For a little while now, the Department of Transportation has considered installing Select Bus Service along Woodhaven Boulevard, an initiative to reduce travel time by creating dedicated bus lanes. But over the weekend the Daily News reported that the DOT is also considering a Bus Rapid Transit route, a bus-only lane separated from traffic by landscaped medians or other barriers. While BRT corridors exist in cities like LA and San Francisco, it has not yet been implemented in New York. (Select Bus Service may provide “dedicated” bus lanes, but they are unprotected, meaning that cars and trucks often drive in.) The DOT hopes to present a conceptual plan for the corridor, which stretches from Roosevelt Avenue all the way to the Rockaways, by the end of the year. The whole process would take four years total.
Second Avenue Sagas has this to say about the news: “This is certainly optimistic news for anyone who’s been hoping for better bus service. Woodhaven is a key artery with very high bus ridership figures, and reallocating street space would benefit the many in this instance. New Yorkers could finally see that real BRT can happen here, and such a move could set the stage for future bus lanes.” There’s also skepticism, though, as the plan would require the approval from a number of community boards and is asking to completely take away a lane or two of traffic. As Second Avenue Sagas points out, we are still a year or two away from the upcoming battles.
Calling all Queens residents who care about street safety and public transportation! There are two very interesting meetings regarding such on the calendar tonight. The first is a Vision Zero Town Hall, scheduled tonight from 6 pm to 8 pm at LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Avenue. The public is invited to share their concerns, ideas and feedback on the city’s Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths, particularly in Queens. (Thoughts on how to improve the Boulevard of Death? Bring those to the meeting.)
Secondly, the MTA and the DOT are holding a community workshop on how to improve bus service in the borough. NY1 reports that the MTA is particularly looking at improvements for Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, which serve more than 31,000 riders daily on local routes and nearly 3,000 riders on express lines. The city is seriously considering Select Bus Service for Woodhaven Boulevard from Roosevelt Avenue to the Rockaways, the first SBS route for Queens. If you’re interested in attending, the meeting begins at 6 pm tonight at JHS 210, the Elizabeth Blackwell School, in Jamaica.
The Department of Transportation reached out to community leaders from Community Boards 5, 6, 9 and 10 about implementing Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard, reports the Forum Newsgroup. As the Forum says, “It was a positive discussion focused on safer streets, cleaner air, better quality of life and better traffic flow that will soon be opened up to the public.” Through SBS, the city hopes it can increase the speed of bus service by at least 15 percent and boost ridership as much as 10 percent. According to earlier reports, construction on SBS could start as soon as January 2015.
The DOT plans to hold a larger public meeting in April for more input on ways to improve bus service and the pedestrian use of Woodhaven Boulevard. The city has tried to address congestion on Woodhaven since 2009; so far the DOT installed a curb extension on the southern part of the boulevard and widened some medians. The thoroughfare is the site of 293 total crashes since February 2012.
Photo via Wikipedia
The folks at the QueensWay share some great news in regards to public transportation options in Queens. According to the New York State DOT Federal Fiscal Year 2014-18 Transportation Improvement Program report [PDF], the city is now in the planning process to install Select Bus Service along Woodhaven Boulevard. SBS, first implemented in New York in 2008, reduces travel time by creating dedicated bus lanes. Other features include high-visibility stations (pictured), new vehicles and a faster fare collection system. The report shows that the city laid out these plans over a five year period, with costs projected between $9,500,000 and $15,500,000. The preliminary design began in spring 2013 and detailed design will begin this spring. Construction could start as soon as January 2015.
The Pratt Center for Community Development, in a study released last year, picked eight different corridors in New York that would particularly benefit from SBS — of the eight corridors listed, Woodhaven Boulevard is tied for first.
Bus Rapid Transit on Woodhaven Blvd [Friends of the Queensway]
Photo via Wikipedia
The Select Bus Service on Nostrand and Rogers Avenues between Bed Stuy and Sheepshead Bay starts November 17, according to an email from the MTA and DOT. When SBS service begins, the B44 Limited will become the B44 SBS, and the B44 local will continue service at all its current stops. For the first two weeks after SBS launches, the DOT will have Customer Ambassadors at every SBS station to explain the service and the new prepayment system. The DOT recently finished painting the bus lanes and installing the new wayfinding signs and prepayment kiosks throughout Crown Heights and Prospect Heights.
The SBS project team is holding a meeting next Thursday, November 7, at 6:30 pm to present all the planned and finished improvements, which include dedicated bus lanes, enhanced SBS stations, fare prepayment, end-to-end limited stops, signal optimization, transit signal priority, street resurfacing, pedestrian wayfinding signs, truck delivery windows, and new high-capacity, low-floor, three-door articulated buses. The meeting will take place in the Bedford Lounge on the second floor of the Brooklyn College Student Center at Campus Road and East 27th Street.
You can learn more about the SBS project here on its nyc.gov page.
Select Bus Service Lanes Are Being Painted on Nostrand Avenue [Brownstoner]
The Nostrand Avenue Reconstruction Takes Off [Brownstoner]