), the other districts most affected by the SBS have a 50% car-ownership rate (higher than Manhattan neighborhoods, but not particularly high).

        More generally, the data shows that vehicle-owning households throughout the region are wealthier than households without access to a vehicle. This is true not only in Manhattan but in the outer boroughs, in New Jersey, on Long Island, and in Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam counties.

      • Bolwerk says:

        I don’t want to say all drivers are spoiled, but it’s quite clear that some of the loudest voices against smart reforms are often drivers who judge that improving transit takes away from them. In some cases, it’s perhaps even true that transit improvements mean shifting resources from subsidizing drivers towards subsidizing buses and trains that serve more people. I don’t really like assigning class designations to it, but it’s quite clear that driving is already priced out of reach for the bulk of the median American income earners who lives in New York, and anybody below. Whoever is left still driving either makes a living at it, and is helped by anything that reduces congestion, or is rich enough to be able to afford the costs.

        But this narrative about middle class drivers being the backbone of the city and the country really needs to end. It’s just BS.

        • Sharon says:

          “it’s perhaps even true that transit improvements mean shifting resources from subsidizing drivers towards subsidizing buses and trains that serve more people. ”

          You make statements that are just not true. FIRST drivers are not being subsidize. Between fuel taxes, sales tax on car purchase, tolls paid and DMV charges car owners pay their way. Let’s not forget the road upkeep is needed to supply our stores with food and access for police and fire.

          No one has a problem paying a bit extra to help fund the transit system but huge chunks of the subsidies cars and truck pay has been used over the years to pad the payroll and to pay ABOVE MARKET RATES for many transit titles. Cleaners who make $25 cash and $10 an hour benefits.
          Express bus drivers back to si empty to take a 3 hour $15 an hour break and drive back empty into the city. 2 hours of pollution that is not needed on a $500k bus that gets 3 mpg. They could be cleaning the buses or other task on the downtime.
          Use to money to provide needed service not pad the payroll. Outer borough needs and inner city needs are not always the same. I am for balance.

          • Bolwerk says:

            Drivers have always been heavily subsidized. How do you think roads stay “free”? All those fees you mention combined with tolls optimistically fund 65% of _highway_ costs alone, never you mind all the non-highway routes.* Sorry, but even Amtrak has a better farebox recovery. Even if I conceded to you every point about the MTA’s labor inefficiencies, criticisms I’m not even in disagreement with, it’s still nowhere near as expensive as the deal drivers get.

            * New York seems to have it a little better given that it just fines the living shit out of drivers for every little infraction.

          • This will be a shock to you, Sharon, but the only taxes that you pay as a car owner that funds the maintenance of New York City’s streets are the same ones I do as a non-car owner: income tax, sales tax, and property tax.

            Everything other tax and fee you described funds state and federal highways…. and it doesn’t fully cover the cost of those, either.

            • Bolwerk says:

              I looked into this a few years ago, but I don’t thoroughly remember the details. It looks like Manhattan sucks in enough in fines to fund much of the street maintenance costs in the city, though I don’t remember if these were 100% fully covered either – or even how you would define 100%. What’s the value of a dead person, afterall?

              Another reason to support congestion pricing and sensible street parking rates: you prefer a predictable opportunity to move and park, or a shot in the dark that could cost you nothing but the gas or a ~$120 ticket, depending on your luck?

            • Bolwerk says:

              Also, as non-drivers, we clearly have no rights to decide how our money is spent on our transportation systems!

              • BrooklynBus says:

                Couldn’t reply to your other thread, so tell me where that 40,000 number comes from? One of the MTA’s fallacies in this plan is that they assume most riders along Nostrand want to travel to the IRT subway at Flatbush Avenue. I have since learned speaking to others, that most of the potential riders living below Avenue M take an east-west bus route to the Brighton line and don’t even desire the IRT, and saving up to six minutes won’t change that because the Brighton Line is quicker (once the express is back) and less overcrowded. Also from Emmons Avenue where the MTA will be adding buses, the ride to the IRT will still be longer than the ride to the Brighton Line. Those buses will be terribly underutilized south of Avenue U.

                • Bolwerk says:

                  I just used 40,000 as an example because it’s about what a busier Brooklyn bus route carries. The B44 over Nostrand apparently carries closer to 44,000, according to the NYT.

                  I was tempted to point out that if you add an economic value to the hours saved, you can pretty quickly get a monetary estimate of direct savings to the economy, but thought better of it because some of the rides might not necessarily be so economically productive.

                  Regardless, a good way to look at transport improvements is through the lens of labor productivity improvements. If congestion makes people late to work, it means lost labor-hours. Even if those 6 minutes don’t mean much, more predictable service might.

                  • BrooklynBus says:

                    Couldn’t find any numbers in that link even after I clicked on Busiest routes and searched for B44. Anyway that doesn’t matter. Yes, when you multiply out the average daily savings, it sounds significant. It sounds even larger when projecting it out on an annual basis which is what I bet the MTA will do.

                    However, the number is meaningless without subtracting the minutes lost by people in their cars and time lost by trucks due to the increased traffic congestion SBS will cause for other modes of travel. (That wouldn’t be the case if a traffic lane were not taken away instead of a parking lane.) That data will not be considered because a baseline would be needed not only for Nostrand Avenue, but also for streets where traffic will be diverted to because of the loss of road capacity.

                    Not providing left turn lanes in Sheepshead Bay will greatly delay traffic, and cars parking will greatly delay traffic where the street is one-way, because cars will not be able to change temporarily change lanes as is presently the case, since on virtually every block, the only other traffic lane will be the bus lane.

                    • Bolwerk says:

                      It’s a stupidly designed interactive map. If you want to see ridership, click the “Busiest Routes” and then hover the mouse over the B44. I’m sure you know this, but, for others’ sake, it’s the Brooklyn bus with the lowest southerly terminus among the “Busiest Routes” on that map. It says 44,430 riders/day.

                      I agree that the lost time for drivers is a dimension that needs to be studied, but do you seriously think there are so many drivers that their combined time loss will come close to 4000+ hours? That this lane will slow down more than it speeds up seems like a dubious contention at best.

  5. Robert Hale says:

    The first people to speak up about an idea are always going to be those that hate it. The last people to speak up are those who have positive things to say. For Brooklyn especially, “car heavy” is a relative term; compare that to Monmouth County, NJ, where the only option is to drive. Fortunately, Janette Sadik-Khan understands this. If she didn’t the Nostrand Avenue SBS probably wouldn’t have gotten this far. If NIMBYs didn’t stop the PPW bike lane, then I don’t see them stopping this project either.

    • Sharon says:

      “PPW bike lane”

      Dumbest idea ever. The anti-car crowd on this board are the spoiled brats who can afford to live in brownstone brooklyn or manahattan where a car is luxury . Why tie up traffic for no public good. This mayor has bit the hand that fed him

      • When you say the “anti-car crowd,” you do realize that you’re talking about a majority of people who live in Brooklyn and live in Manhattan, right? This phantom car-owning middle class you constantly talk about doesn’t exist.

        • AK says:

          See the statistics cited above, which generally back up Ben’s point. Hard data.

        • Sharon says:

          Ben you are picking on the Minority of middle class and working class people who live in certain area’s. Over the last decade fewer of us exist. But we do

          The facts are simple. Statistically Higher Buildings in a zip code skew the statistics.

          Lets take My parents Zip Code 11234. The area south of Flatlands ave is one and two family homes where nearly every resident(minus a few elderly) own cars but the census track also includes a few blocks north of Flatlands Ave where the density of building skews the stats.
          Sheapshead Bay is the same and Bensonhurst. East New York is the same as well.

          Add in the fact that there are many people who register their cars out of state and you stats do not tell the true picture.

          If you want to talk Brownstone Brooklyn Yes the majority don’t have cars.
          Ben I invite you to drop me a line and I will be glad to show you around

        • BrooklynBus says:

          Ben, the mistake you are making is that everyone who does not own a car is not an environmentalist or anti-car. Many are middle class families striving to buy their first home or car.

          • Andrew says:

            And many have no desire to buy a car (or a home). Plenty of middle class families get along just fine without cars; they choose to spend their money in other ways.

            • BrooklynBus says:

              Depends on where you live.

              • Andrew says:

                To some extent, certainly. But it works the other way too: people interested in living without cars will probably not select areas to live in that make car-free living difficult. (And pedestrian-friendly areas tend to have high housing costs, due to the extremely high demand for such areas. Seems to me like we need to expand their number – there’s certainly no shortage of pedestrian-unfriendly suburban areas around here.)

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  You are correct on the first point.

                  But the reason pedestrian-friendly areas tend to have high housing costs is not because these areas are pedestrian-friendly. There is high demand for those areas because of a series of other factors. the main one being their proximity to downtown. Yes, it would be nice to increase the number of pedestrian friendly areas but you also have to look at the consequences and who you are hurting if anyone.

                  Also, it doesn’t necessarily have to involve removing of a traffic lane, or widening a sidewalk. Much can be accomplished simply by improving crosswalks with better pavements and signage.

                  Several years ago I was in Redmond, Washington and was jealous how nicely the crosswalks were marked. You wouldn’t even think of not letting a pedestrian cross first. In Kirkland, Washington you pick up an orange flag and wave it while crossing so the cars can see you. Then you deposit it in a bin across the street for someone else to pick up and cross the other way. Now that is pedestrian friendly.

                  But our City doesn’t believe that money invested in that manner is worthwhile, not to say that a flag idea would work here. (Also, we have a hell of a lot of more intersections than a small town and virtually any other city.) Perhaps they can interest businesses to share the cost. If they can encourage the building of plazas, why not reconstructing intersections or adding better signage. Here all they do is place a small “Yield to Pedestrians” sign at the corner, then block it with a School Crossing sign so that it is not even visible. Crosswalks are not even repainted until they are almost thoroughly worn out.

      • Al D says:

        PPW Bike Lane did not ‘tie up’ traffic. It calmed a known ‘speedway’, and for the better of everybody. We need to move a way from a driver based mentality (which by the way makes the Saudi’s rich and us poor), and strive for a more balanced approach which does of course include cars, just not to the exclusion of every other form of transport like it’s 1958 all over again. Because it’s not.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          Give me one reason why you need a bike lane on Prospect Park West when you already have one right inside the Park? Makes absolutely no sense. (And did you ever watch them racing down the hill in the Park? Better get out of the way or they will run you over. They don’t even know what red lights mean inside the park.)

          If the object was to slow down traffic long PPW, there was an obvious way to do it without reducing road capacity and causing congestion and increasing pollution. Just time the lights to turn green for someone traveling 25 mph, not 35 mph. People were only speeding there to make the green lights timed over the speed limit.

          • Quinn Hue says:

            The PP “lane” is a loop going in one direction counter-clockwise. And why not reduce capacity a little?

            • BrooklynBus says:

              You are not reducing capacity by a little. You are cutting it by 50%. Considering that the park is closed to traffic most of the day, the entire capacity of Prospect Park West is needed. The only other alternative is Flatbush to Ocean Avenues which is usually congested.

              As for Prospect Park being a one-way loop, it would be very easy to convert it to two-way by posting a few signs.

              • Considering that the park is closed to traffic most of the day, the entire capacity of Prospect Park West is needed.

                I’m not going to spend too much time arguing about the relative merits of the PPW bike lane because it’s been discussed to pieces elsewhere. But I’d like to note that initial studies by DOT have shown that congestion has not increased but speeds are down. It’s a generally accepted maxim of urban planning that by reducing lanes, you don’t create congestion. Rather, you reduce traffic. That is particularly so when there are plenty of other transit options available.

                The reverse holds true too. When you add lanes, you don’t alleviate congestion; you just create more of it. It’s all about incentives/disincentives to drive.

                • Sharon says:

                  The same DOT who is biased to wanting these changes and statistics are juiced up to support their goals.

                  FYI I come off sounding like PRO CAR ANTI TRANSIT . I am not. I am pro common sense. I would love nothing more to be able to walk out my house onto a train and get where I need to go. The truth is outside Manhattan and small parts of Brooklyn thus is not the case and will never be the case due to layout. Driving is the only reasonable way to go to some locations. I can drive 10 min to work or spend 30-40 min on mass transit. You make the call.

                  Speeders speed because the NYPD does not enforce traffic laws PERIOD. Not red lights, Not dangerous lane changes, No signal No problem. They rarely issue tickets for blocking bus stops or bike lanes for that matter.

                  The lane reductions just increase traffic.

                  I am for Increasing fines for speeding or any other traffic offenses. Install camera’s on the front of buses and let them police the bus lanes and bus stops .

                  But reducing road capacity for no good reason is like removing one lung from each person because the oxygen level in the world is down. You are impairing ones rights to live there lives.

                  Ever wonder where all homes immigrants are moving into. they are the tax base in my part of brooklyn leaving for the suburbs.

                  More than the taxes it is the NYPD lack of enforcing basic quality of life laws that chase people out. Speeding and dangerous driving are near the top of my list.

                  • Alon Levy says:

                    I don’t know about Brooklyn, but on the whole, NYC grows faster than its suburbs.

                    I’d agree with you if it were just DOT saying road diets don’t increase congestion. But it’s not. On the contrary: state and local DOTs have been looking for excuses to build and widen roads since the 1910s. It’s community activists and academics who found that building roads doesn’t reduce congestion and removing lanes doesn’t increase it.

                    It’s a rare fluke that on PPW the DOT happens to take the same view as the experts. It doesn’t mean that NYCDOT gets transportation right in general and it doesn’t mean it puts bike lanes where needed, but it means that on this one particular issue the government happens to be correct.

                    • BrooklynBus says:

                      Don’t change the subject. No one is talking about increasing road size, they are talking about not reducing it. It is not the same thing.

                    • Alon Levy says:

                      I’m not changing the subject. The induced demand law works in reverse, too. One of the most important pieces of evidence for it is that when they removed the West Side Highway, congestion on other roads did not increase.

                    • BrooklynBus says:

                      Removal of the West Side (Miller Highway) is not a fair example because the road wasn’t removed, it was merely put on the surface with some added traffic lights. You really didn’t reduce roadway capacity by demolishing the el because the space underneath was previously mostly unusable. That’s why congestion wasn’t increased. But about five minutes were added to people’s trips by demolishing the elevated highway during times the Miller Highway wasn’t congested.

                    • Andrew says:

                      It was put on the surface decades later. The interim roadway was narrow and clearly didn’t handle close to the same traffic volumes. Yet congestion on other roads did not increase.

                  • So when presented with honest, proven statistical evidence, you doubt it? You’re starting to sound like a Global Warming denier, Sharon.

                    Prospect Park West is calmer and safer for all users. And you don’t live there, so why do you even care?

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  I’m fully aware what the textbooks say. I have a masters in Urban Planning. That doesn’t mean I fully agree. I won’t make a lengthy reply either, because Sharon said much of what I was going to say but only better. All I will add, is show me the statistics. I bet they only measured traffic along PPW to prove their point. How many cars were diverted to Flatbush Avenue or the BQE increasing congestion there? Where are those statistics?

                  • Al D says:

                    What Sharon said is racist, flat out. Yesterday she said only people in the projects ride the B44 (meaning Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses), and today she said that the immigrants are moving in and the tax base is moving out. Racist. That’s all I see when I read her posts. She does not see the larger demographics. Additionally, and bringing it back to transit, it’s the classic racist us (the white people with cars) vs. them (minorities without cars). It’s those bus riding minorities making further inroads into ‘my’ community.

                    By the way, I don’t doubt for a moment that her drive to work is so much faster than taking the bus out there. When I used to go to Kings Plaza, 10 to 15 minutes by car, 30 to 80 minutes by bus fo approx. a 3 to 4 mile trip.

                    • BrooklynBus says:

                      What is your point and what are you talking about? How is saying that people who live in the projects and rely mostly on buses is racist? Because they happen to be Black? They ride the buses because they don’t own cars. They don’t ride it because they are Black. How is making a true statement that long time residents are moving out and being replaced by immigrants racist? So you are saying any white person with a car is racist? That is plain insulting and you owe everyone an apology.

  6. BrooklynBus says:

    SBS along Nostrand Avenue needs to be scrapped, not because drivers are against it or because some parking spaces would be lost, but because it is just a poor idea and will not work. That is not to say that SBS couldn’t work elsewhere in Brooklyn like on a modified B82 across southern Brooklyn.

    The reason is simple. Unlike on Fordham Road or Second Avenue where people ride significant distances on the buses and can save more than just a few minutes, no one uses the B44 to ride from Sheepshead Bay to Williamsburg, potentially saving them up to 15 minutes. Instead people ride between Sheepshead Bay and the Nostrand Avenue IRT at Flatbush Avenue between Midwood and Crown Heights, between Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, or between Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy. So the average passenger stands to save no more than about six minutes which could also be accomplished by other means without all the disruption caused by SBS like strict enforcement against double parkers on bus routes.

    • Alon Levy says:

      Do people ride the B46, currently the city’s number 1 corridor, for long distances?

      • BrooklynBus says:

        Certainly longer distances than the B44. That’s because you have Kings Plaza as a southern anchor for the B46. People travel all the way from Bed Stuy to Kings Plaza. It’s also a greater distance to the IRT from the south (Eastern Parkway as opposed to Flatbush/Nostrand). The B44 only has the UA Theater and a few nursing homes as a southern anchor.

        If the B44 went to Kingsborough College instead of the B49, the trip length on the B44 would greatly increase, but I believe that would overload the route leaving the B49 much emptier.

        • Sharon says:

          SBS to kingsbourough makes much better sense.

          People on this board don’t realize that you can go 10 plus blocks without a single store.

          The next north south bus line west of nostrand ave is 10 blocks away on Ocean ave. Driving is not a luxury it is part of everyday life

          The next north south bus line east of Nostrand is flatbush ave and there is no east west bus south of ave U that goes from flatbush to anywhere. You need to understand people bought houses here to get away from the gritty city and don’t want to ride buses for any reason other than go into the city and many don’t work in the city.

          • BrooklynBus says:

            More people would ride buses if it took them where they want to go. But the MTA has no interest in making bus travel more convenient. (SBS is just another service cut.) Example: The Gateway Mall opened around seven years ago is frequented by many residents of southern Brooklyn, all of them arriving by automobile, because the MTA never provided bus service from there in all these years. A twenty minute car trip would take over two hours by bus. So are car drivers spoiled by not wanting to take a two-hour bus trip?

            And that’s just one example. New land uses are opening up all the time: BJs at Canarsie Center (again no new proposed service along Foster Avenue serving it.) Then there the Racino at Aqueduct. Again no interest by the MTA to serve it. Say there is lack of money to provide new services. But the MTA can’t only cut, and at the same time expect people to give up their cars. Many more people will be hurt than will be helped by the Nostrand Avenue SBS.

            • Sharon says:

              Brooklyn Bus you said it better than I could. Many people on this board just do not understand the lay of the land.

              Poor people will deal with hour plus rides to do a basic task but anyone with an option will not.

              The MTA could extend the B41 for instance(once the new Belt Parkway overpasses are done) to gateway center. they won’t.

              Transit services are geared towards getting you into the city.

              Quite frankly if there are no traffic issues and residents are self sufficient driving than why add new services.

              One of the posters stated the facts real clear. Car owners earn more. Make it more difficult to drive in areas with NO TRAFFIC ISSUES and you chase the people out and you are left with lower income people who require more subsidizes services whether transit or otherwise.

              Take a look at east flatbush . It already occured. Canarsie as well

              • Bolwerk says:

                Meanwhile those precious white car owners take their big earnings and congest the entire region’s surface transportation system. Areas with no traffic areas surely have it nice from a local mobility standpoint, but don’t fool yourself: there is no such thing as transport self-sufficiency. The drivers in those areas don’t live in vacuums. They drive to other areas, often with pedestrians and high levels of congestion.

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  As I’ve stated before, most of the congestion is caused by lane blockages forcing people to merge, whether it be by illegal double-parked cars and trucks with very little enforcement, or due to construction or utility repairs. It simply is not caused by cars driving unless the numbers of cars is exceedingly high which is usually not the case.

                  A few weeks ago on a Saturday, I was stuck for 20 minutes on two blocks on 61st Street coming off the Queensborough Bridge, because a utility had one of the two lanes blocked for a repair. The congestion could have been cut to five minutes or less simply by placing a traffic enforcement officer or policeman at the corner of York Avenue to allow cars to go through on a red light because there was virtually no traffic on York Avenue, because the signal time on 61st was way too short because of the closed lane. The utility repair was no surprise and if the City really cared about congestion they could easily do something about it.

                  Similarly I was stuck on Dyckman Street for another 20 minutes on two blocks due to 50 double-parked cars and zero enforcement. How do I know that the shopkeepers are not paying someone off not to enforce the laws there?

                  Put the blame where it belongs on the City, not on the motorist.

                  • Bolwerk says:

                    Yes, that’s right. It’s all “lane blockages.” The lane blockages are specifically caused by other cars, immobile or close to it, blocking lanes where people behind them are attempting to travel. Those behind them, in turn, block the ones behind them. Much of this is a domino effect caused by the simple physical reality that three lanes _full_ to the brim of heavy traffic cannot merge into two or one.

                    Simple solution: charge a high enough fee for use of the roadways where equilibrium supply and demand for the roadway is sufficiently placed so that at any and all times these “lane blockages,” including the blockages caused by transient happenings, never slow traffic to the point where it barely moves.

                    • BrooklynBus says:

                      No, not a simple solution. So now you want congestion pricing citywide. Sorry, doesn’t work forcing people to pay more when you are not giving them realistic options. A two hour bus trip is not an option for a 20 minute car trip.

                      In Manhattan, check out how many of these vehicles are private cars. Not many. Most are taxis, trucks, buses, livery vehicles, government vehicles, etc.

                      The simple solution is to minimize the lane blockages in the first place through adequate enforcement. The emphasis on giving traffic summonses should be to move traffic, not to raise revenue as is presently the case. Why do I see police giving double parkers tickets when they are not causing problems because traffic is light and cars can easily go around them, but I don’t see them giving tickets when scores of double parkers are delaying traffic 20 minutes on two blocks? Enforce the laws and you won’t have congestion. With no double parkers and synchronized lights you can have heavy traffic volumes travel from 96th Street to 14th Street in 10 or 15 minutes. The problem is not the traffic volumes but the lane blockages and lack of enforcement.

                    • Andrew says:

                      I can’t comment on the Dyckman situation.

                      But people have reasons to double park, and issuing tickets doesn’t make those reasons go away. If I need to make a delivery, I need to park my truck nearby, and if the curbside spaces are all occupied, I’m going to double park.

                      If you want to take a hard line on double parkers, fine, but first give them a way to make their deliveries without double parking, such as curbside space designated for short-term loading.

                      Of course, that would reduce the space the city provides for free or cheap vehicle storage. That’s OK with me, but it might not be OK with you.

    • Andrew says:

      Sorry, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been riding the new M15 SBS a lot the past two weeks. Most people are on and off within four or five stops. It still saves them a lot of time.

      A 6-minute savings on a short bus ride is a huge deal.

      Enforcement of the law is not disruption. Double parking is disruption.

      • Alon Levy says:

        Are you counting the loss of frequency from the split payment systems?

        • Andrew says:

          There’s no loss of frequency. SBS receipts can be used on either bus now.

          • Alon Levy says:

            The stations aren’t at the same place, though. You need to decide where to stand.

            • Andrew says:

              No you don’t. The bus stops in most locations are back-to-back (no different from the M1/M4 vs. the M2/M3 on much of 5th Ave). In a few places, they’re on opposite sides of a side street.

              As I said, I’ve been riding it a lot lately. I show up at the stop and get my receipt right away. If the local comes first, and I don’t see the SBS approaching (it has blue lights, so it really does stand out), and I’m not going very far, I get on the local. It’s not a problem. At all.

              • Alon Levy says:

                The M1/M4 and M2/M3 are two pairs each of which has nearly the same amount of traffic as the M15 combined, not just the local or the SBS. So the frequency reduction there is less of a problem.

                • Andrew says:

                  You’re grasping at straws. Nobody has a problem walking between the local and SBS stops when they’re back-to-back. (Have you ridden SBS? Have you watched how other people ride?)

      • BrooklynBus says:

        You can’t only count the time saved on the bus. You need to count door-to-door travel savings. If you save 6 minutes, but it takes you two minutes longer to get to the bus stop at each end because you have to walk further to it, that’s a two minute savings not a six minute savings. Do a door-to-door comparison between local and SBS, then tell me what the actual savings are.

      • Sharon says:

        I am all for enforcement of traffic laws. I think the NYPD does a terrible job. Put camera’s on every intersection for red light runners. Put camera’s on buses to issue tickets to bus lane blockers, double parker’ s and bus stop blockers.

        I agree that there is a small majority of motorists that violate the law on a daily basis and make bus travel harder. Bang em out.

        • Alon Levy says:

          Albany killed bus cams. The compromise they reached in the Assembly was that only the six agreed-upon SBS routes would be allowed to have bus cams, ensuring that violating bus lanes on non-SBS routes would remain as easy as ever.

          • Andrew says:

            That’s six more routes than had cameras last year.

            We should certainly push for citywide authorization, but we’re still a lot better off than we used to be.

    • Bolwerk says:

      Moved this to a new subthread too.

      No, not a simple solution. So now you want congestion pricing citywide. Sorry, doesn’t work forcing people to pay more when you are not giving them realistic options. A two hour bus trip is not an option for a 20 minute car trip.

      In Manhattan, check out how many of these vehicles are private cars. Not many. Most are taxis, trucks, buses, livery vehicles, government vehicles, etc.

      What’s this thing about forcing people to pay more? It’s more like having them pay more of their own costs, while having everyone else pay less.

      But no, I would not think congestion pricing is a good idea “citywide.” I think it’s possibly a good idea on major arteries, and definitely in congested neighborhoods.

      IIRC, at least half of Manhattan vehicles are privately owned vehicles.

      Where’s this army of police to put in place this traffic summons scheme of yours?

      Why do I see police giving double parkers tickets when they are not causing problems because traffic is light and cars can easily go around them, but I don’t see them giving tickets when scores of double parkers are delaying traffic 20 minutes on two blocks?

      Because the police are stuck in traffic too?

      Enforce the laws and you won’t have congestion. With no double parkers and synchronized lights you can have heavy traffic volumes travel from 96th Street to 14th Street in 10 or 15 minutes. The problem is not the traffic volumes but the lane blockages and lack of enforcement.

      Without camera enforcement, the laws are probably enforced about as effectively as they possibly can be.

      Your idea about having heavy traffic volumes and high travel times only works is impossible conditions are met: yes, no lane blockers. Nobody trying to park. No human error causing fender benders or worse. No pedestrians taking too long to cross. There needs to be just the right number of vehicles – not too many, or congestion happens and traffic stops. No cops causing rubbernecking. People are not rational!

      I find it highly illogical, if you want to encourage a transport regime that encourages driving, to say that the roads should be priced so that 100% of capacity is used. Sure, 100% might mean traffic moves if by some magic coincidence the tens of thousands of people traveling down the avenue every hour have absolutely no human problems. Pricing it so that there is 10% or 25% capacity to spare at peak times just seems obvious to me because it provides a little redundancy.

  7. BrooklynBus says:

    I will only reply to the points I understand.

    1. If it is true that half of Manhattan’s vehicles are privately owned, it is an irrelevant number. Many if not most of those cars are parked in garages five days a week. Usage is what matters, not ownership.

    2. There is no such thing as a congested neighborhood. Congestion occurs all over and at different times. You can’t even say for sure that some areas are habitually congested at the same time every day. A few years ago I had to drive my car into Manhattan (I don’t remember why) on a Thursday evening at 6:15 coming off the FDR and had to drive across Midtown. I expected to spend a half hour sitting in traffic. For some unknown reason, there were relatively few cars, no lanes were blocked and the lights were synchronized. I breezed all the way to Fifth Avenue in about three minutes. I also once drove into Manhattan on New Year’s Eve and parked on Ninth Avenue near Times Square to visit a friend and encountered little traffic each way. However when I tried on a Saturday morning to get off the Queensboro Bridge, I was stuck for 20 minutes on two blocks because of a blocked lane due to utility construction and the lack of a policeman to conduct traffic.

    And don’t you think if you had congestion pricing only in certain neighborhoods, people would just alter their routes to avoid those neighborhoods moving the congestion elsewhere that are still free of charge? That idea is thoroughly unworkable.

    3. No the police are not stuck in traffic. They have their sirens don’t forget. There is just no priority for them to ticket double parkers. The merchants would start to complain and they have political power. They would lose business. That’s why it is not done. The only time they are ticketed is when a cop needs to meet his quota. He will see a car double-parked and get out and give him a ticket. He doesn’t even think if he is blocking traffic or not.

    Besides we have armies of parking enforcement agents who patrol commercial strips every 30 minutes searching for expired meters. Why aren’t these agents also ticketing double parkers or at least asking them to move. (I see them bothering the cars sometimes but never the trucks who are the most flagrant violators.) Why did I see over 50 double-parked cars on a two block stretch of Dyckman Street, where I was stuck for 20 minutes and not a single person being ticketed?

    You shouldn’t underestimate what lane blockages mean to traffic congestion. When I was younger, I used to take the B46 to Eastern Parkway every morning. At the point where the street narrows, the parking regulation changes to No Parking 7 to 10 AM to provide an additional lane of traffic. On days where only one car was parked along that three block stretch, the bus ride took me 5 minutes longer. And with this SBS plan we are speaking about an average time savings along a route that traverses most of Brooklyn of only six minutes. The difference between you and me is that I speak the facts, while you speak theory.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      Correction: the regulation I spoke of is “No Standing” not “No Parking”.

    • Bolwerk says:

      I’ll break this into a few separate posts to make it easier to track.

      Re 1: I don’t know the exact breakdown myself, but POVs originating from Manhattan probably aren’t an interesting statistic here. I was referring to POVs on the street in Manhattan. Something like a million vehicles make their way into Manhattan each day, IIRC, and at least half were POVs. It might have been significantly more than half.

      Re 2: well, pick the terminology how you want, some neighborhoods are prone to congestion. I’m just speculating here, but don’t you think there’s at least a possibility that the “congestion-free” Manhattan journey you mention could have been caused by congestion elsewhere keeping cars away from where you were? Manhattan is a pretty vertical island.

      Re 3: the police stuck in traffic thing was kind of a joke, but it does have some truth to it. Emergency vehicles are certainly delayed by traffic and lack of redundancy. It’s not like flipping a siren on magically makes cars float upward to let the surface emergency vehicle pass.

      • BrooklynBus says:

        Re 1: Judging from my experience something just doesn’t sound right about that statistic. Are you sure that someone who privately owns a taxi (i.e. non-fleet) is not included in that POV figure? Maybe they are talking about all cars including government-owned vehicles. I find it hard to believe that they distinguish between a car owned by a business and a car owned by an individual. I would think that very few people (percentagewise not absolute numbers) who have to pay for their own parking take their car into Manhattan. I’m likely to think that more would be entering the City like in the evening to go to the theater, than to go to and from work during rush hours. I would have to see more specifics to convince me.

        Re 2: I don’t know what you mean that some neighborhoods are prone to congestion. I think some streets are prone to congestion meaning you can predict that during certain part of the day, traffic will be heavy on a portion of that street. You can say that driving up 4th Avenue or Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn during the morning rush hour that traffic will keep getting heavier the further north you will go. But I don’t think you can say a whole neighborhood is prone to congestion unless traffic is so bad on so many streets that near-gridlock is reached and you can’t move anywhere.

        Sometimes an event will cause that type of congestion in a neighborhood like a street closed for a street fair, or an emergency necessitating street closings, but I don’t think you can pick an entire neighborhood outside of Manhattan and say it is chronically congested.

        Re 3: No comment if it was a joke.

    • Bolwerk says:

      And don’t you think if you had congestion pricing only in certain neighborhoods, people would just alter their routes to avoid those neighborhoods moving the congestion elsewhere that are still free of charge? That idea is thoroughly unworkable.

      That depends on whether the congestion charge zone is a major destination. If it is, then people will simply avoid going, or find an alternative. If the area is congested because it’s a thru route, even a poorly thought out one, it might be a different story and probably varies by location.

      Treating highways as premium arteries and charging for them might help a lot. They behave differently than local streets, and the congestion avoided on highways might avoid overflows to major streets.

      • BrooklynBus says:

        “it might be a different story and probably varies by location.”

        Everything depends on what alternatives are available.

        So now you want to make all highways in the City toll roads? Other than raising revenue, I don’t understand what that would accomplish or what your logic is. Let’s say the BQE is a toll road. People won’t pay the toll if the road is jam packed. Why pay a toll to move at 10 mph when you can move at that speed on a city street? So people get off the highway and further overcrowd the streets. Now the highway moves a little faster but still not fast enough for the toll to be worthwhile. So more people leave the BQE. Now people can do 40 or 50 on it and they ae happy but the local streets are all grid-locked and people can’t get anywhere so they return to the BQE. Eventually a balance is reached where everyone is paying what they are willing to pay and the people paying the toll are moving a little faster and those not willing to pay are making more time-consuming trips on local streets. I don’t see your point how over-flows to major streets are avoided. Major streets would become much more congested, so much so that many cars would now be using slow side streets. This is pretty much what happens in Manhattan today. Theoretically someone wanting to go from the East River to the Hudson River would use the major streets 14, 34, 42nd, etc. But traffic on those streets are so heavy they will settle for any street that moves. That’s what would happen all over the City if all the highways charged tolls.

        I don’t see where this discussion is taking us. We really should try to stay on topic (SBS on Nostrand Avenue.)

        • Bolwerk says:

          People won’t pay the toll if the road is jam packed. Why pay a toll to move at 10 mph when you can move at that speed on a city street?

          Any logic I can see to making a toll road, besides paying for the cost of the artery, is making sure it stays empty enough to provide some leftover capacity so people can move. It’s a supply/demand problem. This idea about people picking alternatives, and therefore causing more congestion, seems to only be the case when you’re talking about two equal alternatives – like the tolled Queens Midtown vs. the untolled East River Bridges that morons travel far out of their way for (probably wasting more gas than they would have spent on the toll, in some cases). Problems like that can be avoided by simply charging equally for equal alternatives – and a local street is not an equal alternative to a limited access highway.

          So more people leave the BQE. Now people can do 40 or 50 on it and they ae happy but the local streets are all grid-locked and people can’t get anywhere so they return to the BQE.

          Huh? It’s probably the BQE and other highways responsible for gridlocking the streets. People getting onto the jammed BQE cause traffic issues behind them. I haven’t heard of many modern traffic planners who think concentrated arteries make more sense than well-distributed streets.

          • BrooklynBus says:

            1. Many people are against tolling the free bridges because the tolled bridges and tunnels are already very expensive and get more expensive every two years. As they keep getting more expensive, more cars will go out of their way to avoid the tolls. The sensible solution as you say is to charge the same price for all the bridges, but it shouldn’t be at the current rates. The tolls should be halved. It should cost $2.50 or $3.00 max each way for all the East River bridges and that price should hold for a considerable period of time not one or two years. I figure that should keep the revenue the same and equalize the traffic.

            The rationale for charging tolls on the TBTA bridges was that you would be connecting two highways, whereas the free bridges only connect two streets so they would be free. That sort of had logic to it, but the logic has disappeared over the years. The Mid-Manhattan Expressway was never built so the Midtown Tunnel never connected two highways as was planned, and a direct connection was built from the FDR to the Brooklyn Bridge and from the Manhattan Bridge to the BQE so free bridges now also directly connect to highways.

            2. Responding to your “Huh”. I don’t agree that a jammed highway is responsible for gridlocking the streets behind them. When most drivers can see the the access lane is completely blocked, they will change their plans and not get on the highway because they know the consequences of getting on a jammed highway which is infinitely worse than getting on a gridlocked street. They will only make that mistake if they cannot see the traffic flow on the highway before they decide to get on.

            The traffic will go some place. If fewer decide to use a highway because of a toll, the traffic on the streets has to increase and if it’s heavy to begin with, the congestion will only get worse. That’s my logic.

            • Andrew says:

              Given that, aside from some of the bridges and tunnels, none of the streets or roads or highways in New York City are tolled, the bridge tolls are an absolute bargain. Think of the toll as applying to the entire trip, not just to the bridge.

              Your “rationale” is made up. All of the TBTA’s bridges and tunnels were tolled. The toll-free bridges were never owned by the TBTA, so the TBTA couldn’t institute tolls on them.

              • BrooklynBus says:

                No. The bridge tolls are just that bridge tolls. There is no reason why I should think of them as paying for the whole trip. The fact that there is no toll on highways like the LIE doesn’t mean it is “free”. It was still paid for through higher taxes. Theoretically taxes would have been lower if it was paid for through tolls.

                The rationale is not made up. The fact that the free bridges are not owned by TBTA has nothing to do with the rationale. It just means that the TBTA couldn’t charge tolls on them. But when they were thinking of charging tolls on the East River Bridges, they would have done it by turning the bridges over to the TBTA.

                Regarding your earlier comment regarding increasing delivery zones reducing on-street parking, I would have no problem with that to reduce double parking by trucks who stay three hours double-parked unloading. At least when cars double park, it isn’t for three hours.

                • Andrew says:

                  Those higher taxes are paid by all New Yorkers, regardless of the degree to which they drive. Statewide, highways cover 7% of their costs from user fees (source), and local streets (where you probably do most of your driving) don’t collect any form of user fees at all. If all you do is drive over a bridge, then you’re overpaying (compared to your usage), but if you also drive on a local street or a highway, as virtually everyone does, you’re underpaying.

                  Yes, it would be fairer to reduce the bridge tolls slightly and to impose tolls on all highways and city streets, but I imagine there might be some objections to that proposal.

                  Robert Moses didn’t decide to put a toll on the Triboro Bridge because of highway connections. He put a toll on bridge because he built a bridge. He wouldn’t have built the bridge if not for the tolls. That was the only rationale.

                  I’m glad we’ve come to an agreement on loading zones.

                  • BrooklynBus says:

                    First of all, I have not changed my position on loading zones. I’ve always felt that they should take priority over parking to keep traffic moving. In Brighton Beach, there are about 15 fruit stores within a half mile which require daily deliveries. Two loading zones accommodating 2 trucks is just not sufficient. In areas where stores require weekily deliveries, perhaps, the local BID could coordinate deliveries so that they are staggered and everyone doesn’t receive deliveries at he same time overloading the delivery zones.

                    As far as Moses goes, the tolls were placed to pay for the bridges and the bridges were built to connect highways. Moses never built a bridge to connect City streets. True, he would have not built the bridges if he couldn’t have charged tolls, but they weren’t built because he could make money on the tolls. He only charged 25 cents which was never increased (35 cents for the Battery Tunnel because it was newer and longer so it cost more.)

                    And about Miller Highway — You would have to show me the numbers to prove to me that traffic declined after it was demolished and before West Street was widened. I submit to you that the traffic was merely temporarily dispersed until the new road was completed and did not disappear some of it diverted to the FDR or perhaps continuing through New Jersey and crossing at the GW Bridge instead increasing delays there.

    • Bolwerk says:

      You shouldn’t underestimate what lane blockages mean to traffic congestion.

      I’m not discounting it, but what do you expect to do about it? Not maintain the streets and utilities underneath them? Having a traffic cop doesn’t magically make two lanes hold what would be three lanes of smooth traffic.

      Now, I know we can improve performance by mandating the unions work together better (ConEd and Verizon should be able to share a hole, for instance).

      No matter how right you are, it’s just more evidence that we need to retain some street/road space so we have some redundancy.

      And with this SBS plan we are speaking about an average time savings along a route that traverses most of Brooklyn of only six minutes.

      Which is a pretty impressive result, as I mentioned above. If the overall ridership average is six minutes, it’s more than 4000 rider-hours saved. And I bet people going the longest distances are the biggest winners. What’s the standard deviation for that mean?

      The difference between you and me is that I speak the facts, while you speak theory.

      The fact is we have a problem with congestion, and we need to apply some theory to improving it. Anecdotes about lane blockages notwithstanding.

      • BrooklynBus says:

        Of course, some times there is an emergency and a lane has to be closed and there will be a delay. That is unavoidable. But the example I cited somewhere in this thread about 61 Street being jammed because of a lane closing could have been greatly minimized if someone were directing traffic at York Avenue. A 20-minute delay would have only been 5 minutes. The problem was inadequate green time for 61 St because one lane was closed. Half the 20 minutes we spent waiting to cross the intersection, there was no traffic flowing on York and 61st could have been moving. Yes, policemen don’t suddenly materialize. DOT knows this is the major exit off the Bridge, and unless this was an emergency repair, the delays could easily have been minimized. In fact, such an extensive delay wasn’t even necessary if it were an emergency if there was a regulation that required the utility to provide someone to direct traffic. Who knows? I bet there is one and it’s just not enforced.

        It’s not that this sort of thing has never happened before. We should learn from our experiences, but the City doesn’t seem to because they don’t believe reducing congestion should be a priority. If they did, this and the other situation I spoke of on Dyckman Street never would have occurred. The only thing that seems to be a priority for our mayor is to raise revenue and collect fines. They will fine eight people $100 for playing chess in a City park, but they won’t issue tickets to reduce congestion. Why can’t some of the meter maids be assigned to issue tickets that reduce congestion. Is it necessary that every meter be checked every 30 minutes to see if it is expired?

        The point isn’t only the six minutes saved. It’s the effort and expense that is going into saving that six minutes and the inconvenience it will be causing to non-users of the SBS. I believe that if more attention was paid to ticketing double parkers, you still could save the six minutes without SBS. Why pick a route that saves an average of 6 minutes when you could have picked one that could save an average of 10 or 15 minutes?
        And I don’t even believe the six minutes is an accurate number. I believe it is inflated. It was determined using the MTA’s computer models and supposedly accounts for extra walking time to the further spaced SBS stops. But when the MTA was questioned several years ago about using their model to determine if it would be sensible to make some local route changes, they stated that it wasn’t sophisticated enough to provide fine enough data for individual route planning and could only be used to predict regional trends. Now all of a sudden it knows how much time will be saved.

        For me to believe them, they need to reveal more details about their planning process. Until then I’ll be skeptical. I can’t even figure out when the exclusive lane in Sheepshead Bay will be in effect. The presentation says until 7PM. The newspaper says until 10 PM. Orally it was stated only during the morning rush hours northbound and evening rush hours southbound. Is that 6-9AM, 4-7 PM; or 7 to 8 AM and 5 to 6 PM? If they can’t even be consistent about the hours of operation, why would I believe the 6 minutes on face value without any supporting documentation?

        • Bolwerk says:

          What does directing traffic do to keep people from having to merge? It’s the act of merging that is the problem here. Directing traffic might do a little good, but it’s not going to cure the congestion.

          You may be right that the NYC bureaucracy doesn’t want to change, but it’s not really the bureaucracy’s fault that experimentation is so impossible. Even if something like congestion pricing ultimately failed, it would be worth trying. But it’s not like there aren’t success stories to look at elsewhere in the world.

          Doesn’t SBS automatically deal with the double parkers, at least if the lane is enforced? I can buy your point that there is possibly a cost in travel time for drivers because of the SBS. I’d really have to see it to believe it, but I can buy it’s possible. But even if I conceded that point entirely, do you really want to contend that the time gained for the bus riders is less important than the time lost for the car drivers? Or, even more pertinently perhaps, the time lost for the drivers exceeds the time gained for the bus riders? I think for your time criticism to hold up, you need to answer yes to both those questions – and, hell, maybe you can.

          • BrooklynBus says:

            I think you didn’t quite understand what I was saying about the delay on 61st Street (eastbound). So I’ll try to be clearer. You are correct that directing traffic has nothing to do with cars merging, but that wasn’t why it was needed. Because of the lane closure only six cars (instead of 12) could get through the intersection at York Avenue where the work was being done. At 1st Avenue the problem was that cars were always backed up nearly to First Avenue so if cars even had the green light at First there was no capacity for all of them the cross the intersection on the green signal.

            When the light turned red at York, all the traffic passed on York in about 15 seconds leaving 45 seconds with no traffic. If someone were conducting traffic there, he could have allowed 61st Street cars to proceed on a red light after the York Avenue traffic had cleared. So instead of only six cars clearing the intersection from 61st Street during each cycle, 12 cars could have cleared the intersection, greatly reducing the delay, so there wouldn’t have been a wasted 45 seconds every time York Avenue had the light. Also, it was Saturday morning and not a single pedestrian was in sight.

            This isn’t the place for another debate about the merits of congestion pricing.

            Yes, theoretically, SBS does deal with double parkers and that is good. And I agree that a bus rider’s time is worth more than a driver’s time. But even if more bus riders save time than is lost by auto drivers, that still isn’t enough justification for SBS on Nostrand Avenue. You have to look at the entire picture. Why pick a route when greater time savings could be achieved on a route where the average trip time would be longer, and therefore the time savings would be greater? Is six minutes really that great of a savings if a similar savings could be achieved just by enforcing existing laws? Judging from my experience with the B46 which I mentioned somewhere in this thread, maybe replying to someone else, I definitely believe that it could.

            The other major problem with this plan is using the traffic lane. I’m pretty sure that original plans called for use of the parking lane which would have worked much better congestion-wise. I believe the communities greatly resisted this, so a traffic lane was chosen instead. I don’t believe that there are even enough buses on this route during non-rush hours to even justify using a traffic lane. Don’t forget because of the one-way traffic light synchronization, Nostrand and Rogers are the prime auto routes to travel north and south. Drivers are left with no good alternative. Because buses stop and start, the synchronization isn’t as advantageous for them as it is for cars.

            DOT should have reviewed all the parking regulations to see how many more spots could have been created by altering existing regulations to minimize the number of spots lost. Sometimes a spot is taken away for a reason, but that reason is no longer valid, but the spot is never returned, or not returned for three years until someone complains about it. I’ve seen that on numerous occasions. They also could have reduced the hours and days of Alternate Side Parking in exchange for eliminating the parking spots to reduce opposition. I bet no one even thought about doing that.

  8. Bolwerk says:

    Besides we have armies of parking enforcement agents who patrol commercial strips every 30 minutes searching for expired meters. Why aren’t these agents also ticketing double parkers or at least asking them to move.

    How many? The NYPD totals around 30k. If a quarter of that is parking enforcement, and half of that is on the peak shift, that army is down to 3750. If half of that is in Manhattan, it’s stuck patrolling several hundred miles with the potential for bottle necks.

    I really don’t know what the numbers are, but it doesn’t sound like their “army” is that impressive. It’s also largely in the dark ages, given that it’s largely on foot.

    (I see them bothering the cars sometimes but never the trucks who are the most flagrant violators.)

    Maybe they’re just resigned to the fact that we need trucks. Hard to say.

    Why did I see over 50 double-parked cars on a two block stretch of Dyckman Street, where I was stuck for 20 minutes and not a single person being ticketed?

    Speculating, but maybe some of the reason is they focus on Manhattan below 90th because the fines are higher, and that means more revenue.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      There has to be an army because I can never walk through any commercial area near my neighborhood in outer Brooklyn without encountering at least three enforcement agents giving tickets every single day. Sometimes I even see them arrive by van and 8 will depart and spread out. Other times is is a cruising car, but they are always there. And this is not Manhattan south of 96th Street. I definitely think something is going on on Dyckman Street that is not kosher. It’s just that we don’t know about it.

      I have never seen double parking that bad anywhere in the City. On the two blocks between Broadway and I believe 9th Avenue, there was not even one double parked space available on either side of the street. Have you ever seen double parking that bad?

      • Bolwerk says:

        Ah, so you see large patrols ambushing violators. That makes sense. If one did it, then all the other violators would have a chance to scatter. You see the same thing on the subway at night with ticket blitzes. But it doesn’t translate into an army that’s capable of catching every violation in the city.

        You’ll get no argument from me that the NYPD’s traffic control has its head lodged so firmly up its own rectum that it can taste its last meal. Dyckman Street might just be a matter of not giving a crap. It’s not exactly wealthy, but except for the quality of life issue wrought by narcissistic drivers, it’s not exactly a hot spot compared to nearby neighborhoods.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          You don’t have to catch every violator, as long as someone feels there is a fair possibility of getting a ticket, they will change their behavior. I remember years ago when virtually no one got a ticket for double parking, but the police would regularly come by and chase them away to keep traffic moving. But the City found out that required manpower and no revenue was generated so they stopped doing that and instead now just give an occasional ticket for double parking without warning anyone.

          I liked the old way better. It was fairer and it kept the streets moving. I really believe that it’s the merchants association’s relationship with the NYPD along Dyckman Street that has something to do with double parking not being enforced there. The fact that so many people are doing it means that no one feels threatened because no one has gotten a ticket in a long time. I don’t think it is just by chance that this goes on unabated. Even if everyone scatters after the first ticket, it doesn’t matter as long as the streets have been cleared. The purpose of the summonses shouldn’t be to raise revenue as is presently the case. It should only be a side benefit. The reason for the ticket should be the main benefit.

  9. BrooklynBus says:

    Trying to find a space to fit this in.

    Regarding the saving of 40,000 minutes. First of all, I question the model that predicts an average 6-minute savings. I would have to see the data myself to make sure it accounts for the extra walking distances to and from the SBS stops. Second, it’s 20,000 not 40,000 because the average savings is for B44 SBS riders, not all B44 riders. Probably half or less than half the number of B44 riders will use the SBS. Don’t forget anyone going to New York Avenue will have a six minute longer walk from Rogers to New York Avenue, canceling out any time savings. In fact, if they were former Limited riders and will be switching to the local, they will even lose time. Has that number been figured into the six minute average time savings? I highly doubt it. All the statistics will be skewed to make this seem like a success. Increased driving time will not even be considered.

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  1. […] Drivers, who seem to carry more political weight than the average transit-riding New Yorker, complain about select buses for the same reasons they do about bike lanes: they take away parking spots and make for narrower […]

  2. […] Drivers, who seem to carry more political weight than the average transit-riding New Yorker, complain about select buses for the same reasons they do about bike lanes: they take away parking spots and make for narrower […]

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