Hate the bus lane on Nostrand? Get ready for SBS Utica
  • "A dedicated bus lane will be created this summer for the B46 along the mile of Utica Avenue between Church Avenue and Carroll Street, plus a two-block stretch between St. Johns Place and Eastern Parkway, the DOT said."

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140423/crown-heights/dedicated-bus-lane-coming-utica-avenue-ease-b46-commute


    ...I suspect that this is the beginning of a larger project.
  • Will they do away with all parking and stopping on Utica? The street has exactly 4 lanes, including the parking ones. That will certainly be wonderful for local businesses! Will they bump out the sidewalks as they've done on Nostrand and Rogers? That will make things even better.

    It's apparent that this DOT is being run by a woman who is even dumber than the ex-traffic Nazi Sadik-Khan.
  • Yes, I believe the street will be reconfigured to support SBS.

    I am interested in seeing how the Dollar Vans adapt. This is a very popular stop/stretch for them, and this will effectively allow them to be ticketed if they operate in the area.

  • morralkan,

    Over on Nostrand south of the parkway, they've got the same situation where the bus lane is along the curb. They make it work for businesses by having the bus lane in effect during rush hours, and then doing commercial loading hours in the bus lane during the middle of the day. At night time, if you have a car, you can park in it for free.
  • As people get tickets, they are getting the hang of the arrangement.
  • There's key difference with Nostrand: it's ONE-WAY. Utica is a two way street and there is no nearby, continuous, parallel street to Utica. I'm virtually sure that if you were to ask the shop owners on Nostrand for their honest opinion, they would uniformly hate these new lanes. Commercial loading hours are any time during the day. Do you expect that they have so much pull that small businesses can dictate to their suppliers when they can accept deliveries? A lot of the stores get a lot of their business from motorists making brief stops. When they run the risk of getting ticketed because there's no place to park, the motorists look elsewhere to shop. If he city and the DOT want to speed things up on Utica, they might consider first rebuilding the streets so that they are actually smooth. The southern section of Utica is like a pothole-filled roller coaster in many spots.You think that does not slow traffic?

    This "reconfiguring" is a big waste of money. We need fewer of these grand designs and more competent attention to the condition of  our city's roads. The Dollar vans are essential to the residents of East Flatbush and other southern neighborhoods, getting people back home far more quickly than even express buses can. And when all is said and done, the SBS buses will zip along, sort of, the DOT and the MTA will trumpet all sorts of glorious statistics, and the local buses will lumber along and anyone not living near or going to an SBS stop will still be taking a slow boat to China.
  • Not everyone sees the effects you describe as a problem.

  • This project is interesting; bring it!

    I would love for the DOT to try this with Flatbush Avenue and the B41. 
  • Since businesses are an important part of lively neighborhoods, making it difficult for businesses (except, of course, for the hipster-approved coffee houses and bars) to survive is a problem. 
  • The businesses along Fordham Road in the Bronx appear to be doing ok, and it has SBS.

    Not many hipsters there, either.

  • morralkan, people getting to their jobs is also important - especially in a neighborhood where most households don't own an auto and depend on transit. Faster and more reliable buses make a big difference.
  • morralkan said:

     A lot of the stores get a lot of their business from motorists making brief stops. When they run the risk of getting ticketed because there's no place to park, the motorists look elsewhere to shop. It doesn't seem to affect the businesses on Flatbush Avenue, and there are limited places to park (legally) there. I added the term legally because double-parking and people who sit in their vehicle while someone runs in really quickly is a constant problem on Flatbush especially between Empire Boulevard and the Junction. I don't think enough of those motorists are getting ticketed because they are not being deterred from doing it.  morralkan said:


    This "reconfiguring" is a big waste of money. We need fewer of these grand designs and more competent attention to the condition of  our city's roads. The Dollar vans are essential to the residents of East Flatbush and other southern neighborhoods, getting people back home far more quickly than even express buses can. And when all is said and done, the SBS buses will zip along, sort of, the DOT and the MTA will trumpet all sorts of glorious statistics, and the local buses will lumber along and anyone not living near or going to an SBS stop will still be taking a slow boat to China.


    The slowness of the buses probably contribute to the popularity of the dollar vans. If the buses (local and Limited) were actually to run on time, maybe there wouldn't be a need or a demand for the dollar vans. 

    I have an unlimited Metrocard. I'm inclined to shell out the additional cash to use a dollar van when I've already made the investment in an unlimited Metrocard....unless the bus is really late and I'm really desperate. Therefore, I'd rather see the buses operate faster and more efficiently. 

    I've utilized the B44 SBS. It seems to be what the Limited should have been but failed to be in terms of operating efficiently. Expanding SBS service is a good idea. I admit to have a slight bias because I live off what would be a stop on a Limited or SBS run. I do acknowledge that you have a point that service among the local buses seem to be really slow. 
  • One of the points I'm making is that the street surfaces are atrocious and this is one of the limiting factors when it comes to speed of any bus. The DOT and MTA should be pushing first for high quality roadbeds and paving to see what that effect will have. The bumped out corners only limit the speed at which the buses can run because it is harder to maneuver out of those spaces than it is from a normal bus stop. The MTA/DOT trumpets the speed of the SBS buses, but conveniently neglects to time the local buses and the (in)frequency with which they run. 
    One of the primary factors that slows down bus service is the fact that they are so overcrowded. It simply takes a lot longer to board and discharge passengers when a bus is chock full of people, even more so when passengers are elderly, infirm, or carrying packages. Perhaps the world along Nostrand Ave is vastly different, but when I got on the 34th St bus in Manhattan, it was not the dipping of Metro cards that took all the time, it was much more the crowding of people like sardines that made each stop an adventure. 

    By the way, whynot, have you been frequently taking the SBS on Fordham Road and doing your shopping there? What's the local service like there? Many people actually have to use the local. In any case, what do the Nostrand Ave. merchants actually think has been happening to their business lately?
  • This decision to implement SBS was done with the knowledge that many businesses and riders would be adversely affected.

    This isn't a democracy.

    PS. Fordham Road is nice, it moves a pretty low income crowd, pretty quickly. The businesses have adapted.
  • morralkan said:

    One of the points I'm making is that the street surfaces are atrocious and this is one of the limiting factors when it comes to speed of any bus. The DOT and MTA should be pushing first for high quality roadbeds and paving to see what that effect will have. The bumped out corners only limit the speed at which the buses can run because it is harder to maneuver out of those spaces than it is from a normal bus stop. The MTA/DOT trumpets the speed of the SBS buses, but conveniently neglects to time the local buses and the (in)frequency with which they run. 

    One of the primary factors that slows down bus service is the fact that they are so overcrowded. It simply takes a lot longer to board and discharge passengers when a bus is chock full of people, even more so when passengers are elderly, infirm, or carrying packages. Perhaps the world along Nostrand Ave is vastly different, but when I got on the 34th St bus in Manhattan, it was not the dipping of Metro cards that took all the time, it was much more the crowding of people like sardines that made each stop an adventure. 

    By the way, whynot, have you been frequently taking the SBS on Fordham Road and doing your shopping there? What's the local service like there? Many people actually have to use the local. In any case, what do the Nostrand Ave. merchants actually think has been happening to their business lately?


    That's why on an SBS you can enter at any door -- it isn't just about dipping a metro card, but if you can enter from the back door or middle door you've already spread people out -- instead of the bottle neck that always happens a few rows in from the front making the front half feel twice as crowded as the back half.  I am very excited about this project.
  • Moralkan, I'm with you and said the same thing about the B44 SBS when it was announced. Now that it is underway, I've seen 1) Great SBS service with multiple buses running on schedules similar to the trains (every 3-5 minutes during rush hour 15-20 minutes off hours) 2) horrible local bus service with locals never running more than every 7-10 minutes but routinely running 20-30 minutes apart; 3) People being pulled off the SBS, handcuffed and arrested for not having a receipt; 4) traffic delays by the inevitable truck deliveries that occur during rush hours 5) traffic delays on blocks with grocery stores as people illegally park in front of the store and cabs wait to take shoppers home and 6) road repairs necessary to speed up local bus service not completed before SBS was implemented.

    My complaint about SBS is that the design seeks to benefit those riders who use the bus to get to subway lines and to punish those going to other locations (like schools). And lest anyone think this is some sort of veiled rant against gentrification, the same complaints have been raised out in Sheepshead Bay at the opposite end of Nostrand by the locals.  
  • From what I understand, those who frequented Fordham Road went thru the same adjustment period when SBS first started there.

    It was very painful for a lot of people, then they either went away, stop complaining or adapted.

    ...we may never know which.     
  • I took the SBS for the first time from Rogers Ave and St Johns up to the Williamsburg bus depot. Granted, it was a Saturday around 4pm so we were not dealing with weekday rush hour traffic. But the ride was FAST. It was kind of like riding in a monorail. Getting home was similarly easy and fast.I am a big fan of the SBS service.

    We do need to step up the enforcement efforts against double parking, which particularly delays the local buses. The cops seem to be focusing their enforcement efforts on fare evaders, demonstrated in the "line of shame" of evaders caught and ticketed in front of the Lula Bagel every time I walk past.

    I am very cynical about efforts to improve local bus performance, though. Unless the MTA really increases the numbers of the local buses by like 30% or something, I don't really think they are ever going to be that efficient and punctual. The service that the local buses provide is fundamentally different from the SBS buses. The SBS is for moving commuters--students and working people--between transit hubs and major employment and shopping hubs. it is supposed to be like a subway. The local buses are for movement within neighborhoods or for people who prioritize the need the bus to get as close as possible to the destination. I think both systems should exist and there is room for both. I don't think that either bus system exists to punish the users of the other -- they are two totally different services for two totally different groups of constituents.
  • Yes, but they aren't being marketed as two different services, they are being marketed as providing faster service for riders on the line. The reality is a subset of riders get significantly faster service and the rest get shockingly slow and unreliable service, especially in the rain and snow when better service is needed. So, for example, every SBS stop has a nice cover so you can at least attempt to shield yourself from the rain. You will drown in the rain on exposed corners at most B44 stops.

    One service doesn't improve the other, and in fact it feels like less regular buses run with the new SBS bus service. This may be harded to tell on Rogers as the SBS is segregated, but is quite clear on Nostrand as one SBS then another blows past riders waiting for the slow B44 packed with pasengers to arrive.
  • It's that last part of your last sentence, homeowner, that is very significant. ["waiting for the slow B44 PACKED with passengers" emphasis added] My experience is that the SBS buses run frequently and often have far more capacity than is needed while the local buses are designed to be grossly UNDER capacity. After all, the MTA wants to demonstrate how wonderful their SBS service is while they have next to no interest in the insignificant schmucks riding the local. (most often older people with walkers, canes, etc)
    Sort of like the case of Sadik-Khan who was only concerned with picnic tables and lights under the pavement in Times Square, but who had no interest in actually maintaining and rebuilding the roadbed of normal streets, unless, of course, she could bump out sidewalks, build large, non-maintained weedbeds in the middle of the streets, etc.
  • DeBlasio has stated he hopes to implement 13 additional SBS routes during his first (?) term.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/04/25/trottenberg-nyc-should-expect-13-sbs-routes-in-four-years/

    I doubt he will be able to pull that off, but thought I would point out that it isn't just the DOT Comissioner and MTA that are pushing SBS.
  • Of course not, but those organizations are pushing hard for these SBS routes. Unfortunately, they are far less concerned with maintaining streets in good condition. Even if one bikes, riding over streets full of potholes and other impediments is not good for one's bike nor for one's butt. S-K often ad her DOT paint bike lanes over the crappiest of street surfaces and then declared "mission accomplished!"
  • Bikes are merely a distraction; very few people believe that they provide an effective option for moving this city.

    The public transportation advocates have appealed to bike riders merely because accomidating them helps make using a car more prohibitive, and they are such an easy group to motivate.

    ....you are right, any and every method that can be used to discourage the use of privately owned cars, will be.


  • So, for example, every SBS stop has a nice cover so you can at least attempt to shield yourself from the rain. 
    homeowner said:

    Not at the NB B44 SBS stop at the Junction. 

  • I noticed on Nostrand near Key Food there aren't any shelters or seating for the elderly taking the local bus but there is this fancy express stop. WTF
  • As I said, Dawndew, the DOT does not give a damn about the insignificant schmucks who have to ride the local buses. The elderly and mobility-impaired, especially, are unlikely to hoof it over to an SBS stop for the fancy waiting areas. 

    The fact remains that many people do need to use private cars: elderly and other people who are not easily mobile (ever try taking a parent with Alzheimer's on the subway?); people who must travel between neighborhoods not well-serviced by public transportation (and which never will be); people who must travel between work and home at late and unusual hours; people who actually use their car as part of their means of making a living and must carry tools or make multiple stops all day long(plumbers, electricians, etc); and parents with larger families who must take and pick up their children from a variety of places as well as shop for their families, among others. This does not even take into account all the trucks that bring all the good we all purchase on a daily basis. 

    Unfortunately, particularly the younger, hipster population only thinks of themselves and are convinced that they will remain fit and active well into their 90's and that they will simply "drive" their eventual children around on the back of their bikes. I'm sure thrilled that I never had to work in close proximity to a biker who rode 45 minutes to work in the heat of the summer!

     For people like Sadik-Khan, the use of a private vehicle is tantamount to moral decadence. So, it was of paramount importance to her to build dedicated bike lanes all over the city which, when weather and other contingencies are taken into account, will barely be used about 50% of the time.
  • Young single, healthy people who despise older people with families eventually become them.

    It is is the circle of life.

    The only question is "Will the city suffer when (and if) large numbers of families move to the 'burbs?"

    The answer seems to be, "lets wait and see".
  • whynot_31 said:

    Young single, healthy people who despise older people with families eventually become them.



    The elderly represent a disproportionate number of the people killed by car drivers. Protection of the elderly is a major motivation of the people who support complete streets.

    Whatever ulterior motives you and morralkan may ascribe to JSK, DeBlasio, etc., what they are advocating is supported by a large number of people (such as myself) that have no interest in anything but reducing the death and destruction caused by car drivers.

  • The majority on NYC residents have long wanted more control of NYC streets, and to make the streets less dominated by POVs. After all, most NYC residents do not own cars.

    We are told that Albany is in the way, and Albany is now being successfully cast as the demon. 

    It may work;  DeBlasio may be able to build on Bloomberg's successes.   He may be able to succeed in implementing East River Tolls, rolling out additional bike lanes and SBS routes.

    This summer, a child pedestrian will doubtlessly die, more studies will doubtlessly be released about how SBS is faster than local service, and more articles will be written about drivers and cars breaking the laws:

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140423/crown-heights/crown-heights-drivers-ticketed-up-88-percent-more-this-year-police-say

    These may be enough to give SBS and complete streets the final boost it needs.

    Only one thing is certain: The show is awesome.
  • Do we really need tolls on the East River crossings? That'd seem harder to implement than SBS routes. 

    Most New Yorkers may not own cars, but enough of them probably do. I hardly see any empty parking spots on the street. 
  • As you may suspect, many of the advocates for the tolls are not pursuing it for the revenue that the city will gain;   They are interested in people driving less.

    They are pursuing "complete streets", which trades space allocated for cars FOR bikes, pedestrians and SBS.



  • I own a car and use it fairly frequently to haul my family around the
    tri-state area and go food shopping and such, and I would not mind a
    nominal toll that would generate revenue for the city. I think that tolls on the East River crossings are a great idea. I think that to make it work, it would have to be a cashless system like EZPass, and the toll amount should be nominal -- like a $1 roundtrip toll cost or something like that. It would be amazing if the money raised from the tolling could be directed towards updating our public transit system or hurricane/flooding preparedness measures.
  • Crownheightster, a $1.00 toll tomorrow becomes a $3.00 toll six months later, and the next thing you know, it's $13.00.

    The city is constantly looking for additional revenue, and once a toll is in place, the camel's nose is under the tent, and soon, you're sharing the tent with the camel. As for the tolls subsidizing public transit or other desirable goals, the revenues are far more likely to go into the city's general revenue fund, to be used for police and sanitation workers' pensions.
  • Sorry, Mike, but you and your cohorts are not the slightest bit concerned with the safety of the elderly. That is your smokescreen to promote your hippy-dippy crusades against all motor vehicles in the city. By the way, many of those deaths are caused by trucks and buses. With what do you propose to replace THESE vehicles? Bicycle delivery?
  • There's got to be some other major first world cities with lower pedestrian fatality rates that also have their fair share of trucks and buses on the street. Can't we just copy their traffic policies and street designs and achieve the same results?

    We don't need to reinvent the wheel here, we just need to steal the best ideas and be willing to adapt.
  • morralkan said:

    Sorry, Mike, but you and your cohorts are not the slightest bit concerned with the safety of the elderly. That is your smokescreen to promote your hippy-dippy crusades against all motor vehicles in the city. By the way, many of those deaths are caused by trucks and buses. With what do you propose to replace THESE vehicles? Bicycle delivery?



    drones
  • grwd said:

    There's got to be some other major first world cities with lower pedestrian fatality rates that also have their fair share of trucks and buses on the street. Can't we just copy their traffic policies and street designs and achieve the same results?

    We don't need to reinvent the wheel here, we just need to steal the best ideas and be willing to adapt.



    NYC's SBS program closely resembles the Bus Rapid Transit programs and street designs in use in many dense, modern cities.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bus_rapid_transit_systems

    These cities have deliveries and "life".

    .
  • morralkan said:

    Sorry, Mike, but you and your cohorts are not the slightest bit concerned with the safety of the elderly. That is your smokescreen to promote your hippy-dippy crusades against all motor vehicles in the city. By the way, many of those deaths are caused by trucks and buses. With what do you propose to replace THESE vehicles? Bicycle delivery?



    Side guards. Lower speed limits on side streets, better-enforced speed limits on arterials streets. Better enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way in crosswalks. Smaller trucks. More driver training. Convert the parkways for trucks to get them off neighborhood streets. Restrictions on delivery hours for heavy trucks. Toll the East River bridges and cut the Verazzanno toll so trucks don't cut through Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan to get from LI to NJ without paying a toll. And so on.

    Trucks, busses, and cars are useful. But when they kill 300+ people a year in our city, maybe that's a sign we need to change the status quo.
  • I love people that push for smaller trucks. Smaller trucks = More trucks = more congestion = more pollution = greater possibilities for pedestrians to come into contact with a vehicle. The number of trucks in the city are a function of the amount of people in the city and the fact that historic lower polluting distribution methods (waterborne and close-in warehousing) have become obsolete as we build more waterfront housing and tear wearhouses down for housing and "high" commercial uses.

    Parkways can't be converted to truck use due to the height restrictions - unless you go to smaller trucks - which again means you need local distribution networks which NYC does not have.

    There are systemic supply chain and logistics issues in New York City. Those issues have been exacerbated by people who have advocated for the removal of key supply chain nodes (piers, warehouses, heavy freight rail lines) to replace them with non-supply chain uses (housing, commercial space, parks). Remember those lines for gas during Sandy? Well, expect more of those as we keep trucks from coming to the city.
  • Yes, as a general rule, whenever you reduce the size of a vehicle, you have to have more of the small vehicles.

    I would argue that we have already made deliveries via large trucks (tractor trailers) very expensive and tedious, to the degree that whenever I see them, I conclude the company paying for them could not transport the goods economically/feasibly via any other means. 
  • Whynot, the comparison of other cities that have BRT isn't exactly an apples to apples comparison. Out of the cities in North America that have BRT, only Toronto and Mexico City are even slightly comparable in terms of population with Toronto having almost the same population as Brooklyn, and Mexico City's being somewhat comparable to all of NYC. Neither of them has anything close to the same density of NYC which is what is really important when talking about pedestrian issues.

    When you actually take time to look under the hood, NYC actually shakes out favorably to Mexico City in terms of pedestrian safety.

    "Those brave souls who opt to take Mexico City by foot face some of the most perilous streets in the world. An average of 9.4 out of every 100,000 inhabitants die in car accidents per year here, according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. In 2006, 861 pedestrians died in car accidents.

    The figure contrasts sharply with other megacities, like London (1.9 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), New York (2.2), Singapore (2.8), Hong Kong (3.8) and Bogota (4.1). Only Cape Town, South Africa has a higher rate than Mexico City with some 19.4 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the institute."

    http://www.treehugger.com/cars/towards-a-more-pedestrian-friendly-mexico-city.html

    The NYT did some research showing that pedestrian deaths are distributed throughout the city with the exception of Staten Island where they are concentrated on the north end of the island. While they cited the same five issues for (high speeds, wide streets, turning cars, double parking and inexperienced drivers) they didn't note that as the city has gone into overdrive with "traffic calming" measures the number of pedestrians killed has actually INCREASED each year since 2011.
  • Yes, comparisons from one city to the next are never apples to apples.    I merely linked them to show that NYC isn't inventing these methods.

    While the introduction of BRT into NYC is being linked to Vision Zero, it precedes the present focus (hysteria?) over pedestrian and biker deaths.   As a result, I view BRT as being driven by federal funding, and a desire to expand NYC's "office class" neighborhoods.

    We've been discussing Vision Zero over here: 

    As the city becomes more dense, gains in population and biking increases, I expect ped and bike deaths to go up.


  • Surprisingly whynot_31, it's the opposite. When cycling rates increase, injury rates decline. The more pedestrians and cyclists on the streets, the more motorists expect them and adapt their behavior. 

    It's more dangerous for everyone when the roads are empty. If you look at pedestrian death rates across US cities, the rate is highest where density is lowest.

    Of course by sheer numbers there could be an increase, but I don't think so. NYCs population has grown since 1990 and pedestrian deaths have decreased to a third of the 1990 number. 
  • Yes, dense traffic is very good at reducing fatalities, because all modes of transportation are moving very slowly.

    The question is:   How much are "we" (?)  willing to sacrifice speed (particularly the speed of POVs and trucks) for safety?

    Queens is about to have a pretty big battle on the subject.    There, the DOT and MTA plan to introduce true BRT, as opposed to its wimpy little brother, SBS.

      
  • homeowner said:

    as the city has gone into overdrive with "traffic calming" measures the number of pedestrians killed has actually INCREASED each year since 2011.



    2 years is a statistically insignificant sample size. Traffic-calming measures also began several years before 2011.
  • This article states we had more injuries in 2013 than we had since 2008.


    Note, I think it would make the most sense if we agreed upon an acceptable number of deaths and then worked toward that number.     That number isn't zero.

    (However, if for some reason we had really low number of deaths in a given year, I don't think equipping the fronts of cars with spikes on the following year would be an ethical way to maintain the mean.)
  • @Homeowner -
    I wonder if S. Africa's and Mexico City's pedestrian death rate is related to their warm climate. My thought is that it causes people to walk long distances year round, whereas in NYC we tend to take enclosed/safe/warm forms of transportation in the winter months.
  • I think it starts with the density information (they have much greater density, and larger populations of people who cannot afford to own transportation) and then the numbers are exacerbated by the climate which encourages more pedestrians 
  • That makes sense.    

    What I find weird is this pro-public transportation site's appeal to people's desire for "community":

    There are lots of good reasons to ride public transportation;  "community" seems to be the most vague and weakest.
  • That's clearly written by someone whose never come into contact with the "community" on public transportation. Riding in small enclosed spaces with the mentally ill, the emotionally distressed, the intoxicated, loud stupid teens and people that are just damn dumb does a lot to cure the yearning for more time with our fellow man.
  • whynot_31 said:

    This article states we had more injuries in 2013 than we had since 2008.




    Do you know what the numbers for 2009-2012 were?  2013 may have been a statistical outlier.  Multiple years are needed to show a trend.

    And obviously these numbers alone don't make any case that the traffic-calming changes have led to the increase.  At best one could say they haven't been sufficient to lower the rate of deaths.

    And I do agree that zero probably isn't achievable or desirable given what it would take.  But there are a very large number of changes that can be made that would reduce deaths, greatly improve neighborhoods, the city's environment, finances, etc. that would cause no serious burden overall.
  • whynot_31 said:

    2013 may have been a statistical outlier.  



    Yeah,
    it's looking like that was the case.

    And like Vision Zero efforts are having a big impact:

    "The number of tickets written for drivers failing to yield has shot up by 115% since Jan. 1, compared with the same span last year — from 4,719 to 10,150, the NYPD said. The number of tickets for speeding are up 15% to 34,296 so far this year from 29,921. Arrests for DWI have increased by 6% from 3,955 to 4,197."
  • --->very large number of changes that can be made that would reduce deaths, greatly improve neighborhoods, the city's environment, finances, etc. that would cause no serious burden overall. <----


    It will be fun to see if DeBlasio has the power to pull it off.

    ....Despite the number of pedestrian fatalities that occurred during his administration, Bloomberg was quite successful.

    Bloomberg was wise enough to discuss his successes in terms of pedestrian plazas, and avoid discussions about whether a reduction in pedestrian deaths occurred, or buses were now quicker or more accessible. 

      
    Herald-Sq-Tableshttp://inhabitat.com/new-york-city-asks-residents-to-propose-more-pedestrian-walkways/

    ....meanwhile, DeBlasio, could preside over a period of increasing deaths AND get his butt kicked by Albany because they perceive this all as a charade to raise tolls.

    Likewise, I look forward to seeing how compliant the police will be with DeBlasio's wishes once their contract is signed.    Once the contract is signed, will "Vision Zero's" power over them be diminished?
  • The numbers of deaths by year 2008-13:

    2008-151
    2009-155
    2010-151
    2011-142
    2012-152
    2013-156

    Also, during this period I'm pretty sure overall traffic volume in NYC was decreasing (at least it appears that way from eyeballing the 2012 NYS Traffic Volume report). https://www.dot.ny.gov/divisions/engineering/technical-services/highway-data-services/traffic-data
  • DOT just announced the launch of SBS on 125th St.

    "Travel times expected to decrease by 20 Percent along the M60 route, connecting major job centers in Manhattan and Queens, including LaGuardia Airport
    Expansion marks city’s seventh SBS line, building on Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to expanding the improved service across the five boroughs"

    http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/dotpress/2014/05/m60-laguardia/
  • More info on the exact changes they'll be making on Utica

    Utica bus priority
  • As time goes on, I expect the DOT and MTA to regularly say they are working together.

    The speech will be "making it faster and safer for New Yorkers to get around".

    I expect them to say the pending improvements on Utica are a success, to justify SBS lanes along all of Utica.

    I am not opposed.
  • Well, I just want to know which DOT employee is anti-left turns. Seems they are systematically trying to get rid of them off every major street in Brooklyn. First Flatbush, then Atlantic, now Utica.

    Conspiracy by the right?????
  • It is going to be difficult to give us NJ Jug Handles, given how packed in we are.
  • NJ style jug-handles were mentioned at the CB8 discussion in the context that w/no left turns allowed, each vehicle would have to negotiate three (3) right turns, replete with stopping at lights, traffic congestion, and double-parking on E51st Street (the block east of Utica Ave.) to mimic a simple left turn. Or going up to the next 'legal' left turn; either option increase the difficulty of driving, gas consumption, and air pollution. With all this considered the planning parties still see this as progress. The SBS will be rammed through. As noted previously in this thread, while SBS buses make travel faster, seniors and infirm persons who can't walk the distance between express stops have noted wait times for a local bus as long as 40 minutes.
  • I can see why the DOT would have done that on Flatbush and Atlantic - to improve traffic flow. 
  • One can accomplish a left on Park Pl from Flatbush if one goes right on 7th ave, then left on Park, then waits for the light to cross Flatbush.

    Most taxi drivers don't know this "secret"

    I suspect that section of Flatbush will get SBS by 2017.
  • With all these restrictions and limitations on main streets, I really hope they start with a speed bump campaign on side streets.  All the local drivers are going to figure out routes which circumvent the jams and speed restrictions/enforcement causing increased traffic and speeders trying to make the lights on side streets where it is common for families, children, and the elderly to walk in perceived safety.  This has been bothering me for some time now.   http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/44257/process-to-request-a-speed-bump
  • See, that's the problem I see with all of this. Its taking primary streets, and reducing the amount of traffic on them causing additional traffic on secondary and tertiary streets. Blocks like Herkimer Street which see predominantly local traffic will now be used as primary streets for traffic looking to get from Atlantic into Crown Heights. From Utica, its going to make Crown Street, and President Street which are 100% residential streets the main streets for traffic needing to go west which can no longer turn onto Empire or Eastern Parkway. All this may make the bus on Utica move faster, but its not going to make life better for people living on those streets.

    I would think that you'd want to encourage slower movements on tertiary and secondary streets, and quicker movement and better flows on primary streets. But it seems as if DOT is undertaking the exact opposite tact.
  • @homeowner Couldn't have said it better myself.  I actually live on one of the "100% residential streets" you mentioned.  In addition to safety, the noise from all the traffic coming through impacts quality of life - more honking, cars with loud music, the sound of all the engines when vehicles are all bunched up waiting for the light, etc.  The closer you are to the corner, the worse it gets.  Summer is particularly bad.
  • DOT seems to believe that many trips are discretionary.

    IE if the arterial streets are made slower, drivers will forego the trip, not take other streets.

    It seems to imagine drivers as driving for leisure.
  • @whynot_31  Drivers, like anything else, will take the path of least resistance.  If you want to cause drivers to forego the trip, you need to address all routes.  Any local will tell you, as I'm sure you know, side streets are not necessarily slower, even prior to all these "improvements."  All the DOT is doing is moving the danger; swapping one problem for another, and in my opinion, a bigger one.
  • Yes, transportation is a system: One can not make changes to one part, without expecting the other parts to be effected.

    People might reduce driving privately owned vehicles if driving becomes really painful, but this process can be sped up by finding out why they presently drive.

    ...then, do things like create public transportation tailored to those needs.

    It is a difficult task: Cars have some inherent advantages over public transit.
  • @homeowner, When I read this I was glad to see them giving some attention to some of the improvements I think are getting short shrift in the overall safety discussion, such as pavement upgrades, traffic signage and marking upgrades, mid-block crossings because of the long distance between signals, and addressing insufficient pedestrian crossing time. Then I got to the bottom of the article and guess what else they want to do? Eliminate left turns, lol. http://kensingtonbk.com/transportation/ocean-parkway-safety-plans-include-pedestrians-islands-more-crossing-time
  • I haven't visited this thread in awhile, but I find the discussion interesting. whynot, southeast,  and homeowner have pointed out some major flaws with the DOT/MTA plans. This dynamic duo seems intent on declaring "success" even if that success is dubious, even if everything they do is wrong. For example, they tout the quicker travel times of the SBS buses while never mentioning the much longer travel and waiting times if one has to take the local bus along the same route. 

    About 18 months ago, DOT decided that Eastern Parkway needed right turn lanes (lanes which "disappeared" right after the corner) and also painted a lane-wide, yellow-striped no-man's-land down the middle of EP. Now, as a result, any given midday, I can stand on EP and see west-bound cars backed up from one corner  3/4 or the entire way to the next corner, waiting for the light to turn. The result: more pollution along EP (idling cars still emit exhaust); far more jaywalking on EP (why not? they've encouraged it and there's a nice wide space to stand in the middle of the street while waiting for a lull in traffic and anyway, you can easily walk between the backed up cars); and more cars now traveling on the parallel side streets (yeah, we really wanted more traffic in front of our houses). I can tell you that there is a LOT of traffic weekdays during morning rush hour on President St in front of my house.

    No left turns does not mean that people will suddenly decide to leave their cars at home or jump on a bicycle, skateboard, or scooter. It means more traffic on the adjacent residential blocks as people make 3 right turns to get where they want to go. On formerly quiet streets, where children and their parents could reasonably expect they were pretty safe (unlike Prospect Park W or EP), the likelihood of accidents increases. Deaths are bad, but being seriously maimed is not exactly a walk in the park either.

    DOT/MTA seems intent on reconfiguring streets with more and more concrete (e.g. bump-outs) under the assumption that no one will later want to spend the money to undo the damage this dynamic duo has wrought, not even when their theories have been proven wrong and misguided. De Blasio and Trottenberg (rah rah Visions Zero!) will never admit any mistakes just as their predecessors, Bloomberg and Sadik-Conehead, never did. All four seem to think they walk on water.
  • One other issue that isn't being addressed, by either the SBS or Vision Zero is that at the same time truck and car traffic is being pushed off main routes onto local streets, DOT isn't performing maintenance or regular pothole repair as it is, and pushing more cars and trucks onto these streets only exacerbates the situation. At the same time they are doing completely non-sensical "improvements" like the speed bumps on Park Place between Rogers and Nostrand. The street is in such bad condition, that traffic routinely moves as 5-10 mph as cars avoid sunken patches, protruding manholes, and holes in the asphalt. While there is a school on the block, the speed bumps are just a waste of money as traffic is already slow, and they will simply need to be ripped out and replaced whenever repavement or total collapse of the street occurs (whichever comes first).
  • I have noticed that the SBS lanes on Nostrand/Bedford doesn't seem to be getting a lot of compliance.

    Some cars are traveling behind the buses for several blocks.

  • There are less cruising cars along Nostrand with chatty drivers double parking to talk to freinds on sidewalk and traffic moves smoother for me. I used to avoid this Ave but not anymore.
  • I wonder if the SBS bus lanes on Utica will have that same effect.

    BTW, I suspect car drivers are willing to only follow the buses (not be in front of them).

    I think the buses only have ticket cameras mounted on the front, and car drivers are wise enough to realize this.
  • The DOT is most interested in painting the streets. For some reason, on the south side of EP, where part of that median is for bikes, DOT painted E-W and W-E arrows at the intersections. Considering that the bike traffic along this median is minimal, why did they think this was necessary? Even those "sharrows;" I have absolutely no idea what purpose they serve. To tell drivers that bikes may be found sharing the traffic lane? They have the right to share those lanes anyway. Just a waste of time, money, and limited (I'm assuming) DOT human resources. Those arrows wear out pretty quickly from the motor vehicle traffic using those same lanes. Of course, the DOT can trumpet a huge SUCCESS saying, "Look at how many more miles of bike lanes we've added!"

    I can't wait until deBlasio and Trottenberg are just a bad memory, sort of like indigestion after bad sushi.
  • I had to run an errand down Utica today.  The place is a zoo.  They are going to need some serious enforcement.  I saw, at least, 15 cars making illegal the turns.  The traffic was horrendous with double parked cars and trucks (in the future bus lane) most of the way.  There is going to be a steep learning curve; in particular, for all those livery cabs and dollar vans that spend most of their day on Utica. 
  • Nostrand Avenue is certainly less of a zoo than it once was.

    At the moment, I will not comment on whether that is better or worse for residents, but will point out that a clear bus lane took a massive ticketing blitz to accomplish.

    http://crownheights.info/nyc-news/448237/dot-agrees-to-relent-on-bus-lane-ticketing-blitz/#comments

    Apparently, the DOT is now telling drivers that most of those tickets don't need to be paid as a result of errors on their side.

    "According to City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, while it was clear that drivers who drove in the bus lanes deserved to be ticketed, problems arose when those $115 tickets arrived not days, but months later. Further compounding the problem, due to an error in the system, drivers were sometimes issued multiple tickets for every block they drove in the bus lanes."

    "Deutsch contacted both the DOT and the Department of Finance, who agreed to waive all tickets, except for the initial offense, issued between March 17th and July 25th on the B44 SBS route. Refunds will be issued to those who have already paid for multiple summonses."

    Nostrand wasn't the first SBS lane that DOT created. It seems each time a new lane is created, drivers and DOT repeat the same mistakes.

    It is as if they have never been to other parts of the city.
  • As a car-owning resident who walks on Nostrand every day, I definitely appreciate the new calm on Nostrand. I like being able to walk on the sidewalk and not have double or triple-parked lines of cars idling and mucking up the air quality and causing angry motorists to blow their car horns every 30 seconds.

    Although, some of the calm on Nostrand has to be because so many businesses have closed. New businesses, open!
  • As a car-owning resident ....



    Shhh... You shouldn't say that too loud... ;)
  • Yes, large number of vacant stores on "our stretch" of Nostrand certainly has contributed to its calmness.

    However, even outside of CH (in stretches where gentrification warehousing is not happening), the street is calmer.



  • @whynot_31, you and Duke need to take a walk up Nostrand into Bed-Stuy where the construction is occurring. It's like downtown Fallujah between the dust, the constant backup of cars through the portions that are one lane, and the need to constantly cross from one side of the street to the other to avoid the stretches where sidewalks have been closed or taken out completely to allow for the repairs. The only thing calm in that area is the cash registers of the stores affected by the construction.
  • The dog's name is Dude, not Duke.

    I attribute the mess by the G Train to the sewer repair work, not the SBS.

    I was actually thinking of the stretch of Nostrand south of EP.

  • I felt the need to establish that I was not opposed to cars. :)
  • Only a few posters on this board seem opposed to cars, others just want alternatives to be available.

    Long Island will soon join in on the fun: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/study-bellone-rapid-bus-plan-would-cost-78-million-1.8928856

    It should be interesting to watch there, because (unlike NYC) buses have long been thought of as the way poor people get around.

    ....can LI get its head around the idea that "worthy people" want to ride the bus, and should get to inconvenience cars due to the positive effects?

  • I don't think the idea of buses will really catch on with most people on Long Island. Unless there was a HUGE outlay of money to establish lots and lots of new bus routes, and to maintain them till the idea "caught on," people are going to stick to their cars. It's like expecting people in Bergen Beach or Hollis and Jamaica Estates to suddenly want to hit the buses. As I remember, they were recently cutting back bus service out on the island. People are not exactly lining up to wait a half hour for a us to come. The only person I know on the island who uses the buses doesn't drive because she is legally blind and goes around with a guide dog.

    As to Utica Avenue, it may be calmer now, but that is primarily because it's so crowded that cars and buses barely move. I'm not quite sure how that helps with pollution, but I'm sure some hipster can explain it to me.

    Finally, as to Nostrand, the stretch north of Atlantic is a true horror show. Even when they are done, those bumped out sidewalks will only make traffic worse. There's absolutely no reason or purpose to them, at least not a logical one. You have SBS buses all over Manhattan without a single bump-out. In the meantime, though, what normal person wants to open a business located where it is hard to get to? But Polly T (and Sadik-Khan before here) doesn't give a damn about that. 
  • Drove down Utica a couple times over the past week.  I like it (so far).
  • You drove down the area just north and south of EP ?
  • I drove south of President.
  • In addition to getting a SBS lane, Utica is going to become a Slow Zone.


    ...ticketing Dollar Vans is going to be like fishing in a barrel.


  • Seems like a zero sum game.  Before the SBS and related redesign, one couldn't drive more than 20mph (during daylight hours) due to all the triple parked cars and Dollar Vans being erratic.  Now, with the redesign, if one somehow gets the chance to move any faster than 25mph, nope; it is taken way.
  • southeast said:

     Now, with the redesign, if one somehow gets the chance to move any faster than 25mph, nope; it is taken way.



    Good deal.  More of that in this city, please.
  • I do wonder whether making Utica a Slow Zone before it becomes a SBS route will make the next transition easier: Buses only.

    Many cities have large swaths of their downtown designated for buses but not cars. [This can be seen in Downtown Brooklyn at the Fulton Mall].

    ...It would not surprise me if the areas around big intersections (such as EP and Utica) eventually received similar designations.
  • the removal of the parked cars LF on Rogers to accomodate the bus lane on the RT makes the sidewalks dangerous as cars travel very fast within  a foot of pedestrians(kids) waiting to cross. I have to get my daughter to step back all the time. Narrow sidewalks are not a good combination with this new system of bus lanes. will the DOT consider widening sidewalks if necessary? i think not till something happens..... Nostrand Ave is this way too when the southbound side is no parking: cars soar around near the curb.
  • That's DOT "progress" for you, Dawndew.

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