Select Bus Service: April 2015 Update

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Being that I have been following SBS in New York City for quite some time, I shall post another set of updates for those who have been following as I have.

Bx12 Pelham Parkway/Fordham Road

The eastbound main road of Pelham Parkway between White Plains Road and Stillwell Avenue looks a bit worn, but not something a fresh coat of paint can’t fix.  The westbound main road still has not been worked on.  The DOT says it’s coming soon.  Meanwhile, there has been some progress at Fordham Plaza; canopy construction above the Metro-North platform stairwells has begun and there was new platform construction done since the last time I stopped by over there.  The Mall at Bay Plaza is done and the Bx12 SBS buses are routed over there to better serve the new mall.  There hasn’t been any bus lane repainting yet, but that may be coming soon.  Also, instead of using the 1200-series Nova LFS artics, they are using 5300-series and 5700-5800-series artics, with all new wraps.  The 1200s have been re-assigned to local service.  You can now find them on any local bus line out of the Gun Hill Depot that runs artics (such as the Bx40/42-Tremont and Bx22-Castle Hill). As of this writing, the eastbound main road of Pelham Parkway between White Plains Road and Stillwell Avenue has been repaved and reconstructed with wooden guard rails to protect the overgrown tress from swerving cars.  The westbound main road has yet to be worked on, but should be soon.  There is also work going on at Bay Plaza (construction of a new mini-mall with a Macy’s) and at Fordham Plaza (redesign and construction, still on-going).  Bus lanes should be repainted at some point while the DOT figures out how they will do so on the concrete sections of Fordham Road (between University Avenue and Third Avenue) since they wear out the fastest.

M15 First/Second Avenues

Right now, we still have Second Avenue Subway construction that is making a mess between 101st Street and 65th Street, which should start winding down in the next year or so.  Also, we can add 79th Street to the list of completed bus bulbs on 1st Avenue.  86th Street and 96th Street are still in progress.

M34/M34A 34th Street Crosstown

The DOT is undertaking a major reconstruction of 34th Street which will give 34th Street its SBS treatments including bus bulbs, turnout lanes, parking on one side of the street, left-turn bays and bans, and other sidewalk treatments to finally speed up buses from river to river.  Bus bulbs and road reconfiguration have been completed from 11th Avenue to just east of 8th Avenue, with the exception of the bus stop on 34th Street at 8th Avenue due to ongoing exterior renovation work at the New Yorker Hotel.  There is work being done from 7th Avenue to 2nd Avenue related to the SBS projects and Water Tunnel No. 3, which is to be completed in another two years.

S79 Hylan Blvd/Richmond Avenue

Nothing really new to report since the last update.

Bx41 Webster Avenue

Not much work being done along this corridor, though some stops will have bus bulbs built.  The southbound stop at Tremont Avenue appears more like an SBS stop envisioned by the DOT, and some of the transit and street improvements envisioned have come along, making the transfer experience to and from the SBS and other lines safer.

B44 Nostrand/Rogers Avenues

The road work on Nostrand between DeKalb and Atlantic Avenue is finally done, which means a much smoother ride down Nostrand Avenue north of Atlantic.  The only thing is, between Flushing Avenue and Fulton Street, there is a solid white line that separates the bus lane from the general traffic lane, not the red-painted bus lane found south of Atlantic Avenue.  Nonetheless, the B44 local and SBS flow much more nicely and it seems that the problem of too many SBS buses and not enough locals has been reduced but not totally resolved.  There are still too many SBS buses running around, mostly crowded and making use of the capacity on the line, but for local riders, the smaller buses often get packed to a point where people actually wind up walking to an SBS stop and getting off at the closest stop to their destination, only to walk back several blocks.  On a good note, though, the southbound stop at Nostrand/Church has a wayfinding stanchion which has walking distance information, points of interest, and a countdown board which gives passengers real-time information on both the B44 SBS and B44 local buses, so that passengers can choose which service to ride ahead of time.  This is a pilot that, if successful will be deployed at all B44 SBS stops.

M60 125th Street/LaGuardia Airport

SBS on the M60 started Sunday, May 25, 2014.  New bus lanes were painted along 125th Street from Lenox Avenue to 2nd Avenue, causing chaos for buses and drivers alike.  The end result, however, is a 125th Street that flows easily for buses and remains a heavily-used cross street for traffic to the Triboro (RFK) Bridge.  By the end of June, there should be long-awaited, long-overdue bus lanes to be painted from Amsterdam Avenue to Lenox Avenue, partially thanks to city councilman Mark Levine, WeACT/Transit Riders Action Committee, Riders Alliance, and the results from bus lane implementation within Community Board 11’s portion of 125th Street.  As far as travel time, they have been reduced from over an hour from the West Side to the Airport to just under an hour overall.  the Triboro Bridge traffic and the LaGuardia Airport traffic will always be there, but everything else along the M60 route has made a slight improvement, better than nothing.  There are 18 NovaBUS LFS artics assigned to the M60 SBS with luggage racks and SBS branding, #5968-5986, but being that they are assigned to Michael J. Quill Depot in Midtown, just like the M34 and M34A SBS, some of their buses (#5841-5863) pop up on the M60.  Three buses formerly assigned to West Farms Depot (#5965-5967) have been added to the M60 SBS arsenal though not refitted with luggage racks…yet.

Q52/Q53 Woodhaven/Cross Bay Blvds

Quite a bit of activity since the last update.  The DOT have chosen to implement main road bus lanes along much of the Woodhaven/Cross Bay corridor north of Liberty Avenue and offset bus lanes south of Liberty Avenue.  It appears that Woodhaven SBS is top priority over any Rockaway Line plans due to driver and pedestrian safety urgency and years of applying piecemeal solutions for very little gain.  This will be a challenge because of interest groups showing slight opposition to the project, traffic lobbyists worried about decreased road capacity on this busy corridor, and because this will be MTA Bus Company’s first venture into Select bus Service which NYCT has had 6 years of experience with.  Recently, there have been a few workshops between the DOT and communities along the corridor to help the DOT design the SBS aspects of the corridor in sections so that every stop and area in between has safety elements as well as targeted bus lane treatments designed to make all buses down the corridor faster and more efficient.  The bus fan forums and blog websites have been lit up on the Internet about this issue since most groups would rather see train service along the Rockaway Beach Line than a $200 million SBS plan which would take at least a year to fully implement.  Why it would cost so much is beyond many people’s imagination but nevertheless a grim reality, which would mean that any train service hopes are all but realized   Another update coming soon…

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4 Responses to Select Bus Service: April 2015 Update

  1. Joane says:

    Do you know when the Pelham Bay/Stillwell ave stop will be on the Bx12 SBS route.Currently the local Bx12 stops there but it has a limited route.I commute to Hutchinson Metro Center and it’s not easy to get there. I read an old city report from maybe 2010 that it was in the works but I’m not sure when it will be reality. How can I petition to have done sooner than later.

    • C. Walton says:

      As of right now, I am pretty certain that Stillwell will not be an SBS stop in the forseeable future simply because there is insufficient ridership to warrant a stop there. Also an issue is whether the extra stop will add any additional running time to the schedule as the time from end to end should be around 48 minutes. I can imagine that the extra stop won’t really make it that much longer for the bus to travel the entire route, but the ridership is probably why only the locals will stop there. As far as petitioning for the stop, you can contact the DOT via the City of New York Bus Rapid Transit website, http://www.nyc.gov/brt. Alternately, you can try the MTA’s customer service feedback form on the MTA’s website, http://www.mta.info. You can also contact your elected official in your district or the community board that the bus stop is located in. You can even go to http://www.petition.org to create a petition and have people sign it, then give it to your elected officials or your local community board. I hope this helps.

    • yoel says:

      mta really needs to get the b41 select bus because it is a busy street

      • C. Walton says:

        In regards to the B41,
        Back in 2006, when BRT was first seriously discussed, I had been an advocate for Bus Rapid Transit in some form on Flatbush Avenue. I do, however, have concerns about the narrow width of Flatbush between Prospect park and Cortelyou Road, which would mean that buses that run through every other part of Flatbush Avenue will wind up merging with traffic in this narrow section. So, I don’t know if SBS would be right for Flatbush. But that’s just me…

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