Select Bus Service and other changes on Nostrand Jan 2013+
  • The Hello Living building is now as tall as it is going to go, and they will soon close the envelope:

    Construction seems to be well under way at Hello Living’s tenth development, 834 Sterling Place, between Nostrand and Rogers in Crown Heights. Developer Eli Karp started building the six-story, 46-unit development at the end of last year, and now all six stories are up. New building permits from the DOB say the building will have 40,585 square feet of residential space, 23 parking spaces behind the building, and 29 bike racks inside.

  • I'm impressed! It seems most people are staying out of the SBS and since the lane got painted and I swear less people are double parking! Contrast this to Rogers where people are using the sbs lane for on street parking. I suspect that will stop once the buses start rolling.

  • As a result of there being several SBS routes around the city, the SBS lanes are not as foreign as they once were to drivers.

    This familiarity may save them some fines, and create relatively smooth service.

  • I suspected that to be the underlying cause of the lack of ingressions into the lane. However, I expected them to be used as parking until the very last second. As a result I think traffic is flowing at a better rate on Nostrand inspite of the construction.

  • Lanes are being painted today....

    photo: Brownstoner


  • The space I mentioned earlier in this thread, 722 Nostrand next to Secrets, is looking for a commercial tenant. Photo here is before reno.

  • Maybe during reno actually.

  • whynot_31 said:

    The Hello Living building is now as tall as it is going to go, and they will soon close the envelope:

    Construction seems to be well under way at Hello Living’s tenth development, 834 Sterling Place, between Nostrand and Rogers in Crown Heights. Developer Eli Karp started building the six-story, 46-unit development at the end of last year, and now all six stories are up. New building permits from the DOB say the building will have 40,585 square feet of residential space, 23 parking spaces behind the building, and 29 bike racks inside.

    Today, I found a rendering of what it is supposed to look like when complete:

    834 Sterling Place

    A new ground-up construction of a 5 story Steel & Concrete on Metal Deck building with 46 luxury unit Condominiums with parking lot located at Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

    Location: 834 Sterling Place. Brooklyn, NY

    Total SQ. FT. 60,305

    Structure: Steel & Concrete on metal deck

    Year of Completion: 2014

    Project Summary: 6-stories 60,000 sq. ft 43 units Condo Building

    Company name/Owner: HelloHousing

    Note, the design may have changed since this rendering was created.

  • Are there certain hours that cars are allowed in this painted bus lane after Nov 17? I would assume you're allowed to hop in to make a right hand turn down the street. Sorry, this is the first time I'll actually be interacting with one of these SBS lanes.

  • I believe cars are barred from traveling in the SBS lane during peak hours (something like 7AM - 10 AM, and 4PM - 7PM).

    During these hours, cars are only allowed in the lane to make right turns and this is enforced via cameras mounted on poles as well as on buses.

    If this opinion article is to be believed, the DOT had some problems implementing the cameras and tickets enforcement when it recently rolled out on Staten Island:

  • Drove down Nostrand on 11/1 a little after 5pm. Went from EP all the way down to Gerritsen Ave. Most of the limited buses were almost empty and went one right after another. Did nothing but clog up traffic. Mix that in with the regular buses and it took me about 45 minutes to go the six or so miles. Was a terrible experience. Hopefully this will be ironed out in the near future.

  • The MTA clearly hopes you will choose a different route.

  • The MTA can't actually say it, but this is basically a process of buses taking over the route.

    Car drivers will learn that they are best off avoiding Nostrand and Bedford.

  • Well, the way to a better drive for the buses as well as the cars is more PEAs. The double parking really bottlenecks Nostrand and those cars have to be gotten rid of.

  • The cameras mounted on buses and on poles will fine people who double park in the bus lane.

    As noted in the Staten Island article above, the DOT is not shy.

  • Was walking down Nostrand on the way home and saw several buses NOT in the bus lane but in the regular traffic lanes. The bus lane was unobstructed and empty. All of the buses were regular B44s not Limited or SBS buses. Does anyone know if they aren't supposed to use the lane as well? I'm all confused now as to how this is actually supposed to work.

  • whynot_31 said:

    The MTA clearly hopes you will choose a different route.

    Step 1: Use both lanes.

    Step 2: Don't get caught laughing at drivers who write to complain.

  • Nov 16

    Today, I saw DOT putting up the cameras which will catch people in the lane.

    Until they get the hang of the new regulations, lots of violations are going to be issued to drivers.

    Signs are also around that state when a non-bus can travel in the lane.

  • Do the blue squares on this map represent the express bus stops? Any idea how long it would take to get from, say, the St. Johns stop to the Lee/Taylor stop?

  • Yes, those are the stations where one pre-pays before boarding the bus.

    Re: Time. The answer depends on how successful they are at ridding the route and lane of nonbuses.

  • Seems to me the buses are flowing pretty smoothly on Nostrand and Rogers. I've only seen three instances of cars double parked in the bus lane. Two were gypsy/livery cabs and one was a FedEx delivery truck. Those cameras mounted on the front are taking photos so tickets can be mailed right?

  • Part of the problem is cars double parking on the other side of Nostrand Ave from the bus lane. In several areas, those lanes are reserved for car through traffic during peak hours and people are not obliging. This is causing back ups and car traffic is narrowed down to one lane to get around the offenders.

    The problem is that the buses will not capture these offenders. I wonder if there are street mounted cameras for this?

  • there are guns for that!

  • My favorite "screwing up SBS" story thus far:

    A couple of days ago, I was coming home from work around 7pm. I had just crossed Eastern Parkway and was just passing the bank when from behind me I hear tires screeching and lots of horn honking. I turn around and a car has made a LEFT off EP onto Nostrand headed the wrong way. It drove through the intersection of the service lane without stopping and headed down towards Lincoln. Fortunately, that block of Nostrand was completely empty as all the traffic was stopped at the light at Lincoln. The driver drove almost to the next intersection where he made a leisurely U-turn then pulled over to the curb into one of the two driving lanes. He stopped there while he and the girl in the car consulted both their phones and GPS for directions. Fortunately, drivers that had seen this madness opted to simply drive around them rather that drive up behind them and honk. Somehow, I don't think the camera on the bus that was stopped at the light picked this up either as the driver avoided the SBS lane!

  • That driver seems to have problems distinct from SBS.

    Another confusing part is that they haven't yet repaved the stretch of Nostrand that runs from Lafyette to Atlantic, so cars are still allowed to be in the the not-yet Brown lane on this stretch, and the service is not yet "quick".

    Seems like DOT didn't get their part done in time.

  • I'm of the belief that a good deal of the slowness of that particular line was the horrible condition of Nostrand from Lee to Fulton. DOT hadn't repaved that stretch in over twenty years and it was rutted, pockmarked, and full of all kinds of bumps, twists, and obstacles to maneuver around. I think simply repaving that will take 10-12 minutes off of any trip.

  • Yes, the poor condition of the road certainly slowed the Limited B44.

    In a few months, the road will be nicely paved, and riders will be fully acclimated to fewer stops, paying before they board, and boarding via all the doors.

    Then, the MTA will proudly proclaim that SBS is much faster than the previous Limited.

    [It will be just like when the Board of Ed compared the performance of the "teachers" at PS 9 (located on Underhill) in 2003 to the teachers in 2013; The DOE pointed to huge success, without listing factors that lay behind it.]

    And, I will just smile and think to myself "that would have been hard to mess up".

    photo: Steven Miller

  • Our neighbors at the other end of the line have weighed in with their view of SBS B44 service and the impact of the changes,

  • Those who would like the SBS to have as many stops as the Limited, yet be as quick, are my personal favorite.

    "You don't have to keep all of the stops the Limited had, just mine"

  • At the end of the three article arc, the author comes up with his conclusion about the SBS B44


    You are probably thinking, “Why has Allan chosen to print only the bad reviews and none of the good ones?” The reason is that there weren’t any good ones to find, other than from the bus driver who believes all the problems will be worked out in the end. Yes, some problems will be worked out, but not all. Some will like SBS and others will hate it. The MTA will declare it a huge success with some initial growing pains. The MTA will never do a fair analysis. They will continue to brag how much quicker the SBS is, ignoring extra walk times and riders who are forced to use SBS against their will, because of poor, unreliable and overcrowded locals with 25- to 40-minute waits becoming the norm.

  • I think Allan and I could get along.

    He seems to believe that his definition of "neighborhood" is important, while the MTA seems to believe that getting his neighborhood quickly to the subway (aka Manhattan) is important.

    ...this distinction is crucial to understanding why SBS now exists, and wasn't about pleasing those writing to him.

    He seems to understand that; he just doesn't like it.

  • I think is yet another example of the MTA not having any relationship with the community or ridership. Many of the people using the bus are local inter-borough users such as school children who don't need to get on trains. So its far more important that intersections near schools or major bus routes are included on SBS instead of train connections. Folks at the MTA need to ride the bus before they start making changes. Allen quotes one person who hypothesized that the service was poorly thought out but the MTA opted to move forward anyway to get the associated federal funding for the project.

  • Developers are often accused of the same thing, and respond that they are building "as of right".

    This means that they do not have to involve the public and community boards in approving their plans; they only need to comply with established laws and regulations.

    The smart ones involve the public as little as possible, because they are not the primary constituents.

    The MTA is wise to act in a similar manner.

    In addition to being driven by federal funding, this project also expands the area which one can reach Manhattan in less than 50 min, and is thus driven by potential tax revenue.

    Remember, no one gets a raise by keeping things the same. You get a "raise" by being the teacher or principal at P.S. 9 who "turns it around".

    This isn't about the current children riders.

  • Dec 4

    Now that SBS has been up and running for a few weeks, the MTA is ready to start issuing $100 fines to people who try to claim that they thought the new bus service was "free" because there was no place to insert their metrocard near the front of the bus and/or they could board via any door.

  • I noticed this week that they also changed the recorded announcement on the 4 train to add "Transfer here for Select Bus Service" when it stops at Nostrand.

  • The G train doesn't haven't recorded announcements, but I was able to find and follow the "this way to SBS" signs at the Bedford Nostrand stop quite easily.

  • I have been on a couple of Manhattan SBS buses where security personnel boarded and checked everyone's bus receipts, as proof that they paid. They were quite no-nonsense and treat it very seriously. Pretty awkward for people digging around in their pockets (pretending?) to look for a scrap of people.

  • It's been a while since I was on a bus and some people in uniform came on board asking to see everybody's papers :-)

  • I do hope someone publishes an article on how much in fines has been collected from skofflaw passengers and cars.

    Sonja of DNAinfo-

    This is a request. Thanks.

  • I don't think much has been collected from drivers. When I walk home at night I often see cars parked or stopped in the curbside lane between 6 & 7pm, especially in front of the supermarkets. I never see cops coming through to move people along, and drivers have already figured out that so long as there isn't a bus in sight, the bus lane is open game since the cameras are on the buses and not mounted street side.

    But I fully expect to see a story in a couple of weeks about ten people pulling some guy off of an empty SBS for not having paid his $2.50.

  • I suspect lane enforcement will increase once the section near Fulton is paved and painted.

  • Another good summary from our friends at Sheepshead Bites:

    You can read the Daily News for MTA propaganda, which calls the SBS “magic buses” and only shows the benefits of SBS, or you can learn the real story on Sheepshead Bites. Mr. Orosz’s comment “that bus riders can spend as much as 25 percent of their ride time waiting for passengers to get on and off the bus” is really disingenuous, since it implies a much greater time savings than actually will occur. (They are predicting a 20 percent travel time-savings.) Buses will still have to stop for passengers to get on and off, and will still have to deal with traffic and traffic signals. The wait for a bus will not disappear, and in some cases will increase, as will the walking distance to and from the bus. The maximum projected time-savings would be 15 minutes if SBS buses traveled the entire length of the route, which we now learn they will not do. Williamsburg SBS buses will terminate at Avenue U and Flushing Avenue buses will go to Knapp Street. The average savings for the typical passenger is only six minutes, which may or may not include the extra walking distance to SBS stops.

    You cannot trust an agency, which reveals only benefits, does not reply to community concerns, and delays publishing schedules until the very last minute. This prevents riders from seeing the true effects of the changes beforehand.

  • By its very nature, a large change such as SBS causes winners and losers.

    Losers include riders of the former B44 Limited who used to have a stop near them, and now spend more time walking to the new stop than they save getting on and riding the bus. Riders who "win" include those whose origination and destination is proximate to SBS stops.

    As mentioned "up thread", businesses along the routes will also be winners and losers. By choosing a location that is beside on of the new stops, Lula Bagel (Nostrand and Lincoln) clearly is winning. I suspect that this is not happenstance, and that the owner chose his location as a result of understanding the impact of then-soon-to-be-launched service.

  • Nostrand Ave Laundromat (Nostrand between Park and Sterling) has had some wood up covering the storefront. Looks like they're going through some renovations. Island Bubbles (on Rogers) did this over the summer and made the place look really nice. Since they've renovated I've been going to Island Bubbles over Nostrand Ave Laundromat...

  • The MTA fare enforcement team was at St. Johns and Nostrand today. They are the people with the reflective lettering on their jackets.

    Remember to save your receipt!

  • As discussed above, a good way to lay the foundation for success is to show how bad things were before you fixed them.Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce the prior B44 has been named one of the city's slowest lines: what line isn't going to be awarded this next year...
  • Yesterday morning I had to meet up with some folks in Bed-Stuy. I walked there, but decided to hop the 44 back as the sidewalks were treacherous. I was at Lafayette Avenue when I saw a bus 2 blocks away. I waited only to have the bus fly past us as it was a Select Bus. Rather than stand out in the snow and rain, I decided to start walking. Walking down Nostrand I noticed most of the people waiting for the bus were either elderly or had small children, and had chosen to wait rather than walk. At Quincy Street, I looked up to see another bus coming. It was another Select. Continued walking. Reached Fulton Street and a third Select Bus passed me by. At Dean/Pacific a local bus finally caught up with me. By this time I had decided to stop at the grocery store on St. Marks and so I let the bus go. I estimated that it took me 20-25 minutes to walk from Lafayette to St Marks and all the selects that passed me by were almost empty, while the one local bus was pretty full. I was surprised that the MTA decided to allow the trains to all run local but continued to have express service on the selects when the streets were pretty icy and impassable.But this is progress, no?
  • Homeowner-You and the people you describe don't seem to be part of the demographic that this service is designed for.However, don't worry, only those riding SBS will be asked whether they like it.
  • The folks you describe will not likely be part of the satisfaction may poll only those who are entering, riding on, or exiting the bus.You know "customers".
  • I'd love to be a customer, if only a bus would come by to pick me up...
  • They do not seem to perceive the folks who are not "coming and going from the places they are picking up/dropping off" as part of their demographic.The MTA is in the best spot to be.
  • I think we may have exhausted the SBS topic, so I'd like to discuss other ways in which the neighborhood is changing.For example, this probably would not have happened just a few years ago:
    Is this what happens when you let Kenny Powers design your building's lobby?
    ...and probably won't happen a few years from now.
  • The MTA is only concerned with proving the "success" of their Select Bus Service. The SBS can run relatively quickly, but mostly it runs fairly empty. It's the same way with the SBS along 1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan. If you happen to need a LOCAL along these routes, you can wait a long long time. Once, standing in front of NYU medical center on 1st Ave, I waited a half hour for a local. Considering that there is no bench at this stop and that numerous people exiting NYU might be less than agile/strong, this is not all that considerate of the MTA. Still, they flout their wonderfully "improved" numbers ... as long as you want to go the way THEY prefer.Of course, the DOT has cooperated by bumping out sidewalks and painting the bus lanes. (Boy, Sadik-Kahn LOVES painted lanes!).There was no need to bump out the sidewalk; along 34th St in Manhattan, as well as along the sections of 1st and 2nd Avenues, they have the same ticket machines with no bum-out whatsoever. A total waste of money!!
  • Ways in which gentrification doesn't make life better:1) Transforming the lobby of your building from ""green and gross" with "chunks of drywall missing"" to "Psychedelic Freedom Spaceship and/or backcountry strip club"
  • No surprise, SBS has made it suck MORE to travel by car on Nostrand:
    Merchants and drivers say the traffic shift has caused major problems on Nostrand Avenue.
    Homeowner-The pattern is usually that the tide of young people is pretty quickly priced out, and the walls then reflect the preferences of parents of 10 year olds on track to go to a private college.Give it time.
  • Okay, French Chips (between bergen and Dean) has closed and has be replaced with Chop Chop grub shop. (?) . Great menu. open for 6 or 7 am to 10pm!! Check out the menu. Bagel place between Atlantic and pacific open. They provided the grub for the Friends of Brower Park executive committee group this morn. Deli on Bergen and Nostrand , across from CT Muffin, previously the starlight bar, then a lame deli, then a deli with too much smoking paraphernalia has closed down. Time for something good there.
  • So the Beauty World storefront currently seems to be occupied by an Income Tax Service group. Please, someone, tell me this is temporary while the landlord looks for more interesting tenants? Any updates on any of the other empty stores? Spring would be so exciting with a few new places to join Chop Chop Grub Shop and Nostrand Ave Bagel!
  • 565 Nostrand was also gutted and there's work going on there. Any thoughts?
  • 565 Nostrand is on the market, as per this ad that was updated yesterday:

    $2800 a month for 1800 sq ft....cheaper than many apartments in the area.
  • Returning to the SBS roll out...It seems the MTA does listen, to a degree:
    New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader, was joined by fellow elected officials to greet commuters and alert them that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") will install a new Select Bus Service (SBS) stop at Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue in both directions. This change comes in response to numerous complaints by residents of the Midwood, East Flatbush and Flatbush communities that when the MTA implemented SBS on the B44 Line in late November, it increased commuter times for those who utilized the service at this critical stop
  • The Income Tax place in Beauty World is, like a couple of other tax preparation places on Nostrand, a pop-up. They will all disappear around April 31st once tax season is over.
  • Back to the SBS (I suppose we should really have two different threads here) 
    the MTA is cracking heads and taking names. Time to start buying tickets? 

  • Not only that, but they have stepped up the towing on Nostrand between Atlantic and EP. I've seen at least one car taken every morning this week! Nothing like DOT increasing those revenue streams for the general fund.
  • Laura, I've made the title of the thread broader

    "Changes on Nostrand Jan 2013+"

    has become

    "Select Bus Service and other changes on Nostrand Jan 2013+"
  • re: "Back to the SBS (I suppose we should really have two different threads here) 
    the MTA is cracking heads and taking names. Time to start buying tickets? "

    I think at the Junction is a prime place to do enforcement. 

    I always keep my ticket. I can see how some people may try to cheat the system and try to ride for free.

    A few times I've seen some people get on and ask about how to pay their fare. Once the bus driver explains that no fares are accepted on the bus, they give up and get off. At least they're honest about it. If they were to just walk on and didn't ask any questions, they might have gotten away with a free ride (unless cops were to do a spot check). :)

    I love the B44 SBS. That route makes coming back from the Target at the Junction faster than using the B41 or the 2 train. I dream of being able to have B41 SBS, but I realize that's just a pipe dream due to logistics.
  • Coming soon to our stretch of Nostrand,  "Bus time signs" that tell you how far the next bus is away, and whether it will be a SBS or a local


  • I got all excited...until I found out that 
    1. this particular sign is a prototype. 
    2. There is no set timetable as to when more will be rolled out.
    This article did make an interesting side note:
    "(Sidenote: The parking situation on this stretch of Nostrand and Rogers is literally a free-for-all. No meters, double-parking everywhere, drivers bypassing the stopped vehicles by violating the bus lane. To make SBS work as well as it should here, there needs to be a price on the curb.)"
  • Yes, they added the "update" after I posted.    

    Yes, in order for the folks at MTA to be able to say this is faster, they have to get cooperation from DOT and NYPD.

    Think it will happen?     It has on Fordham road...
  • Yesterday I saw the new bus shelters being installed on Nostrand and St. John's. Looking forward to the new trees, which I suppose will be planted in the springtime.
  • It looks as if DOT and DEP will finish all the sewer work they are doing near Nostrand and Fulton soon, which will then allow MTA to finally conquer that part of the route.

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