Home Brooklyn Map: FASTRACK hits the edges of Brooklyn

Map: FASTRACK hits the edges of Brooklyn

by Benjamin Kabak

With the three-day weekend and a quick jaunt down to Philadelphia on my agenda, I didn’t have a chance to post this ahead of time, but as FASTRACK continues for four nights, news about this week’s treatment is still timely. For the first time in its short history, FASTRACK is descending upon a part of the subway system not too close to its neighboring lines. This week’s work focuses on the 2 train’s Nostrand Ave. line from Franklin Ave. to Flatbush Ave.

The details: From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night this week, there will be no 2 trains south of Franklin St. The 2 is heading to Utica Ave., and the B44 Limited is being tasked with picking up the slack. Service on the 3 train will end early, and the fare-free buses will make limited stops from the Nostrand Ave. subway stop to Flatbush Ave. The 4 train is running local from Borough Hall to New Lots Ave.

This FASTRACK tests a basic assumption of the program. As the MTA says, “These FASTRACK efforts have been designed around the careful determination that there is adequate alternate means of transportation, including enhanced services along some bus lines during work periods.” Here, the MTA is running some extra buses and urges riders to consider Q train service. Unfortunately, corresponding stations on the Q’s Brighton Line are between 0.8 miles and 1 mile away from the 2 train’s Nostrand Ave. line. This is, so far, the largest distance between a FASTRACK’d line and the nearest active line.

Ultimately, this problem of adequate service could have been solved ahead of time had the MTA and NYC DOT managed to implement Select Bus Service along the B44 in less than four years, but you know how that goes. If anyone out there is experiencing significant problems due to this FASTRACK, I’d love to hear from you. Next week, we get the BMT Broadway line’s first FASTRACK.

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SomeGuy32 January 22, 2013 - 1:04 pm

This is overnight service – the limited buses will move just fine.

Bolwerk January 22, 2013 - 6:12 pm

Perhaps, but only if late night ridership is really low on this part of the subway. SBS-style buses with no fare collection and limited stop service have never been able to substitute for the L when it goes out between Lorimer and Myrtle.

Someone January 22, 2013 - 1:16 pm

Next up is the Broadway (NQR) line.

APJH January 22, 2013 - 1:32 pm

It’s Franklin AVENUE, not Franklin St.

Michael K January 22, 2013 - 3:02 pm

Theholdup with bringing SBS to Nostrand was/is getting dedicated bus lanes in a street without removing parking or banning left turns –
the layout has 6 lanes, 3 each direction…
1 North/Southbound Parking
1 North/Southbound Thru/Right Turns
1 North/Southbound Thru/Left Turns

With effective SBS, there would with be 1 SBS / 2 travel lanes with no parking


1 Parking Lane
1 SBS Lane
1 Unrestricted travel lane (accommodating both Thru/right/left turn movements)

The simulation run in Paramics showed so many left turns that every block would be held up by cars waiting to make left turns that they were left with a LOS F delay.

The only way to rectify the problem is to remove street parking 50 feet from the corner and have the SBS or lanes shift to allow 11 feet for left turning bay (SBS was proposed in the center of Nostrand at one point)

Either way, it remains an engineering problem – something has to be taken away, either sidewalk space or 5-10 parking spots…this was presented to the local community board which drives along Nostrand all the time.

Flatbush Depot January 22, 2013 - 4:12 pm

you mean the part of Nostrand south of “X”, right?

Flatbush Depot January 22, 2013 - 4:31 pm

also this problem can be solved if they simply move some bus stops from the far side to the near side of the streets that cross Nostrand and have the non-left turn lanes curve towards the curb where the bus stop is (and then away from the curb again) as the lanes approach the nearside bus stop and intersection. this will create a left-turning bay. when a local bus is not in the bus stop, everybody can move through the area at roughly the same speed as they do now. speed decreases slightly since lanes curve.

I suggested to Veronica Bailey-Simmons (the B44 SBS outreach representative) at HSH Associates that the bus stops on Nostrand between “I” and “N” inclusive be moved from the far side of the cross streets to the near side since a lot of people make left turns on that part of Nostrand; she said she would tell the team working on the project about this suggestion

Michael K January 22, 2013 - 5:47 pm

Yes, I was referring to the problems we encountered when trying to place dedicated lanes south of the junction.

North of the junction, the holdup is mostly trying to mitigate the loss of a travel lane and not create LOS F for the single remaining travel lane, since there is a high volume of traffic there already… The analysis in Paramics has been tinkered with all year (2012) trying to see which cross street traffic patterns (ban right turns, make one ways, ect) to change.

Flatbush Depot January 22, 2013 - 6:39 pm

but why should that even matter if at the moment there is effectively one less lane than there should be on the unidirectional part of Nostrand most of the time since mad people double park?

Flatbush Depot January 22, 2013 - 7:32 pm

I do not know how much people will encroach on the bus lanes on Nostrand, Rogers, and Bedford Aves, but if everybody pays attention to the bus lane law (in my experience enforcement has not been zero-tolerance, but okie dokie) and somebody double parks in the single general traffic lane during midday hours, nobody will be able to move unless they encroach on the bus lane.

I was thinking about having physically separated bus lanes on these particular unidirectional roads by putting a narrow concrete barrier the height of the curb on the border between the bus lane and what is now the 24/7 general traffic lane. turn the 24/7 general traffic lane into a parking lane at all times except rush hours.

make the next lane over (the left curb lane) the 24/7 general traffic lane. now the new parking lane in the middle of the road will not have parking for about 10 to 20 feet at the approach to a cross street onto which you can turn right from these unidirectional roads. the 10 to 20 feet where no parking is allowed will be the right turn bay.

now during rush hours the parking lane in the middle of the road will be another general traffic lane, so I was thinking they could have a narrow concrete barrier the height of the curb and curved into the intersection (not too far so it does not interfere with traffic on cross streets when cross streets have the green signals) to make room for vehicles to make right turns onto cross streets from the general traffic lane adjacent to the bus lane.

this means that when a bus approaches a street onto which vehicles can turn right, the bus has to make a slight right to follow the curved barrier and then cut back to the left to stay on Nostrand/Rogers/Bedford. vehicles have to yield to each other if approaching the intersection simultaneously (obviously).

if clarification is needed or you want to know why I propose this please do not hesitate to ask

Michael K January 23, 2013 - 12:46 am

I agree, the bus lane should be physically divided, running in the current parking lane – with a concrete buffer between that and the righthand old traffic lane – now parking.

The right turn conflicts are an issue and will likely be mitigated in the same way they are currently on 2nd ave or 34th street.

BUT – there are some problems with a separated SBS lane:

1 – If it is not a 24/7 service, what happens during
2 – NYCDOT does not want to commit to a permanent pattern here and curb construction is a pretty long term recommendation

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 1:14 am

no no no I meant the bus lane would still be offset and that the parking lane that becomes a moving lane during rush hour would be in the middle of the road. right curb lane for parking 24/7, lane next to it for buses, then concrete strip separating bus lane from parking/rush hour moving lane for general traffic, then 24/7 moving lane for general traffic on the left curb:

right curb
parking/bus stops/bus bulbs where SBS stops are
general traffic rush hours, parking other times
general traffic 24/7
left curb

I want this pattern b/c this way a select bus does not have to wait for a local to service a bus stop in order to move; the fact that the offset lane eliminates this issue makes me like it a lot. hopefully DOT puts the bulbs in like it said it would

ok. nights and weekends general traffic can use the lane too I suppose. tho I was honestly thinking of making it more ‘official’, giving the SBS its ‘official’ un-shared ROW like a rail line. well except overnight when there is no SBS. I suppose weekends is still ok for practical purposes. but again I wonder why and how the non-buses ‘need’ the 2 lanes on weekends (and other times that the bus lane is not supposed to be in effect) so much considering the fact that nobody respects parking regs at the moment which effectively makes most of unidirectional Nostrand one lane rather than 2

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 1:45 am

also my proposal was to have the concrete strip come into the intersection and curve just a bit, then it stops so as not to be in the way of traffic coming down the cross street, in order to create a right turn bay *before* the car making the right turn touches the bus lane, if we are talking about *rush hours*.

now the car in the right turn bay waits until the coast is clear (no buses coming down in the bus lane, no people crossing the street) and then makes the right turn. in order to make room for this right turn bay, the bus lane has to curve to the right, go thru the intersection, then come back to the left and go straight down the block again as the 2nd lane from the right.

now during *off hours* the right turn bay is in front of the cars parked in the middle of the road. actually there would be even more capacity to make right turns during off hours b/c at those times you would have both the right turn bay IFO the cars parked in the middle of the road *and* extra space created by the bus lane, which must always follow the curve of the concrete strip as it enters the intersection.

this proposal involves no construction other than strips of concrete and bus bulbs, the latter of which DOT said it would install on Nostrand/Rogers/Bedford

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 1:47 am

if it does not make sense please ask me to send a picture and then I will post my email address for you or anybody else who wants to see the pic

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 2:02 am

when I say 2nd lane from the right I mean the lane next to the parking lane that is next to the right curb. and I made it seem like my parking lane in the middle of the road was different from yours when saying it is in the middle of the road does not indicate that it is different.

I meant that my middle-of-the-road (MOTR) parking lane (which again is a rush hour moving lane) would be the 3rd lane from the right. I think you proposed that the 2nd lane from the right be the MOTR parking lane with the curbside bus lane. I propose that the MOTR parking lane be the 3rd lane from the right and that the bus lane be offset instead of curbside

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 2:32 am

the last thing is that a person pulling out of a parking space on the right curb can only turn right to get out of the bus lane after pulling out of the parking space

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 2:45 am

sorry. I know it seems like I am babbling forever but I missed something else.

they do not want permanent traffic patterns..really? what is the reason for this? why would they want to get ride of a raised strip of concrete that helps the bus lane? I heard they plan on tearing up Nostrand b/w Atlantic and Flatbush in the near future like they did north of Atlantic so they could do sewage work (I believe) and repave the road.

I am hoping MTA waits until DOT finishes with all the sewage work from Flushing to Flatbush, then hopefully the road gets repaved before SBS.

but again with the concrete strip. so they do not want to commit to a permanent pattern yet they plan on putting bus bulbs at the SBS stops? at the very least they should put the concrete strips wherever there are stores or any other venues that cause any significant amount of double parking on Nostrand. those things need to be everywhere b/w like Gates and Eastern Pkwy, then everywhere b/w Sullivan Pl and about Snyder Ave, then probably b/w Clarendon and Foster to keep people out the bus lane during rush hours when the MOTR parking lane becomes a travel lane

I made a total of six posts including this one after you wrote your latest post Michael K, in case you happened to have lost track

Michael K January 23, 2013 - 12:14 pm

I have been keeping track and I have to go out at the moment – However I think this is best continued via email – send me something to mklatsky@rbagroup.com

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 12:01 am

I hope my idea is feasible as it would force people not to stop/park in moving lanes unnecessarily due to the fact that it would be physically impossible for vehicles to circumvent them causing the issue to be brought to a head, unlike now when nobody does anything since the issue is never brought to a head since it is physically possible to circumvent errant vehicles

Someone January 23, 2013 - 7:35 am

Well, there’s another option- convert Nostrand Avenue to bus-only operation and reroute other vehicular traffic elsewhere.

Flatbush Depot January 23, 2013 - 3:21 pm

hard to do since mad people would be taking these circuitous routes all over the place and it could result in a lot of unforeseen traffic issues on other roads

MH January 22, 2013 - 3:21 pm

Well in the past when MTA did weekend/overnight work on this line, shuttle buses were provided frm Franklin to Flatbush to mitigate lack of other means of transportation in the area. But ain’t no one got time for that walking (or take a East-West bus) from say New York Ave all the way down past Flatbush (or Ocean) depending on where one lives to catch the Q.

Flatbush Depot January 22, 2013 - 4:32 pm

SBS would not have made a difference since no SBS line runs overnight

Michael K January 22, 2013 - 5:49 pm

It could be for FASTRACK.

Bolwerk January 22, 2013 - 6:13 pm

SBS is mainly just a service pattern. There is little special about it.

Someone January 22, 2013 - 7:49 pm

Well there’s always firsts.

Michael K January 23, 2013 - 12:47 am

The “SBS service pattern” could run special during FASTRACK times.


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