Southern Brooklyn

B4's Sheepshead Route Withers This Weekend

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Click here for the new Brooklyn bus map, in effect starting Sunday, June 27.

Where will the restructured B4 operate starting this Sunday? No one seems to know.

The B4 will no longer operate on Neptune Avenue, but instead will use Avenue Z. It will also now terminate at Coney Island Avenue at all times when it operates, except on Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. during rush hours, when it will continue to serve Plum Beach. (UPDATE 6/25/2010: We’re having trouble confirming the exact time the B4 will be running the Emmons Avenue/Shore Parkway route. The MTA’s webpage just says “rush hours.” Elsewhere on the site we read that means 6:15 a.m. to 9 a.m. / 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., but we’ve heard from others that the B4 will run between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. / 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

But even those in charge of placing signs around Coney Island Avenue appear to be confused where the bus is headed.

The new MTA map shows it operating eastbound along Avenue Z between Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue, and westbound along the Shore Parkway north service road between these points at all times. However, DOT posted B4 bus stop signs in both directions all along Avenue Z.

The question is what route will the B4 use westbound when it operates to Plumb Beach, Avenue Z or the Shore Parkway service road? Clearly it is more expensive, indirect and confusing to divert one block south during these times. However, if it operated westbound along Avenue Z between Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Parkway from Plumb Beach, it would be very confusing for passengers coming from and going to Coney Island Hospital because they would not know which bus stop to use during the times of the switchover in service occurring four times a day. That is the dilemma.

However, this whole mess could have been easily avoided if the buses terminated at Sheepshead Bay Station instead of Coney Island Avenue during hours it will not go to Plumb Beach. This would have been a much more logical choice because it would have maintained connections with the subway and the B49.

Terminating at Sheepshead Bay Station would not cost anymore since the six extra blocks to the Station balances out with the bus not having to divert to the Shore Parkway service road when terminating in Plum Beach as the MTA map shows. If it will use Avenue Z in both directions according to the DOT bus stop signage, it would only cost pennies more to operate. But the MTA has always been pennywise and pound foolish, and this is another example.

You can read about the other changes going into effect on Sunday in Southern Brooklyn at BKSouthie.com

Allan Rosen contributed this article. Rosen is a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

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