Southern Brooklyn

The Commute: Why We Need A Moratorium On Future SBS Routes – Part 3 Of 5

Queens Boro Hall

THE COMMUTE: Last week, in Part 2, we discussed the misrepresentation of facts, contradictions, and how so many are fooled. We now continue that discussion.

Separating Fact From Fiction

None of the problems that current Select Bus Service (SBS) routes have encountered are mentioned at these sales pitch infomercials dubbed “workshops.”

Problems, such as fare machines that are inoperable or are out of paper, or occasionally remove all the money from your MetroCard, unfair enforcement or transfer penalties. (These will be discussed in more detail further on in this series.) When the first route was implemented in the Bronx, all the fare machines had to be replaced after the first year or two because no one thought of providing weather protection for the equipment. How much extra did that cost?

It is now revealed that initial satisfaction on the Bx12 was only 70 percent until early problems were corrected. However, the first year report makes no mention of any problems citing a 98 percent satisfaction rating. The propaganda from this first report was used to build support for a second route, the M15.

Rather than admit huge traffic delays on the M15 bus route, which sometimes results in 45-minute delays for a local or SBS bus, in spite of the exclusive bus lanes, which are supposed to greatly speed bus travel, all the MTA states is that Second Avenue Subway construction makes providing SBS service on the M15 challenging. What about the huge delays buses face every day during rush hours due to chronic traffic congestion at the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge? How is that being addressed? These were problems that were known about before that corridor was chosen and should not have been a surprise to the MTA.

Powerful Coalitions

The MTA and DOT have built powerful coalitions who support SBS, helping the MTA extol its virtues and spread its lies. Among these groups are Transportation Alternatives, Regional Plan Association, the Association for a Better New York, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Riders Alliance, Straphangers’ Campaign, BRT for NYC, Streetsblog, Pratt Center, Move NY, the City Council and its Progressive Caucus, the Mayor and Governor, and the Working Families Party. Wow, with all these groups in favor of SBS, how can they all be wrong? This must be a good thing. That is what the MTA and DOT want you to believe. However, when you look at what is really happening and ask the proper questions, it is not so obvious that they are correct in their unquestioning support of every existing and proposed SBS route.

That is not to say that SBS or BRT are bad things — only that its implementation leaves much to be desired, the way it is being shoved down our throats without any claims being proven, proper community involvement or adequate documentation provided.

Inadequacy Of Community Involvement

Community involvement has been grossly inadequate. Workshops are only publicized for a few weeks on specific bus routes. Only regular passengers are aware of them and most are too apathetic to attend, believing their input will only be ignored. Consider the fact that the need for an Avenue R bus stop was raised at every workshop, but none was installed, leaving a one-mile gap in SBS bus stop spacing. This has resulted in riders previously using the faster limited bus to have to resort to slower local service, adding at least 10 minutes to their trips while buses not stopping save a negligible 30 seconds. Look at the massive confusion that resulted when the B44 was implemented. Most residents were unaware of a change in route and the new service until the day it began operation because of inadequate publicity. Riders were not made aware that the route was being split in two, with local service continuing on New York Avenue and SBS service on Rogers Avenue replacing Limited service on New York Avenue until weeks after implementation.

No one other than bus riders knew about or attended the SBS workshops. Automobile drivers’ opinions were not solicited and most did not learn about the street change configuration until it went into effect. Final plans for Woodhaven Boulevard will be revealed to the public on March 11 at 11:30am in Queens Borough Hall – Room 213. However, this meeting is not listed on the DOT Events Calendar or anywhere on the MTA Website. Why is this meeting being kept a secret? Invitees are asked to RSVP by March 6th at 212-839-7289.

We Need Adequate Planning And Community Involvement — Not Politics — In Decision Making

Just as Governor Cuomo let politics close down the subways prior to a major snowstorm that never materialized, and decided upon a specific airport rail route to LaGuardia Airport without any cost benefit analysis, Mayor de Blasio is also planning using politics. He has mandated 20 SBS routes within the next two years before he leaves office. Politicians are not interested in solutions that they cannot receive credit for. Hence, the great push for SBS. It took 12 years to obtain the first seven SBS routes and the mayor is aiming for 13 more within the next two years. The B44 SBS was decided upon in 2006 and not completed until 2013.

All routes were unilaterally chosen by the MTA and DOT. Community involvement was only sought to help DOT iron out minor details. The B44 process took so long because meetings were held separately, with every business association requesting one, rather than having one general meeting and one follow-up meeting with all the business associations at once. Separate meetings allowed the MTA to tell each group what they wanted to hear without having to be consistent in their responses.

When asked by a City Council member how SBS routes are determined, DOT stated they looked at high volume routes and neighborhoods needing better connections. Where is the great need to travel between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay? How do the numbers bear that out? There already was a way to travel between those neighborhoods, so why hasn’t the SBS process resulted in new routes being established where connections are not presently possible?

Why haven’t our elected officials given us a heads up about City Council hearings regarding Select Bus Service? Where is the town hall I requested from our elected officials so that we can ask questions and receive answers regarding bus and subway service?

The SBS is being painted as a panacea to solve our transportation problems when they currently only affect fewer than 10 percent of bus riders, which number 2.5 million daily. Local bus routes are being ignored and the MTA only alleges that BusTime is being used to increase reliability. Why, when Greg Mocker of WPIX recently questioned the head of bus operations as to what they are doing to improve bus reliability, the response was that they are adding SBS routes, but no mention of BusTime. The SBS routes have not been shown to be any more reliable than other routes. Yet, we are asked to trust the MTA and DOT.

Councilmember and former bus driver Daneek Miller is perhaps the only Council Council member not fooled by the MTA and DOT. At the February 10 City Council hearing, he asked what goes into the planning process and what determines the success of a route. He questioned the need for an SBS route between Flushing and Jamaica, stating that SBS will do nothing to help relieve 90-minute commute times to Manhattan faced by most Queens’ residents.

Nevertheless, he still is on record as supporting SBS.

Next week: SBS future plans.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at]sheepsheadbites [dot]com.

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200 COMMENTS

  1. Councilmember and former bus driver Daneek Miller is perhaps the only Council Council member not fooled by the MTA and DOT. At the February 10 City Council hearing, he asked what goes into the planning process and what determines the success of a route. He questioned the need for an SBS route between Flushing and Jamaica, stating that SBS will do nothing to help relieve 90-minute commute times to Manhattan faced by most Queens’ residents.

    Nevertheless, he still is on record as supporting SBS.

    Maybe you should take a leaf from his book, rather than fulminating against SBS even though you claim you don’t actually know whether it’s beneficial or not.

  2. No one knows if it has been beneficial or not. Not just me. The MTA and DOT owe it to use to prove that.

    Mr. Miller has obviously made some political deals to gain his support. At the Council Hearing, he expressed doubt and was the only one to ask legitimate questions. However he did not get the answers he requested.

  3. No one knows if it has been beneficial or not.

    My question is: Why are you so strongly opposed to it [1] if you don’t know whether it’s been beneficial or not?

    [1] No one who regularly reads your column would come away thinking you have an open mind about SBS. You carp about it and criticize it, even though you claim to be just raising questions about it, to the point where your actual stance is clear.

  4. I certainly do have an open mind about SBS. My position has been clear from the beginning. If SBS helps more people than it hurts, that as to be shown. It has not been shown. All we have are unproven claims. Your the one whose mind is closed. You just believe it has been successful and dismiss all criticism of it. All my criticism is justified. For example as I pointed out today, you have what you call a community meeting, but you only invite community leaders and keep the meeting a secret to the community by omitting it from your events calendar as is te case with DOT, and don’t mention it at all on the MTA website. But after the fact you list it as a community meeting that the community coud have attended. That is just not playing fair. It certainly is a valid criticism of the process.

  5. I certainly do have an open mind about SBS.

    It doesn’t show in your writing.

    My position has been clear from the beginning.

    That much is true.

    For example as I pointed out today, you have what you call a community meeting, but you only invite community leaders and keep the meeting a secret to the community by omitting it from your events calendar as is te case with DOT, and don’t mention it at all on the MTA website. But after the fact you list it as a community meeting that the community coud have attended.

    I don’t buy your conspiracy theories. For one thing, if this meeting is so secret, how did you find out about it?

  6. Someone who is on the mailing list forwarded it to me. I should be on the same mailing list but did not receive a notice.

  7. Saying a meeting is a community meeting but keeping it off the events calendar certainly sounds like they don’t want you to know about the meeting. You claim to hae an open mind, yet you dismiss any fact that doesn’t fit into what you want to believe. I call that closed minded. You have never stated anything about SBS that could be improved. You make it seem like it is just perfect.

  8. Saying a meeting is a community meeting but keeping it off the events calendar certainly sounds like they don’t want you to know about the meeting.

    Or it could just be an oversight. It’s definitely worth asking the question. But then again:

    Someone who is on the mailing list forwarded it to me. I should be on the same mailing list but did not receive a notice.

    If the meeting information is available to people on this mailing list that you’re on, how secret is this meeting, really?

    You claim to hae an open mind, yet you dismiss any fact that doesn’t fit into what you want to believe. I call that closed minded.

    I just don’t call “conspiracy theory” every time I see someone doing something I don’t like. I don’t think that makes me closed-minded.

    You have never stated anything about SBS that could be improved. You make it seem like it is just perfect.

    Where have I made it seem that way? I don’t think I’m painting any particular picture of SBS; I’m just questioning your wild theories and your frothing-at-the-mouth about it.

  9. He still supports SBS because he takes bribe checks from those organizations .
    Most of those organizations are made up leftest radicals who are anti middle class

  10. In all our discussions about SBS, you never made a single negative statement about it. That’s how I drew my conclusion that you believe it is perfect.

    An oversight by DOT by not putting it on the calendar? Perhaps. An oversight by the MTA also? Unlikely coincidence.

    Refusal to provide requested information after numerous requests? Would you also call that an oversight ?

    I’m on the mailing list but did not receive a notice. Another oversight perhaps?

    What will it take for you to wake up?

  11. Then you know nothing about NYC government. I worked for 4 years at NYC DOI the agency charged with policing city agencies . Year after year we would investigate, fine a few people and make recommendations to make sure the same crime, corruption and theft of city service by employees did not occur again. Time after time the efforts were stopped . One example is that we wanted to computerize the inventory and employee schedules at Dept of parks. They still use a paper system. The bosses said it would be harder for the pols to exert power if everyone knew what was going on.

    Most of the community groups in favor of SBS are anti-car, anti middle class

  12. He is naive and far too trusting of government. You have to actually work for one like we did to see what really goes on. When I was at the Department of City Planning I was asked to review a traffic study to determine if the area could handle the project. I complained when I noticed the traffic study I was given to review was 15 years old. I stated that I woud need more recent data to make a fair assessment. I was told to keep my mouth shut and not say anything to anyone because all the politicians were behind the project. Since was was fairly new, I didn’t want to jeopardize my job so I did like I was told. Everything that happens in government isn’t fair or the way they tell you it is.

    Channel 11 just had an investigative story the other night showing how unfair real estate taxes are for single family homes. A one family home worth $1.4 million can pay anywhere between 3
    $3,000 per year and $18,000 per year in real estate taxes depending on the neighborhood you live in. This discrepancy in fairness as been going on for 25 years and no politician wants to rattle feathers to fix it. Meanwhile a $25 million coop on 57 Street pays $2,000 a year in real estate taxes because of tax rebates to developers with political connections.

  13. In all our discussions about SBS, you never made a single negative statement about it. That’s how I drew my conclusion that you believe it is perfect.

    Since I’ve also never really made positive statements about SBS, I think that conclusion was a mistake.

    An oversight by DOT by not putting it on the calendar? Perhaps. An oversight by the MTA also? Unlikely coincidence.

    Agreed, although the possibility remains that the people at both agencies who arranged the meeting simply are not consistent about getting events onto the agencies’ calendars. This is why I previously said, “It’s worth asking the question.”

    Of course, you’re not asking a question; you’re jumping to a conclusion.

    I’m on the mailing list but did not receive a notice. Another oversight perhaps?

    What will it take for you to wake up?

    One could legitimately ask you the same question.

  14. I think you’re wandering rather far from SBS. Any interest in sticking to the subject at hand?

  15. What exactly are these well-heeled radical leftist organizations? Hell, I couldn’t even type that phrase with a straight face.

  16. The point is you believe whatever government wants you to believe and have no idea of what is actually happening behind the scenes. You are ar too trusting.

  17. I believe whatever government wants me to believe?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Um, no. Try again.

  18. If the meeting information is available to people on this mailing list that you’re on, how secret is this meeting, really?

    Apparently it was supposed to be a secret meeting, but somebody messed up and accidentally posted it to a mailing list!

  19. That article is only about the B44SBS. It was not a statement on the SBS program. Did I criticize the Bx12 or M15 in that article?

  20. You have to make a joke because you can’t dispute the facts. Speaking about April 1st, do you think we will have a first year assessment of the B44 SBS by then? It’s taking them longer than usual to manipuate the data. can’t imagine why.

  21. A mailing list of a hundred or so people, most of whom are elected officials and Community Board members, does not qualify as a meeting that is labeled as community advisory meeting. The community is all those affected by this plan including automobile drivers who should have just as much say as bus riders how the street should be used and not be left out of the process completely. They constitute te overwhelming majority of roadway users whether you want to recognize that fact or not.

  22. From that article:

    At least Robert Moses did whatever he wanted without any sham community meetings.

    Yeah, and just look what a terrific job he did! He was particularly transit’s best friend.

  23. Not particularly. I do trust them more than I trust you, because what they say makes more sense than what you say.

  24. How do you know it was publicized in other ways? There is no reason why it should not be listed on the DOT and MTA websites if they indeed want the public to attend.

  25. Really? Guess you believe Trottenberg’s statement at the City Council that every SBS passenger’s trip is now 15 to 20% quicker. I explained in Part 1 how that could not possibly be true. You have blocked out all logic from your mind and take her statement at face value without even analyzing it.

  26. True Moses was no friend of transit but I would hate to think what travel would be like without him and without a Belt Parkway. Because of the Belt Parkway you can get from Sheepshead Bay to Nassau County by car in the same time it takes to get to Park Slope. If not for the Belt Parkway, it would take 90 minutes, or two hours or more to get to Nassau County from southern Brooklyn. And please don’t try to make the argument that our mass transit system would have been more developed if not for him. That has never been proved and has been debated endlessly.

  27. I don’t…but then, I’m not the conspiracy theorist, so I don’t have to prove anything to you.

  28. More conclusion-jumping. It seems to be your favorite sport.

    I wouldn’t believe a statement that every SBS passenger’s trip is now 15% to 20% faster, because that makes no sense…but then, I’m not inclined to believe your account of what she said, either.

  29. Because of the Belt Parkway you can get from Sheepshead Bay to Nassau County by car in the same time it takes to get to Park Slope.

    No, I can’t, because like a majority of New Yorkers, I don’t own a car!

    And please don’t try to make the argument that our mass transit system would have been more developed if not for him. That has never been proved and has been debated endlessly.

    I consider that (i.e., that New York would have had more developed mass transit without Moses) generally unlikely, but of course it’s impossible to prove that a hypothetical past state of affairs would have happened under different conditions, so your implied demand for proof is nonsensical.

  30. Fair enough. Just go to the link of the hearing and listen to what she said yourself. But you woukdn’t do that because your only interest is to accuse and make unfounded allegations.

  31. But almost half the New Yorkers do own a car and are very much appreciative of the Belt Parkway. I notice you used the word “majority” to indicate a minority doesn’t mean anything. So let me remind you that a huge majority (not 51%) of Woodhaven Blvd users are auto drivers, yet their needs are totally being ignored to favor the small minority of bus riders. He do you like them apples?

  32. No all you have to do is make unfounded allegations. You haven’t disputed a single statement with any facts.

  33. The facts are quite clear to me.

    If you’re looking for a formal evaluation, I’m afraid you’re asking the wrong guy. In case you hadn’t noticed, the SBS pace has increased and the planners may simply be focused more on meeting the rollout deadlines than in the past. (Despite your earlier claims, NYCT has nowhere near 500 bus planners.) You’ll have to excuse me for not readily latching onto your conspiracy theories.

  34. Trottenberg most certainly did not say that. She’s no idiot. She knows quite well that travel time impacts are not uniform across all riders.

  35. Allan Rosen, as a typical B44 SBS rider going from the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza Bus Terminal to the Flatbush Junction and back, on the outside, SBS is great in terms of reliability, frequency, and speed. However, as a volunteer for both the Riders Alliance and the Straphangers Campaign, I was skeptical because of the following reasons: 1) Not a lot of community, business and political involvement; 2) All of the current SBS routes are not True BRT, just like some of the major cities in Latin America and in Asia; 3) If the MTA and the NYC DOT want to implement the first BRT route in NYC, it takes a lot of time and money; 4) Depending on the corridor, it can be more harm than good for the following groups: bus riders who can lose their limited stops and it is replaced by local buses; drivers who can lose their parking spots at some parts of the day and even they can drive, this can cause more traffic congestion; small businesses; and delivery truck drivers who can cause double parking at the times that they can load their deliveries; 5) Lack of bus line equity between a SBS bus route and a local bus route on the same road. As of a result, even with new SBS routes are coming by 2017, I can tell that this SBS network in NYC is not a true BRT system: Just like a network of “SUPER LIMITED” buses for the major bus routes across the city of Los Angeles known as “Metro Rapid.” Like the “Metro Rapid” system in Los Angeles, the “+selectbusservice” system in NYC is all gilts and glamor, in terms of improving traffic signals, making fewer stops and crazy bus wrapping.

  36. So let me remind you that a huge majority (not 51%) of Woodhaven Blvd users are auto drivers, yet their needs are totally being ignored to favor the small minority of bus riders. He do you like them apples?

    And let me remind you, not for the first time, that 33% of the users are being allocated 25% of the road space. If the other 67% of the users can’t get by with 75% of the road space, perhaps their requirements are unreasonable.

    If you read The Power Broker, you would realize that if not for Moses, the most we woud have gotten would have been a boulevard, not a limited access highway.

    *GASP* Perish the thought! I don’t even want to think about it.

  37. What a coinkydink! NEITHER HAVE YOU.

    The point is that I’m not the one alleging a conspiracy, so I’m not the one who bears the burden of proof.

  38. Care to share a link of the video or audio recording, or of a direct quote? I don’t see it.

    BTW, I was going to look up the transcript but I can’t say I care enough to spend $20 to get one.

    http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/services/transcripts.shtml

    What possible reason could there be to charge so much? The city, state, and agencies controlled by both are terrible with stuff like this, and open records requests too. Both in terms of cost and level of ‘customer’ service. Other cities and states are much better.

  39. Oh, so now SBS is such a success that a first year assessment is no longer necessary. Is tat what you are saying? I say that if no first year assessment is made public, it is because the numbers were just too embarrassing.

  40. You previously said:

    There is no reason why it should not be listed on the DOT and MTA websites if they indeed want the public to attend.

    If you did not mean that the MTA and the DOT have conspired to prevent the public from attending this meeting, then what on earth were you getting at?

  41. The link to the video from the Council’s site as since been removed. Why should it only be available for two weeks? Why was the hearing not publicized beforehand? And yes, why should a transcript cost $20? Very suspicious.

    Even WNYC TV which shows these hearings live or taped, has no way to access them on their website. I watched the hearing live on TV and took careful notes. I found the hearing accidentally by channel surfing. I would have been there if I knew about it beforehand.

  42. It certainly does exist but it may not be open to the general public but only to Community Advisory Committee members. I attended one of the Congested Corridor Meetings where they announced they were going to look into SBS as a possibility. Then I attended three public workshops and at no time did anyone ever mention that there was such a thing as a Community Advisory Committee or how to get on the Committee which I just found on their website under Get Involved. This is how open this process has been. Why would you present your final three alternatives to everyone attending the workshop which was open to the public if you saw a notice on the bus, but not present your final selection in a similar manner, but instead only to a committee.?

  43. That is exactly what she said because I took it down verbatim. She was making the assumption that since running times were reduced between 15 and 20%, that is also the amount of time saved by bus riders.

  44. What would be so terrible with DOT giving a presentation to a group that has existed for more than a year? Even if they exclude the greatest bus planner in Sheepshead bay who didn’t join the committee because he isn’t a local and never bothered to find out about it? Don’t CAC meetings exist separate from public meetings? What’s wrong with sharing DOT’s proposal with the CAC for feedback and possible changes before introducing it to the general public for the same? It’s not like they are starting construction and implementing their proposal on the 11th without letting anyone see it first…

    BTW, did you try emailing the address listed, brt@dot.nyc.gov ?

    When I did from a gmail account it got bounced back as undeliverable, I was wondering if the address still existed or…?

  45. If you ride between Williamsburg Bridge Plaza and the Junction you should be absolutely thrilled with the B44 SBS since you are in the small minority of riders who SBS actually helps. The fact that even you criticize it and see its shortcomings says an awful lot.

  46. I certainly was route specific when I suggested they include looking at placing BRT on the Rockaway Beach Line instead in earlier articles.

  47. If you ride between Williamsburg Bridge Plaza and the Junction you should be absolutely thrilled with the B44 SBS since you are in the small minority of riders who SBS actually helps.

    I thought we didn’t have figures on this, so we couldn’t know whether more people are being helped or hurt by SBS? Make up your mind.

  48. I guess this is the future trend for the outer boroughs: lack of subway expansion and more bus implementation. This causes more harm to the drivers, business owners, bus riders who lost their “LIMITED” bus stops (while winding up with slow, unreliable, local service) and everyday people who were relied on going on shorter distances, which is a little more than a simple majority of the people along the corridor, in the case of the B44 SBS fiasco. At the same time, it causes more good to very few commuters, who travelled in long distances along the same SBS route, such as myself. Allan Rosen, as a B44 SBS rider and a volunteering transit advocate for the Riders Alliance, I was extremely disgusted and devastated that the B44 SBS project did not benefit everyone. I am worried about the future implementations of more SBS routes, especially when the roads are not as wide as the major avenues and major crosstown streets in Manhattan, just like on Nostrand Avenue between Flushing Avenue and Farragut Road. As of a result, ever since Mayor Michael Bloomberg created a “razzed-dazzle” press conference for the B44 SBS on November 17, 2013, I was less than skeptical that the entire SBS system in NYC is “fatally flawed.” I said this previous sentence in the most honest and realistic way possible.

  49. Pedro,

    You are indeed a breath of fresh air, just when I lost all hope in the Riders Alliance for your ability to look at this objectively, although you are personally helped.

    As far as benefiting everyone, that is just not possible. Even the best of plans has a few losers. As I have long stated the goal should be to help more than you hurt. DOT is virtually ignoring the needs of other road users. This is most evident on Woodhaven Boulevard whose other roadway users will be far more inconvenienced than Nostrand Avenue roadway users, because there are no suitable alternatives to Woodhaven.

    And by ignoring walking distances to the SBS stops which are spaced further apart, they are also not making a fair assessment for bus riders.

    They may decide to not even produce a first year assessment for the B44 SBS which was promised before the end of 2014. It is now over two months late. They stated that each route is different so there is no excuse to forego a first year assessment.

  50. DOT is virtually ignoring the needs of other road users. This is most evident on Woodhaven Boulevard whose other roadway users will be far more inconvenienced than Nostrand Avenue roadway users, because there are no suitable alternatives to Woodhaven.

    DOT has spent most of the last several decades catering almost exclusively to motorists (or, to use your charming euphemism, “other road users”). I say again what I’ve said before: It’s time for motorists to take a back seat (see what I did there?) to the real “other road users”: bus riders, pedestrians, and cyclists.

    Motorists don’t own the roads and they need to stop acting as if they did.

  51. I guess this is the future trend for the outer boroughs: lack of subway expansion and more bus implementation.

    If you want to advocate for subway expansion, I’m sure you will get plenty of support. Lord knows the need is there, in many parts of the city. You’ll just have to answer one question: How do you propose to finance it?

  52. What is the CAC? Is it a select group of people who DOT has chosen to help them plan the SBS route before showing their work to the public? Or is it just DOT’s way of making sure that the elected officials, community board members, and self appointed local leaders don’t whine and complain about how unfair it is that they weren’t consulted on the project because they would oppose it on that alone?

  53. Are you asking for “true BRT”? What is that, what would it look like in any of the corridors where SBS exists? You don’t want the “glits and glamor” of improving traffic signals and wider stop spacing? What do you want, and how will it not harm drivers?

  54. I have done a lot of research on the major financial crisis of the MTA, especially when they are facing a $15.2 Billion financial deficit for their 2015-2019 Capital Program and a $300 Million financial deficit for the next fiscal year’s Operational Budget. In the past ten years, both the fares on the subways, buses and commuter trains, as well as the tolls of the MTA-owned Bridges and Tunnels in the Outer Boroughs, went up significantly several times, well above the rate of inflation. Adding an insult to injury, we had service cuts in June of 2010. Major reasons: 1) Increased pension costs for retired MTA workers, managers, supervisors and executives; 2) Increased salary costs for current MTA workers, managers, supervisors and executives; 3) Increased healthcare costs for current MTA workers, managers, supervisors and executives; 4) Increased cost overruns from labor contractors working on construction projects, both big and small, leading to both time and money wasted; 5) increased settlement and liability costs from lawsuits; 6) Increased debt cost through overwhelming debt (now at $34.1 Billion) by excessive borrowing by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature; and 7) Increased raids from the MTA dedicated funds by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature and use it for other services in the New York State Budget. This is the background information of this particular situation.

    So, to answer your question, here are of several ways that we can finance the MTA Capital Program, which is a stepping stone for possible future subway extensions for the next twenty years: Either a) Cut parts of the 2015-2019 Capital Program, which make all of the subway stations, commuter rail stations, buses, subways and trains in disrepair without a state of good repair while keeping up with other major cities across the world; b) borrow $15.2 Billion through bonds (in which that the New York State Attorney General warned that for every $1 Billion borrowed, there will be a fare and toll increase by 1%, on the top of 4% for this year as well as next year – do the math – that’s a 19% fare and toll increase, and is bad for everyone who relies on MTA services, every, single weekday); c) Double the MTA Payroll Mobility Tax (which is bad for small businesses in the suburbs); d) Bring back the commuter tax (which is bad for drivers); e) Bring back the gas tax (which is bad for drivers); f) Raise the sales tax in New York City (which is bad for low-income and working-class families); or g) the Move NY Fair Tolling Plan, a proposal where it can be electronic tolls of the four, free East River bridges, while reducing tolls on the MTA-owned bridges in the outer bridges, while putting congestion pricing zones in Manhattan below 60th Street (including the West Side Highway and the FDR Drive) (which is bad for drivers in what I called some parts of The five boroughs “Suburbian NYC,” where driving is the only option of going to work, shop, eat out, etc., commercial truck drivers and businesses, both big and small).

    So, pick your poison!

    P.S. Before you can reply, I am a 23 year old recent college graduate from CUNY Brooklyn College, with a BA in History and a overall GPA of a 3.003. So I did a lot of research about your concerns.

  55. 1) To answer your first question, I’m not asking for “true BRT” because it takes several years and hundreds of millions of dollars invested to make it happen. So, based upon the most recent trends, that is not going to happen in the considerable future. Another reason is because the SBS projects are the part of both of the MTA Capital Program for 2015-2019 and the NYC DOT budget, which both of these are severly underfunded. So, it’s a possibly that other future SBS routes will never happen.

    2) To answer your second question, depending on the road, some SBS will have curbside bus lanes, some

  56. I am not sure. My friend received the invitation so I assume he is in the CAC. I asked him hw he got on. He told me did nothing but attend a public workshop, signed the attendance sheet and received the notice. I could not find a notice in my email, though I thought I saw it, so I assumed I was not included. However, when I searched by e-mail for “DOT”, the e-mail appeared, so maybe I am also on the CAC. I am trying to establish that now. If my friend did nothing special to get on the CAC, there is no reason why I shoudn’t be on it also.

  57. Allan Rosen, with the financial situation of the MTA, especially with the 2015-2019 Capital Program was underfunded in the amount of $15.2 Billion, with implementing future SBS routes as the part of the Capital Program, I am extremely concerned that if the Capital Program will be partially cut this summer, then there’s a possibly that the future implantation of more SBS routes will never happen. So this situation was than the 2018 MTA service cuts, but not as worse as NYC almost went bankrupt in 1975, where the subways, the buses, the trains, the stations, the signals, the tracks and the safety, were in terrible bad shape. I am 23 years old, I graduated from CUNY Brooklyn College in June of 2013, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a GPA of a 3.003, and I focused of current trends, from the past, through the present, and into the future. My speciality is public transportation advacocy, but through an objective approach, using data, statistics, and facts to back up my argument. So, Allan, I have some questions: What is your experience of the 1975 NYC fiscal crisis, whether or not if you are a MTA worker? How do you compare the financial situation on the MTA today versus 2010 and in 1975. How does the proposed 2015-2019 MTA Capital Program can impact the future implementation of more SBS routes in NYC?

  58. They really have been catering to motorists by adding bike lanes and pedestrian islands, putting traffic signals in front of every school, creating slow zones, putting up red light and speed cameras, lowering the speed limits all over, adding exclusive bus lanes, etc.

    The last time they catered to motorsts was when they synchronized traffic signals and widened streets in the 1960s and 70s. Also the last time they built a new highway. I canteven remember when that happened. We are lucky just to get our bridges repaired or streets resurfaced.

  59. That image is nothing but a lie. Just like the lies to promote SBS. We don’t have any heavily used sidewalks that are only five feet wide as depicted in that picture except perhaps for 17th century streets like Pine Street in Lower Manhattan. Crosswalks are also very wide, not narrow like the board that is depicted.

    If the sidewalks are overcrowded blame it on overdevelopment, not on a roadway that is too wide.

  60. That image is nothing but a lie. Just like the lies to promote SBS. We don’t have any heavily used sidewalks that are only five feet wide as depicted in that picture except perhaps for 17th century streets like Pine Street in Lower Manhattan. Crosswalks are also very wide, not narrow like the board that is depicted.

    Well, except that it’s not a lie at all. The exact size of the sidewalks isn’t the point; the fact that a disproportionate amount of space is devoted to automobiles, and that that space is hostile to non-motorists, is the point. And that’s 100% true.

    If the sidewalks are overcrowded blame it on overdevelopment, not on a roadway that is too wide.

    Oh no, my goodness, let’s never blame anything on motorists. They must be found innocent at all costs.

    If a sidewalk is overcrowded, that is prima facie evidence that space on that street is misallocated.

  61. I am not sure I understand everything you are saying because you have a few typos (sentence with 2018 service cuts?) What I can say is this. Currently SBS is hot with the politicians. As long as that remains the case, they will find the money to build as many SBS routes as they want to build regardless of the capital budget. They will find the money for it. Remember that except for maintenance of fare machines and the roadway, most of the other expenses are being picked up by the federal government. Not sure if the MTA is getting any money toward enforcement, though.

    When you look at the financial situation of the MTA, you also have to look at the needs. In 1975, the needs were much greater because the system was literally on its last legs and falling apart. While the needs are still great, the system is in much better condition today, so I would say we are in better financial shape today.

    Hopefully we learned our lessons from the 1970s and never let the system fall apart again, and the politicians will come up with the needed capital funds to at least keep the system in the same condition it is in today. With ridership at record highs they can afford to do no less. But we also have to think once again about expansion. If new subways are too expensive we need to focus on existing rights of way like the Triboro-Rx.

    Regarding 1975, that was prior to me joining the MTA but I was working closely with them from my position at the Department of City Planning. The 1975 NYC fiscal crisis was a disaster for the MTA. Much worse than the 2010 cutbacks. While the 2010 cutbacks were bad and many were just wrong, no one realized how bad they would be except for myself and a few others. Most only realized the impact after they occurred. Some of the cuts at least were restored due to the MTA’s improving financial condition resulting from a turnaround in the economy and some internal belt tightening.

    In 1975, there also were service cutbacks and they were much worse. Rather than targeting low ridership routes as was done in 2010, in 1975, it was the high ridership routes that were the targets. The MTA figured that they could save the most operating costs by cutting the most popular routes, totally ignoring the revenue side of the picture. For example, in Brooklyn, the routes cut the most were the B41, B44, B35 and B46.

    At that time I used the B46 every day. Buses ran every two minutes in the rush hour and were so crowded, often you had to miss the first two buses and board the third. The MTA in its infinite wisdom decided to cut 50% of the rush hour hour service to every four minutes. The result was you now had to wait for four buses to pass to board the fifth one. The next day private cars were giving rides at the price the MTA charged. Within one week, the livery cabs got in on the act. Those eventually resulted in the dollar vans you have today.

    When ridership reduced even further because of the shift to these other vehicles, the MTA responded by further reducing service rather than realizing their mistake and returning service to their prior levels. Ridership on the B46 declined by over 50%. It stayed that way until free transfers were allowed between buses and subways and the bus passengers slowly returned rather pay an additional fare. By 1984, traffic checkers were hired and the more crowded buses resulted in increased service. The increased service caused even more riders to return. The upturn in the economy and the increased service resulted in B46 ridership not only returning too its pre-1975 levels, it went from the third most heavily used route in the borough to the most heavily used route, bypassing the B41 which continued to have its service reduced as due to severe competition from the dollar vans which the MTA directly caused due to service cuts.

  62. So after all this hubbub about the MTA and NYCDOT sneaking around holding secret meetings and inadequate community involvement it’s possible that you were offered the chance to participate to a greater extent but you missed the email?

  63. That is a total lie. How are buses allocated 33% of the road space. Buses can use any lane as long as they can access a bus stop. You make it seem that they are restricted to one lane only which is untrue. As far as what would happen if the Belt Parkway were a bouevard and the additional traffic that woud cause? Why should you care? Cars have no reason to exist anyway in your eyes.

  64. And if street space were allocated proportionately to usage in midtown, each street woud be allowed only one lane of traffic. Broadway isn’t enough for you as a pedestrian plaza? You want every street to become a mall or busway? Would you be willing to make all the deliveries by hand? Bringing them up from the subway? If so, then I will support you.

  65. Thank you so much with the information. I will continue doing my personal research about the financial situation of the MTA. I am looking forward post my future comments in your blog, as long the transit issue affects me as a daily commuter.

  66. Buses aren’t being allocated 33% of the road space; it’s 25%. Learn to read. (One of four lanes = 25%.)

    If one lane were dedicated to buses, there would only rarely and briefly be a need for any bus to use the other lanes. (E.g., if a bus broke down in the bus lane, other buses would have to use the adjacent lane just long enough to pass it.) Assuming motorists respected the bus lane, it would remain clear for buses and they would have no reason to mix with the general motor traffic in the other lanes.

    I don’t think you understand very well what “causes traffic.” If the Belt Parkway were converted into a boulevard, how would that “cause traffic”?

    Your continuing bias in the use of the word “traffic” to refer exclusively to motor vehicle traffic is noted.

  67. You’ve yet to explain how and why operating a motor vehicle gives some road users a right to use several times as much space as they would otherwise be entitled to.

    Delivery traffic + emergency traffic wouldn’t require anywhere near the amount of space currently allocated to motor vehicles, even in midtown.

  68. Community involvement is still inadequate as long as funds for SBS was received and SBS was decided upon even before the first community meeting was held. The community was never solicited as to what alternatives to SBS should be considered.

    I am awaiting a response to
    my phone call as to whether I am on the CAC or not.

  69. If articulated buses are used and two arrive at the same time (unless bus stops are at least 140 feet long) a bus may have to wait to get into the bus stop which would require buses to use general purpose lanes to pass.

    Since speeds are slower on boulevards and you have to stop for traffic signals, given the same volume of traffic, a boulevard could become congested while the same amount of traffic on a highway would move freely.

    I use the word “traffic” to denote the type of traffic being discussed, whether it be motor vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, or bicycle traffic. I am showing no bias.

  70. First you show an image which is a lie. When I call you out on this, you say it still proves the point that street space needs to be allocated according to usage. When I show you why that is not feasible, you change the topic again saying that streets still could be narrowed to just accommodate emergency traffic and delivery traffic. Well, I guess there is no need for buses. They also use roadway space. And of course no one has right to use a taxicab.

    I will not be part of a discussion with a continual moving target. Your first point was streets need to be allocated strictly according to usage and I already proved why that is just not feasible.

  71. First you show an image which is a lie.

    It’s not “a lie” because it isn’t intended to be a specific depiction of the streets of any particular city. That isn’t even the point. I’m sorry you can’t grasp that.

    When I call you out on this, you say it still proves the point that street space needs to be allocated according to usage.

    That’s not exactly what I said, but anyway.

    When I show you why that is not feasible, you change the topic again saying that streets still could be narrowed to just accommodate emergency traffic and delivery traffic.

    That’s not a change of topic. I was responding to your comment about delivery traffic and I added emergency traffic, the only other form of traffic that has to use vehicles.

    Well, I guess there is no need for buses. They also use roadway space. And of course no one has right to use a taxicab.

    If the roadways only had enough lanes to accommodate delivery and emergency traffic (the latter is, of course, minimal), there would still be plenty of room for buses.

    Correct: There’s no right to use a taxicab.

    I will not be part of a discussion with a continual moving target. Your first point was streets need to be allocated strictly according to usage and I already proved why that is just not feasible.

    No, you haven’t. I’m still waiting for you to confront the obvious assumptions you’re making on this. They pop up everywhere, but you seem to be blind to them.

  72. If articulated buses are used and two arrive at the same time (unless bus stops are at least 140 feet long) a bus may have to wait to get into the bus stop which would require buses to use general purpose lanes to pass.

    Yes, that’s another reason why one bus may sometimes have to use the general traffic lanes to pass one another. Such use is negligible in comparison to the use by other vehicles.

    Also, the second bus may, for one reason or another, need to make the same stop, and thus may have to wait behind the first bus in the bus lane.

    Since speeds are slower on boulevards and you have to stop for traffic signals, given the same volume of traffic, a boulevard could become congested while the same amount of traffic on a highway would move freely.

    OH. By “cause traffic,” you actually mean “cause motor vehicle traffic congestion.” Which is quite a different thing.

    Traffic signals are not the only means of regulating traffic at intersections.

    Slower speeds do not per se cause congestion.

    I use the word “traffic” to denote the type of traffic being discussed, whether it be motor vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, or bicycle traffic. I am showing no bias.

    When you use it without a qualifier, you always mean “motor vehicle traffic” (or, as above, “motor vehicle traffic congestion”), and the way you use it frequently indicates that you think other modes of transport can safely be ignored. That’s a bias.

  73. I’ve uncovered the mystery of the super-double-secret CAC. On the NYCDOT webpage for Woodhaven Boulevard SBS, there’s a section where all the public meeting presentations are posted. In that section, there’s a paragraph called Community Advisory Committee, with a link to this page – http://www.nyc.gov/html/brt/html/involved/involved.shtml. On that page, it says “To find out how to join your local community advisory committee, please email brt@dot.nyc.gov.” All it took was Googling “Woodhaven brt” and clicking on the first result to find this.

  74. I did write to that address and inquired how to get on the CAC if I am not a member. I received a response that stated meetings were only open to members without an answer regarding how to get on the CAC.

    Then I phoned and asked if they could check again under my alternate e-mail address to see if I am listed as a member under that address. The call has not been returned as of yet.

  75. Many users of Woodhaven Boulevard do not live in the community. Why shouldn’t they also have a say how the street is being redesigned?

  76. Why would a Community Advisory Committee be open to people from all over the city? Maybe this particular group isn’t the vehicle for getting opinions on the plans from users of the street, but from residents of the area. Do you not think that’s legitimate?

  77. I just want to add one thing that I omitted. When those devastating bus service cuts were made in 1975, th MTA justified it as being insignificant because with bus service cut from every 2 minutes to every 4 minutes, all that will happen is that bus passengers will have to wait up two minutes longer for a bus. I guess hearing that rationale was how my distrust in the MTA began. And the sad thing was that people believed them and no one blamed them for causing what is now the dollar van industry.

  78. That image is just as much a lie as if I showed you a picture of a train in India with people riding on the roof and claimed it showed the transit conditions in New York.

    Okay, so now let’s analyze what you are proposing. We ban all private vehicles and taxicabs in Midtown and Downtown. I assume you are also including limousines and livery services. So President Obama and other world leaders must use the subway when coming to Manhattan?

    Oh we make exceptions for them? Okay. What about recognizable superstars and their entourages who may be concerned with their safety when recognized and the hazard that would pose in the subways when everyone wants a selfie with them? We also make exceptions for them? Okay. What about the handicapped who can’t use subways and buses. We also make exceptions for them?

    Then if you draw the line at 60th Street and divert all traffic from the East River bridges and tunnels to the RFK Bridge, won’t you cause extreme traffic congestion there? Or does traffic congestion only matter if it is in Midtown? So you draw the line at 96th Street instead?

    Then all those Park Avenue elites will now also be forced to use buses and subways, which now means you must triple the bus service and who pays for that and won’t that also increase congestion? Or do you suggest they ride the unbearably overcrowded Lexington Avenue Line which is operating at near capacity in terms of the number of trains provided? So we finish the Second Avenue Subway. Well who will pay for that since there won’t be any congestion or congestion pricing.

    Okay. So now you change your mind and decide we can’t ban all private cars but instead charge some ridiculously high fee like $100, $200 or $500 day to anyone who wants to drive into Manhattan so the new narrowed streets can accommodate everyone without traffic congestion. Of course we still make exceptions for dignitaries, the handicapped, and any other powerful political group that demands an exception for your idea to become law.

    And please remind me why we are doing this again? So pedestrians will have twice as much room to walk on the sidewalks and bike riders can have their own lanes everywhere. Sounds perfectly fair to me. Now tell me who is the one who is blind here?

  79. That image is just as much a lie as if I showed you a picture of a train in India with people riding on the roof and claimed it showed the transit conditions in New York.

    I didn’t claim that that image showed the street conditions in midtown Manhattan. Please learn to read.

    Okay, so now let’s analyze what you are proposing. We ban all private vehicles and taxicabs in Midtown and Downtown.

    I didn’t propose that. Please learn to read.

    We ban all private vehicles and taxicabs in Midtown and Downtown. I assume you are also including limousines and livery services. So President Obama and other world leaders must use the subway when coming to Manhattan?

    Federal law trumps state law, which (generally) trumps city ordinances. So even if we were banning private automobiles in part of Manhattan, I assure you that President Obama’s official cars would not be banned.

    Oh we make exceptions for them? Okay. What about recognizable superstars and their entourages who may be concerned with their safety when recognized and the hazard that would pose in the subways when everyone wants a selfie with them? We also make exceptions for them? Okay.

    Of course not.

    What about the handicapped who can’t use subways and buses. We also make exceptions for them?

    We don’t have to. The ADA, which is a federal law, already has.

    Then all those Park Avenue elites will now also be forced to use buses and subways, which now means you must triple the bus service and who pays for that and won’t that also increase congestion? Or do you suggest they ride the unbearably overcrowded Lexington Avenue Line which is operating at near capacity in terms of the number of trains provided?

    If those Park Avenue elites’ cars are what’s currently clogging up the streets in Manhattan, I think you’ve just made my point for me.

    It takes a whole, whole, whole lot fewer cars to clog up the streets of Manhattan than the people required to clog buses and subways. (That’s part of the point: Dedicating land to the movement of cars is horribly inefficient.) Since those are “elites,” they’re by definition few in number, so your claim that bus service would need to be tripled is ridiculous.

    So we finish the Second Avenue Subway. Well who will pay for that since there won’t be any congestion or congestion pricing.

    Whoever’s currently paying for it without congestion pricing will continue to do so.

    Okay. So now you change your mind and decide we can’t ban all private cars but instead charge some ridiculously high fee like $100, $200 or $500 day to anyone who wants to drive into Manhattan so the new narrowed streets can accommodate everyone without traffic congestion. Of course we still make exceptions for dignitaries, the handicapped, and any other powerful political group that demands an exception for your idea to become law.

    Thanks for the ridiculous strawman. I haven’t proposed anything of the kind, nor would I.

    And please remind me why we are doing this again? So pedestrians will have twice as much room to walk on the sidewalks and bike riders can have their own lanes everywhere. Sounds perfectly fair to me. Now tell me who is the one who is blind here?

    So pedestrians will have sufficient room to walk on the sidewalks, and so cyclists can ride safely.

    Who’s blind? Yeah, still you.

  80. I can read just fine. Thank you.

    As I previously stated. You have no position, only a moving target. You just stated that you never proposed banning all private cars and taxicabs in Midtown Manhattan.

    However, previously you stated:

    Delivery traffic + emergency traffic wouldn’t require anywhere near the amount of space currently allocated to motor vehicles, even in midtown.

    And you further stated:

    Correct: There’s no right to use a taxicab.

    Then I asked you if we make exceptions by allowing limousines for superstars and their entourages. And you answered.

    Of course not.

    The only logical interpretations of those statements are that you propose banning motor vehicles, i.e. private cars, taxicabs and limousines in Midtown Manhattan. Now you have again switched your position saying that is not what you are proposing.

    Then when I ask you who will pay to complete the Second Avenue Subway, you responded:

    Whoever’s currently paying for it without congestion pricing will continue to do so.

    The fact is that no one is paying for it now and it is doubtful if it will be completed within the next 30 years.

    I have no more time to waste in a discussion where the only thing you are proposing is wider sidewalks and bike lanes while refusing to discuss the ramifications that has for everyone else by constantly changing your position: We ban cars and cabs, no we don’t ban cars and cabs, yes we do, no we don’t.

    You are not only blind, but you are not even capable of having an intelligent discussion because instead of trying to logically refute a point, you just keep changing your position when you are not able to answer a question. You can continue this discussion with someone else if you want to. I am through and will not respond further.

  81. 44 percent of HOUSEHOLDS own a car. Since not everyone in those households has access to that car all the time, far fewer than half of New Yorkers are driving.

    No one is ignoring the needs of drivers. The goal is to balance everyone’s needs, whereas the present situation ignores the needs of all but the drivers. You act like the whole road is being turned into a transit mall.

  82. You are confusing two discussions. The idea of turning all roads into pedestrian malls was related to widening sidewalks in Midtown Manhattan, not to places like Woodhaven Boulevard.

    And yes we are ignoring the needs of drivers. If you want to talk about Woodhaven Boulevard, then don’t use the city average of only 44% of households own autos. If you check car ownership figures for zip codes adjacent to Woodhaven Boulevard, you will find that at least 80% of the households own cars, yet drivers are not being solicited as to the fate of what happens to that street.

  83. In that case then the public meetings should be more widely publicized to the entire city, not only on buses that use Woodhaven Boulevard. The only citywide notification of these meetings is on the the DOT Events Calendar if you happen to think of checking it. Most people would look on the MTA website, where there is only a mention of upcoming public hearings, not any other public meetings. In fact, in order to find anything about SBS, or planning studies, you have to go through a maze.

    On the MTA website, there is nothing about SBS on the main page.

    if you hit Planned Service Changes, you only get temporary reroutes.

    If you hit MTA Info, you get nothing.

    If under the “Home” tab, you hit “Subways and Buses”, you only get a small line that says “2015 Investment Proposals” which also yields no information.

    If you hit “Transparency” and then “Special Studies”, you get no information.

    The only way to get info is by doing a search. If you do a search for Woodhaven Blvd SBS, you get ten hits. Number 4 is the only one about future routes. Hitting that, gives you “Woodhaven Blvd” on the left which brings up a general page touting the benefits of SBS. Nothing about past or future meetings or anything about Community Advisory Committees or how to get on one.

    If you think of hitting the “Keeping in Touch” button, it tells you how to join a mailing list. Not even a link to the DOT website which has more information if you can find it.

    Now let’s look at the DOT website. Nothing about SBS on the home page. We have two possibilities. On the left “Ferries and Buses” and on the bottom “Read Reports and Studies”.

    Let’s check the bottom link first. After a very long scroll to the bottom of the page, the only mention of SBS is a singular report on the Bx12.

    Now let’s click on “Ferries and Buses”, we finally see a tab for Select Bus Service. So we click on “Learn More” and we get a short page with several links: Routes, Bus Improvement Projects, Community Events, Select Bus Service Routes, Get Involved and Contact Us. Bus Improvement Projects gets us nothing. However if we hit “Routes” or “Select Bus Service Routes” we finally get the page we need to take us to the various documents.

    If you go to “Get Involved” you are given an address instructing you to write to an e-mail address to find out how to join a Community Advisory Committee. Well I did that and my e-mail was responded to without answering that question. So I called and my phone call was not returned.

    Now don’t you think they could have made it a little easier to access this information or respond to all your e-mail questions and phone calls if they really wanted your involvement? Aren’t those legitimate questions?

  84. So let me remind you that a huge majority (not 51%) of Woodhaven Blvd users are auto drivers

    Who are you counting there? Does it include pedestrians that cross the street? Walk alongside it? Are you just comparing bus ridership to auto volume? Care to share your numbers? I’ve had trouble finding much data on the corridor.

  85. That is one of the problems. DOT has shared zero data. They only say they have considered autos in their plans. Actually autos and trucks account for two-thirds of the vehicular volume. The vast majority of those are autos. DOT also has not shared any data regarding pedestrians that I could find.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that except for Liberty Avenue and Jamaica Avenue, every other intersection is a light pedestrian crossing. It is nothing like Queens Blvd where there are many heavy pedestrian crossings. That is because Woodhaven is mostly residential with only a few commercial blocks. Cross Bay is more commercial, but even there, the pedestrians crossings are not as heavy as on Queens Blvd.

  86. And how many steps does it take to get to the page you linked? Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier if they just added the three words “Select Bus Service” to the main page to directly get you to the page you linked?

  87. Total daily volumes don’t matter as much as peak hour volumes. If you’re fishing around for something keep an eye out for them.

  88. From anywhere on the MTA SBS page one click on the sidebar “Current & Planned SBS Routes”

    From the MTA home page, under getting there (right in the middle) click on “New York City Bus”, a menu pops up, click on Select Bus Service, then once on the sidebar for “Current & Planned SBS Routes”

  89. Now isn’t that a little ridiculous? I would never think to look under “Getting There” to find out about SBS. To me “getting there” means information about how to get somewhere. Did you see some of the other topics under “getting there”. Would you look there to find out about the Lost and Found, for example? Instead of “Getting There” something like “More Information About” would make more sense and be less misleading.

  90. Yeah, it’s almost as if SBS were one way to get somewhere!

    Seriously, where else on the MTA home page would you expect to go to get information about SBS? “New York City Bus” seems to me like the most logical place, and honestly, I had never even noticed that that section of the home page was headed “Getting There” until you pointed it out, because it’s front and center on the home page and obviously designed to attract your attention.

  91. He and I are both implicitly referring to numbers from a previous discussion, where it was said that there are about twice as many auto users as bus users on Woodhaven Boulevard. Pedestrians and cyclists are not being counted. (That’s mainly because the discussion has had to do with the allocation of motor vehicle lane space.)

  92. I can read just fine. Thank you.

    It doesn’t show.

    As I previously stated. You have no position, only a moving target. You just stated that you never proposed banning all private cars and taxicabs in Midtown Manhattan.

    However, previously you stated:

    Delivery traffic + emergency traffic wouldn’t require anywhere near the amount of space currently allocated to motor vehicles, even in midtown.

    And you further stated:

    Correct: There’s no right to use a taxicab.

    Then I asked you if we make exceptions by allowing limousines for superstars and their entourages. And you answered.

    Of course not.

    The only logical interpretations of those statements are that you propose banning motor vehicles, i.e. private cars, taxicabs and limousines in Midtown Manhattan.

    Wrong. There’s a difference between banning something and not allocating space for it.

    Now you have again switched your position saying that is not what you are proposing.

    Because it wasn’t, and that’s not a change in my position.

  93. No, that’s not what I’m saying, and I can’t imagine what in my language would make you think that it is.

    What I said is that increased pace of SBS implementation may have required a shift of limited planning resources away from the production of elaborate reports about the past and toward implementation for the future. (I’m not saying that this has happened – it’s just my conjecture as to what may have happened.)

    Or do you still believe that NYCT has “a staff of like 500 [bus] planners,” as you claimed in August 2013? http://bklyner.com/2013/08/mta-long-range-planning-part-2-of-2/#comment-1019551000

  94. It certainly does exist but it may not be open to the general public but only to Community Advisory Committee members.

    Then perhaps you should consider rescinding your announcement that “Final plans for Woodhaven Boulevard will be revealed to the public on March 11 at 11:30am in Queens Borough Hall – Room 213” before one of your readers shows up and discovers that she’s wasted her time.

  95. You often attribute overly simplistic statements to others. Where those statements are available publicly, they almost always contain quite a bit of nuance or complexity, which I think may go over your head. I’ve heard Trottenberg speak, and she recognizes that life often contains nuance and complexity. I suspect that, whatever words Trottenberg used, there was far more nuance and complexity than you acknowledge (or notice).

  96. Cry me a river. A fraction of 1% of the city land designated for motor vehicles has been redesignated in recent years for pedestrians or for cyclists or for specific classes of motor vehicles (such as buses only). That still leaves a heck of a lot of space behind for motorists.

    Your doom-and-gloom predictions of carmageddon have not come to fruition yet and I highly doubt they will come to fruition here. And even if I’m wrong, the city sometimes has higher priorities – believe it or not! – than moving motor vehicles quickly.

  97. “Getting There” is the major heading. NYC Bus is a subheading. That means you read “Getting There” first. Not my fault if you read backwards or if the website is poorly designed. Yes if I lost something on a bus and was looking to the “Lost and Found”, why wouldn’t “Getting There” be the first thing that enters my mind? “Getting there” implies maps, schedules, and travel directions, not the subheadings listed. However, maps, schedules and travel directions have their own headings. As I stated in my answer to ahwr, a more appropriate heading would be: “More Information About”.

  98. I will ask that the words “to the public” be stricken. However, I also stated that you are asked to RSVP by March 6th before attending, so any non-committee members should be told when they call, that they are not invited.

  99. It sounds like you are asking that we should be able to read someone’s mind when they are speaking. In November, when she spoke she stated that $200 million was a low ball estimate for full BRT on Woodhaven Blvd. When she spoke in February, she used the same figure, but said nothing about it being a low ball estimate. So I guess if I only heard her speak in February, I was supposed to read the nuance in her voice that full BRT actually could cost much more providing the funds become available.

    She is just plain misleading. Look at how she answered the question during the discussion of Woodhaven Boulevard how much SBS will cost? She said that past SBS routes cost an average of $10 million each. However, I believe $28 million is budgeted for Woodhaven SBS. Why would she give an average figure for past projects when Woodhaven will cost three times the average? Am I supposed to read the nuance in her voice that costs for past projects are not an indication of future costs?

  100. Fair enough. We will see when and if a report comes out and how elaborate it actually is, i.e. if traffic conditions on parallel streets are considered, or if any ridership figures for the B49 are given because the B44 SBS is stealing B49 passengers along Rogers Avenue, or if the B49 is not even mentioned when an increase in B44 passengers is cited.

    If the latter is the case, I am sure you will stick up for the MTA and state any B49 passenger decreases were so minimal and could have been caused by other factors so there was no reason to include any B49 statistics.

  101. Don’t be funny. You know that I was speaking about the Rockaway Beach Line instead of Woodhaven. They at least could have compared full BRT on Woodhaven to BRT on the Rockaway Beach Line. The costs may be similar. But not even that was done.

    As far as the B44 SBS, I made several suggestions how to improve it by considering altering other local bus routes and operating a branch of the SBS to Kingsborough so that SBS buses south of Avenue W do not operate with only six passengers per bus during rush hours. Neither proposal was given any attention. Promises to study alternative suggestions were broken. I was promised a response in three months. That was a year and a half ago.

  102. I think you’re completely missing the point of the image.

    “Jirg’s image shows a pedestrian crossing an intersection, but instead of a crosswalk, the walker is on a plank of wood;instead of providing safe passage in front of cars, the plank spans a rather deep looking chasm. On a nearby sidewalk, you see pedestrians sharing a narrow space between buildings and the ominous hole. A small child tugging at a woman’s hand to run ahead toward the intersection takes on a new sense of danger considering the abyss just a wrong step away.”

    Yes, the sidewalks are narrow, but that’s only the start of it. The narrow sidewalks are on wide streets, and they offer no protection against a slight misstep that will certainly lead to instant death. The rickety planks provide access across the street, except when they collapse.

    We could design our streets so that slight missteps don’t lead to loss of life. We could demand that our motorists respect the right of way of the pedestrians and cyclists whose paths they cross and hold them responsible when they don’t. But that would require that motorists slow down and look out for others – in particular, those who are not protected by cages of steel.

    Not only is it not a lie, it happens to be a very astute depiction of how we treat our streets. No, it’s not perfect – it does not, for instance, show trucks or police cars parked on the sidewalk.

    As for your “overdevelopment” remark, it’s only overdevelopment from the perspective of accommodating large quantities of private motor vehicles, which take up lots and lots of space. From the perspective of pedestrians and transit riders, high density development is good, and I want to see far more of it, not less of it, given how little of it already exists anywhere in North America. But if we then take this high density development and attempt to accommodate large quantities of private motor vehicles, we end up accommodating neither.

  103. However much public space should be allocated to private motor vehicles, the fact remains that private motor vehicles are currently allocated a hugely disproportionate share of that public space and will continue to be allocated a hugely disproportionate share even if DOT implements the most ambitious SBS layouts imaginable on each of the next 50 SBS corridors.

    And as long as private motor vehicles are allocated so much space, it’s more than a little disingenuous for you to whine that motorists are being ignored.

    I’m not sure why you bring it up, but you make a good case for designating a good deal of our street space for delivery vehicles only, so that they can avoid traffic jams caused by too many private cars. But somehow I don’t think that was your intent.

  104. Your first point was streets need to be allocated strictly according to usage

    It was? I must have missed that. Link or quotation?

  105. Many users of Woodhaven Boulevard do not live in the community. Why shouldn’t they also have a say how the street is being redesigned?

    Pretty rich how this is coming from someone who lives on a peninsula with no through traffic aside from traffic to and from Kingsborough Community College.

  106. When those devastating bus service cuts were made in 1975, th MTA justified it as being insignificant because with bus service cut from every 2 minutes to every 4 minutes, all that will happen is that bus passengers will have to wait up two minutes longer for a bus.

    I doubt that. Sounds to me like another Allan Rosen Oversimplification. You may have missed some nuance or complexity.

    Here’s what the New York Times said about it on March 15, 1975 (“Subway and Bus Service Faces Cuts as Riders Fall”), citing MTA Chairman David Yunich: “There will not be ‘an arbitrary across-the-board cut in services.’ Instead, the ridership on each route is being analyzed to determine the reductions.” I see a bit of nuance and complexity there.

    If you have a source for an MTA claim that the 1975 cuts were “insignificant,” please present it.

  107. Assuming the person answering the phone was checking off names from a master list rather than taking down names to be later cross-referenced.

  108. I’m not asking you to read anybody’s mind. I’m asking you to recognize that complex thoughts can rarely be boiled down to soundbites. If you think you’ve captured somebody’s position on a complex issue in a soundbite, you probably got it wrong.

  109. If and when the report is released, I will read it and then form my opinions.

    It’s strange how you say that the B44 is “stealing” B49 passengers. It’s one transit system; there’s no theft. Odd choice of words.

  110. Don’t be funny. You know that I was speaking about the Rockaway Beach Line instead of Woodhaven.

    Actually, I presented your thoughts on the SBS program in 2010. You countered that you were referring specifically to the B44, even though, as I pointed out in response, your comments were largely generic of corridor. How did we then get to Woodhaven?

  111. It would make no sense to cross reference names later. You are going to confirm someone’s reservation, then call him back later and cancel that reservation or not call him back at all and reject him at the door? That would just be wrong. Of course DOT and the MTA can’t do anything wrong.

  112. Well, everything we hear or read in the news are sound bites. Guess we can’t trust any of it.

    Guess when Richard Nixon declared, “I am not a crook” it was just a position on a complex issue and he was really telling the truth. Also guess when people believed that George H. W. Bush declared “Read my lips. No new Taxes,” he wasn’t lying either when he raised taxes. He never promised not to raise them. It was just a complex thought that the media boiled down to a sound bite, and the entire country got a false impression.

    No matter how you try to spin it when someone tells a lie, it is still a lie.

  113. As I said, I never read “Getting There” first. I had never noticed it until you pointed it out.

  114. I say “stealing” because someone who now has the choice of the B49 or B44 SBS may take the B44 SBS not because it is better, but simply because it was the first bus that arrived and he didn’t want to take his chances waiting for a bus unsure of when it may arrive.

    Also, aren’t buses in competition with each other and doesn’t the MTA base its service levels on ridership? If ridership goes down on the B49 because of the B44 SBS, and it most certainly will, then service will be reduced for all B49 passengers, even those who do not have a choice between the B44 and B49.

    So although it may be one system when looking at total revenue and all the routes, the competition between bus routes makes “stealing” a perfectly appropriate word to use in this case.

  115. First of all, I don’t think anyone is interested. Second, I do not remember how long ago I made that comment and in what context, but I am sure you have that information. I believe I was saying something about Operations Planning having greatly expanded and that when I was there, there were only 35 employees in Operations Planning and now there are about 500. They have since included Schedules which accounted for much of the increase.

    As you know, planners do not plan in a vacuum and work with schedulers and data research people. Or are you saying that is not the case? So for you to take a number from the service planning box of 23 and compare it with 500 is quite misleading. There are 279 positions in Operations Planning and another 189 part-time positions which comes very close to 500.

  116. Who said we are talking only of commuters? Plenty people use Woodhaven Blvd for purposes other than just commuting. While only 40% may commute to work by car, if 80% of the households own a car, that car is not sitting idle most of the time. If it is not being used for commuting, there is a good chance it is being used for something else. So I think the more relevant figure here is the one I cited, the car ownership figure, than the one you cited, those who use transit to commute.

  117. We got to Woodhaven by you mistakenly accusing me that I proposed we use the Rockaway Beach Line as an alternative to the B44 SBS, which is utterly ridiculous since I never stated or implied that. I responded because I thought you were making a joke which is why I said “Don’t be funny.” Don’t tell me you were being serious.

  118. I say he is in the minority of those who are helped because he is making a long trip. MTA stated that the average B44 passenger makes a short trip of 2.3 miles. I have not said anything that is inconsistent so I don’t have to make up my mind. (Don’t forget to invert that statement when you quote me saying that I have already made up my mind.)

  119. I know I responded to this already but disqus has lost several comments an hour or two after they were posted. So here goes again. Don’t give me this fraction of one percent crap. Generalities like that mean nothing. It’s like saying there is no problem with terrorism because a fraction of a tenth of a percent of the people are terrorists. Or murder is not a problem because a very small percent of people are murdered.Talk specific streets and specific traffic volumes, not fractions of one percent.

    Regarding my “gloom and doom predictions of carmageddon” let me enlighten you as to what I really said. I stated that the B44 SBS will be totally different than previous SBS corridors. I said traffic would be greatly impacted but that there were ways to deal with it like by banning parking on parallel roadways Crown Heights during rush hours to accommodate the displaced traffic. I said if that were done, I would not have any opposition to the exclusive bus lanes there. I also said that the ones in Sheepshead Bay simply were not necessary and that traffic would be unnecessarily slowed if cars didn’t temporarily swerve into the bus lane when someone makes a left turn in front of them, which is probably exactly what happens that prevents “carmeggedon.”

    As far as Woodhaven is concerned, I stated that the impacts to automobile traffic there will be much greater than in any other corridor because it is the only one where there are no parallel roadways to handle the displaced traffic.

    And what could be a higher priority than moving motor vehicles quickly? Slowing down motor vehicles so they move half as fast and trip times double, while providing no benefit to bus riders because during the off-peak buses are already moving at their maximum speed without exclusive lanes.

    During the peaks bus riders who account for 33% of the road users will save 10 to 15 minutes, while the other 67% of the road users will lose 20 to 30 minutes. But as someone else stated whom you agreed with, only the bus riders need to be considered. Guess you believe that slowing cars down to an average speed of 15 mph on a major arterial and adding 20 or 30 minutes to their trip is a good thing.

  120. And what could be a higher priority than moving motor vehicles quickly?

    OMG OMG OMG OMG ALERT THE MEDIA!!! Allan Rosen finally admits he doesn’t give a shit about anything except moving automobiles!

    Allan, apparently you haven’t kept up since you got your planning degree. Traffic and transportation planning no longer consist entirely of making sure automobile traffic moves quickly and letting other modes take the leavings.

  121. You’re the one who’s said repeatedly that without data, we can’t know whether more people are helped or hurt by SBS, and yet here you are asserting that a “small minority of riders” are helped. Which is it?

  122. The idea of turning all roads into pedestrian malls

    …is a red herring that you dreamt up Thursday morning.

    To be fair, I think he dreamt up this particular red herring quite a while ago. He’s just resurrecting it here.

  123. You:

    If you check car ownership figures for zip codes adjacent to Woodhaven Boulevard, you will find that at least 80% of the households own cars

    Andrew’s reference:

    43% of households do not own a car

    100 minus 43 is 57, not 80.

  124. Why are you claiming that one third of peak hour Woodhaven users are on buses? Do you have data on hourly ridership/motor vehicle volumes? Or are you trying to say over the course of the day bus users are 1/3 of road users, and during the peak when they are some unknown share of road users they will save x minutes….? And still pulling numbers out of thin air about the claimed traffic impact?

  125. So by stealing you mean you want the B49 ridership numbers as high as possible to justify relatively frequent service to your cul de sac? Anyone who switches buses hurts you in a way don’t they? You know what else hurts bus ridership? Cars. If there were fewer cars, there would be more B49 buses. You know a good way to make sure there’s frequent bus service to your home? Live in a densely populated transit corridor, not a cul de sac.

  126. Hourly bus volumes are harder to come by. If you assume each bus is filled about equally, it’s 56% auto/44% bus riders in the morning peak hour (7-8), but back to 67% auto/33% bus riders in the afternoon peak hour (5-6). It’s more likely that buses are more crowded during the peak hours and the percent of bus riders is higher.

  127. Does that take into account typical auto occupancy rates? NYMTC puts it at mean 1.6 for auto trips with origin in NYC outside of Manhattan and departure during peak (6-10am, 4-8pm). If you have anything more corridor or time specific that would be nice to see. Are the auto numbers just traffic counts at the highest volume point on the corridor?

  128. So by stealing you mean you want the B49 ridership numbers as high as possible to justify relatively frequent service to your cul de sac?

    Actually, I meant nothing of the sort. I was talking about those living along Ocean Avenue between Foster Avenue and Emmons Avenue.

    You know a good way to make sure there’s frequent bus service to your home? Live in a densely populated transit corridor, not a cul de sac.

    Actually the service on my cul de sac is quite frequent becasue of the college. At least it is scheduled that way. Reliability is another issue as is overcrowding and not in service buses.

    Explain what you mean that if there were fewer cars, there would be more B49 buses because I don’t see the connection.

  129. What congestion are you referring to? Pedestrian congestion? Is that the only congestion you are interested in? Shows a bias huh? Hate to break it to you, but when most everyone uses the term “congestion” they are referring to congestion caused by motor vehicles and that includes congestion caused by buses and trucks also. No bias here.

    And yes traffic signals are not the only means of regulating traffic at intersections. There are also stop signs. Neither of which there are on limited access highways. So even if you have a boulevard without congestion, it still will move a hell of a lot slower than a highway, and will take you two or three times the time and that is the entire point.

    However, you don’t care at all how long it takes anyone to get somewhere by car because drivers don’t matter to you. Your only concerns are pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit riders. No one else matters to you. To me that is A REAL BIAS. You know what? How long it takes to get somewhere by car matters to a hell of a lot of people, people you feel shouldn’t exist in the first place.

  130. And who said, I was using Andrew’s reference from the DOT report?

    To get the 80%, I was using this reference:

    http://www.nycedc.com/blog-entry/new-yorkers-and-cars

    I think it is more reliable. Why should I believe an unreferenced statement in a DOT report? Guess DOT never heard of providing footnotes. They expect us to believe anything they say. Without a reference their figures are worthless. And please don’t tell me it is up to me to ask them for a reference. It is their job to provide one. Just because DOT says something does not make it automatically true. This is the same agency that sent out a memo referring to Monday March 11, 2015 and had to retract it when informed of the error.

  131. Actually it was a conglomeration of census tracts, not zip codes and I wasn’t doing the counting. See my response above to fdtutf.

  132. Of course you think it’s more reliable — you think it supports your point! I don’t really agree; for one thing, it’s not easy to pick out specific locations in that map, so while you think the neighborhoods shown with household car ownership rates of 80% and above are adjacent to Woodhaven, I don’t think you can really see that unless you really want to. Which, of course, you do.

    Who would know better than the DOT what the car ownership rates are in a corridor they’re studying?

    Where’s the reference that supports that map?

  133. What congestion are you referring to? Pedestrian congestion? Is that the only congestion you are interested in? Shows a bias huh? Hate to break it to you, but when most everyone uses the term “congestion” they are referring to congestion caused by motor vehicles and that includes congestion caused by buses and trucks also. No bias here.

    Where do I even begin?

    1. When I said, “Slower speeds do not per se cause congestion,” I was, of course, referring to motor vehicle traffic congestion, as the context made crystal-clear. Once again your reading skills, or lack thereof, are undermining you.

    2. I wasn’t referring to a bias related to your use of the word “congestion,” obviously; I was referring to a bias related to your use of the word “traffic.” So your whole entire rant makes exactly zero sense.

    And yes traffic signals are not the only means of regulating traffic at intersections. There are also stop signs.

    Still not an exhaustive list.

    Neither of which there are on limited access highways.

    Thanks, because of course I had no idea what a limited-access highway was! Duh.

    So even if you have a boulevard without congestion, it still will move a hell of a lot slower than a highway, and will take you two or three times the time and that is the entire point.

    That depends entirely on how the boulevard is constructed, the number of intersections, etc. Certainly “two or three times the time” is far from a hard and fast rule. It might take 25-30% longer, or it might take more than three times the time.

    And that is the entire point — if all you care about is moving motor vehicles. As I told you recently in another comment, that’s no longer how transportation planning is done. You’re behind the times.

    However, you don’t care at all how long it takes anyone to get somewhere by car because drivers don’t matter to you. Your only concerns are pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit riders. No one else matters to you. To me that is A REAL BIAS. You know what? How long it takes to get somewhere by car matters to a hell of a lot of people, people you feel shouldn’t exist in the first place.

    But of course only caring about motorists is not A REAL BIAS because it’s your own personal point of view, right? I see how this works.

    As I’ve said before, your REAL BIAS has held sway for decades in transportation planning both in New York and in the rest of the country. It’s time for some balance, and I’m not ashamed of arguing in favor of that balance.

  134. Explain what you mean that if there were fewer cars, there would be more B49 buses because I don’t see the connection.

    AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A PLANNER?!?!?

  135. Every single one of the areas on that map served by the Q52/Q53 is shaded in the 60.01%-80% and 40.01%-60% colors. There is no chance in hell that that map supports your 80% claim. The only 80%+ areas are Rosedale, Little Neck, Bayside, and most of Staten Island.

    The map is, however, perfectly consistent with DOT’s 57% claim.

    I suspect that DOT simply ran a GIS query to identify all of the census tracts within a 15-minute walk of the Q52/Q53 and looked up the overall car ownership rate. Oh, wait, they didn’t have GIS in 1974, so that must not be a valid technique.

  136. Explain what you mean that if there were fewer cars, there wou ld be more B49 buses because I don’t see the connection.

    Wow.

    If fewer people have cars, then more people rely on transit. More people riding transit translates to more frequent service.

    If fewer people have cars, then (all else being equal) there is less traffic congestion. With less traffic congestion, bus service is faster and more reliable, which attracts ridership, which translates to more frequent service.

    If fewer people have cars, then fewer people whine incessantly whenever a bus lane is formed in order to ease the passage of buses through a chokepoint. If buses can get through a chokepoint more easily, service is faster and more reliable, which attracts ridership, which translates to more frequent service.

    If fewer people have cars, then fewer people oppose increased transit funding. Increased transit funding brings better transit service.

    I could go on. This is … pretty elementary stuff.

  137. You assuming that there’s some sort of highly formalized registration process, rather than somebody simply jotting down a list of names.

    If nobody expected this meeting to be publicized broadly, what’s the need for a formalized registration process?

  138. I say “stealing” because someone who now has the choice of the B49 or B44 SBS may take the B44 SBS not because it is better, but simply because it was the first bus that arrived and he didn’t want to take his chances waiting for a bus unsure of when it may arrive.

    When two routes share a corridor, they also share some portion of the ridership. I’m afraid I’m having trouble seeing the problem with that. Does the B1 also steal riders from the B49, or vice versa, along Oriental Boulevard? Or are they simply two different services that, for some origin-destination pairs, are substitutes for one another? If some B49 riders now find the B44 SBS a useful alternative, they’re entitled to take advantage of it, either by waiting for it explicitly or by taking whichever bus pulls up first.

    Also, aren’t buses in competition with each other and doesn’t the MTA base its service levels on ridership? If ridership goes down on the B49 because of the B44 SBS, and it most certainly will, then service will be reduced for all B49 passengers, even those who do not have a choice between the B44 and B49.

    Not necessarily. The MTA bases its service levels on ridership at the peak load point, not on total line ridership. If B49 ridership at the peak load point has dropped, service may be reduced in the next round of adjustments. But if B49 ridership at the peak load point has remained steady even as total line ridership has dropped, service levels won’t be changed.

  139. If your news sources present you with sound bites, I suggest you find yourself a new news source.

    Excellent example of sound bites from Nixon and Bush. Thanks for making my point. Was Polly Trottenberg defending herself in front of a national televised audience, or was she addressing a far smaller and highly targeted audience of New Yorkers with the shared goal of improving the city’s transportation system?

  140. First of all, I don’t think anyone is interested.

    Speak for yourself. As I write this, my post has two upvotes, so at least two people are apparently interested. And you wrote two paragraphs in response, so it appears that you are also interested, your protestations notwithstanding.

    Second, I do not remember how long ago I made that comment and in what context, but I am sure you have that information.

    I posted the link yesterday morning. http://bklyner.com/2013/08/mta-long-range-planning-part-2-of-2/#comment-1019551000

    You insisted in August 2013 that “they have a staff of like 500 planners.” Your count was just a wee bit off, dontcha think?

    I believe I was saying something about Operations Planning having greatly expanded and that when I was there, there were only 35 employees in Operations Planning and now there are about 500. They have since included Schedules which accounted for much of the increase.

    No, that isn’t what you were saying. Here’s what you were saying: “As for not comprehensively reviewing the bus network regularly, they have a staff of like 500 planners. But they will hire an outside consultant to do a comprehensive study which can be done in house just by soliciting bus drivers and community boards to get ideas if hey don’t have any themselves. Besides money is not the reason these studies are not done. The MTA believes they are a waste of money because the last few thy did resulted in no changes because the communities did not like the proposed changes because they were not very good ones and the MTA refused to make necessary changes.”

    As you know, planners do not plan in a vacuum and work with schedulers and data research people. Or are you saying that is not the cas e? So for you to take a number from the service planning box of 23 and compare it with 500 is quite misleading. There are 279 positions in Operations Planning and another 189 part-time positions which comes very close to 500.

    Planners work with all sorts of people. NYCT planners work with pretty much every other department at NYCT; does that mean that we should count every NYCT employee as a planner? NYCT planners work with staff at other agencies and elected officials and members of the public; are they all planners as well?

    None of the part-time OP employees are planners; all but one are presumably traffic checkers (the one oddball is listed as “Administrative & Clerical” – perhaps a secretary?). Are they planners?

    However many of the full-time staff are at all involved in planning, it’s clear that there’s a core group of 23 for whom planning is the focus. And that’s split between bus and subway. They don’t have the time to stop what they’re doing and respond to each and every little question or nitpick posed by a disgruntled retiree whose only mission is to throw roadblocks in the path of faster and more reliable bus service so that he can be sure to preserve the ability to drive his car quickly through other people’s neighborhoods.

  141. Where did I say that we were talking only of commuters? I gave two numbers – the percentage of car-free households (43%, not 20%) and the percentage of residents who commute by transit.

    By the way, if you’re assuming that every car owner is necessarily steadfastly opposed to SBS, you’re quite wrong. As a lower bound, I suspect that the 60% of transit commuters have an interest in better transit service, whether through SBS or through other means.

  142. Timeline:

    March 2, 2:40 pm: You claimed that you have an open mind about SBS.

    March 2, 10:18 pm: I posted a link to your thoughts on the SBS program in 2010.
    March 2, 10:32 pm: You insisted that those thoughts were highly specific to the B44.

    March 3, 5:39 pm: I countered that most of your thoughts were generic to SBS.
    March 4, 9:56 am: Out of nowhere, you brought up BRT on the Rockaway Beach Line.
    March 8, 12:45 pm: I questioned the relevance of BRT on the Rockaway Beach Line to your supposedly B44-specific remarks of 2010.

    March 8, 1:55 pm: You brought Woodhaven into the picture.

    I ask again, how did we get to Woodhaven? I’m not the one who brought us there.

  143. Don’t give me this fraction of one percent crap. Generalities like that mean nothing. It’s like saying there is no problem with terrorism because a fraction of a tenth of a percent of the people are terrorists. Or murder is not a problem because a very small percent of people are murdered.

    No, it’s like complaining that your mommy doesn’t care about you anymore because she reduced your allowance from $5 to $4.99 in order to increase your brother’s allowance from $1 to $1.01.

    To be polite, it’s puerile nonsense.

    Regarding my “gloom and doom predictions of carmageddon” let me enlig hten you as to what I really said. I stated that the B44 SBS will be totally different than previous SBS corridors. I said traffic would be greatly impacted but that there were ways to deal with it like by banning parking on parallel roadways Crown Heights during rush hours to accommodate the displaced traffic. I said if that were done, I would not have any opposition to the exclusive bus lanes there. I also said that the ones in Sheepshead Bay simply were not necessary and that traffic would be unnecessarily slowed if cars didn’t temporarily swerve into the bus lane when someone makes a left turn in front of them, which is probably exactly what happens that prevents “carmeggedon.”

    Whoops, you forgot to mention your rants about the carmageddon on the M15 and the S79, neither of which is supported by the data. (And you will now go ahead and repeat those rants, I trust?)

    And what could be a higher priority than moving motor vehicles quickly?

    There are lots of potential answers, depending on the setting.

    “Faster and more reliable bus service” and “Safer streets for pedestrians and drivers” are two priorities cited for Woodhaven SBS specifically that might (or might not) conflict with your desire to move motor vehicles quickly.

    Other potential answers (some of which may also apply on Woodhaven, some of which likely do not) include safer facilities for cyclists, reduced sidewalk congestion, reduced air and/or noise pollution, more green space, and public seating, to name a few.

    Your desire to pass through somebody else’s neighborhood at high speed does not trump its own residents’ needs.

    During the peaks bus riders who account for 33% of the road users will save 10 to 15 minutes, while the other 67% of the road users will lose 20 to 30 minutes. But as someone else stated whom you agreed with, only the bus riders need to be considered. Guess you believe that slowing cars down to an average speed of 15 mph on a major arterial and adding 20 or 30 minutes to their trip is a good thing.

    You made up those numbers. (Again.)

  144. I’m not sure which NYMTC number you are referring to, could you share a link?

    A problem with the traffic count you are using is it misses people who don’t use the road at that point, so it isn’t really comparable to the bus numbers is it?

  145. And how do you propose there should be fewer cars? Make it more expensive to own and drive a car I presume? So let’s assume you do that so people who now drive on Ocean Avenue are forced to rely on mass transit, even though their destination may be nowhere on the B49 route or on a route it transfers to, not to mention that the B49 will take them twice as long as by car.

    So we have fewer cars and the buses travel slightly quicker. The buses still have to stop at traffic lights and bus stops slowing them while the traffic signals are synchronized for cars moving at a steady speed. So you end the synchronization to further discourage auto traffic, which does nothing to speed the buses. So then comes the panacea of SBS to speed buses even more, but that still doesn’t help the driver whose destination is not along the B49, or needs multiple transfers or to travel at night when headways are every 60 minutes. How many more riders would you need at night to decrease the sixty minute B49 headway at night?

    If you take away someone’s car, chances are he will be on the subway, not the B49 anyway.And you say is it is elementary that with fewer cars there would be faster and better B49 service. Nice theory, but you have no proof it would actually happen.

    The way to improve mass transit service is to improve it. Not to reduce someones options by making it more expensive to own a car and slow down auto trips so that bus travel is more of a competitive choice.

  146. If some B49 riders now find the B44 SBS a useful alternative, they’re entitled to take advantage of it, either by waiting for it explicitly or by taking whichever bus pulls up first.

    Certainly. However, the MTA is using increased ridership as a measure to judge success of SBS routes. If some of that increased ridership is merely the result of people switching from the B49 to the B44 simply because the B44 arrived first, that is no reflection of B44 SBS success. It needs to be factored out.

    Similarly, in Rockaway the MTA is contemplating extending the Q52 into Far Rockaway which will undoubtedly increase ridership. However, they are waiting to make the change at the same time SBS or BRT is instituted. That way they can attribute the increased ridership from the route extension to SBS/BRT because there will be no way to determine how much of the increase due to the extension and how much was due to SBS/BRT.

  147. And how do you propose there should be fewer cars? Make it more expensive to own and drive a car I presume?

    They’re the ones with the higher incomes — you said so yourself — so they can afford it. What’s the problem?

    The way to improve mass transit service is to improve it. Not to reduce someones options by making it more expensive to own a car and slow down auto trips so that bus travel is more of a competitive choice.

    What specific improvements would you make to mass transit — especially on a line that currently only justifies a 60-minute headway at night — to make it more attractive than automobile travel?

  148. Here again you are just all over the place.

    When I asked you what congestion are you referring to, pedestrian congestion?, I was responding to your criticism of me that I was using the term to only signify traffic congestion and that somehow portrays a bias on my part. No way does using the term congestion to mean motor vehicle congestion denote any bias. You also used the term to denote motor vehicle congestion.

    Now you say you weren’t referring to the use of the term congestion, but the use of the word “traffic.” So how does the use of the word “traffic” indicate any bias?

    That depends entirely on how the boulevard is constructed, the number of intersections, etc. Certainly “two or three times the time” is far from a hard and fast rule. It might take 25-30% longer, or it might take more than three times the time.

    It depends more on the length of someone’s trip. A boulevard may take 25 to 30% longer if traveling a few miles. However, when traveling any considerable distance like 30 miles from Southern Brooklyn to Nassau County which would involve the Belt Parkway and Southern State, it would take two or three times as long if someone had to rely on a boulevard like Linden Boulevard to make that trip if it existed as a wide boulevard between those two places.

    But of course only caring about motorists…

    Quit making up lies. Don’t twist asking for fairness into caring only about motorists. We had this conversation before. I even counted up my pro-mass transit articles and my pro automobile articles, and the pro mass transit articles outnumbered the pro auto articles by at least three to one.

    You are the one with a REAL BIAS, not me. You stated that pedestrians have the God-given right to walk wherever and whenever they please and no one has the right to take a taxicab. I never called driving a car a God-given right or stated no one should have the right to ride a bike. So if you want to look for someone who is biased, don’t look past your own nose.

  149. What I said is that I would sooner trust a reference with a source than one without a source such as the DOT reference,

    The map clearly states the information is from the census.

  150. Weren’t you the one who keeps saying the majority of New York City households do not own a car, so they are the only ones who matter? So let me take a chapter out of your book and remind you since the majority of households in southern Queens near Woodhaven do own a car, they are the only ones who matter.

    Of course both statements are ridiculous because everyone matters.

  151. Yes, you said 43% of households within a 15 minute walk of Woodhaven Blvd/ Cross Bay Blvds do not own cars and 60% commute by transit. My point was that the car ownership figure is more relevant because someone who owns a car and still commutes by transit still uses his car for other trips on the Woodhaven corridor at least some of the time.

    Additionally, I do not know why we are limiting ourselves to just the Woodhaven Corridor since a large portion of Woodhaven Corridor users do not live in the Woodhaven Corridor.

    I would think 100% of transit commuters have an interest in better transit.

  152. I would greatly appreciate it if you would not take what I said out of context to give a false and misleading impression. But why should I expect anything else from you? You could have at least used an ellipsis.

    This was my complete context.

    And what could be a higher priority than moving motor vehicles quickly? Slowing down motor vehicles so they move half as fast and trip times double, while providing no benefit to bus riders because during the off-peak buses are already moving at their maximum speed without exclusive lanes.

    You have a problem with that complete statement?

    Or is your entire purpose to distort and give false impressions to support your misguided views? Objectivity is obviously not in your vocabulary.

  153. I would expect no less than a timeline from you. You didn’t disappoint.

    The article you referred to from 2010 was specifically about the B44 as I said. It was not a critique of the SBS program so your premise that I made up my mind about the SBS program in 2010 is just absurd.

    Other routes may have been mentioned in that article just as a point of reference with sentences like Unlike the M15, the B44 is different, (to paraphrase). So your statement that most of my thoughts were generic is also untrue.

    If I brought up Woodhaven, it was relevant to something you said. But for you to contend that I was suggesting the RBL as an alternative to the B44, is utterly ridiculous.

    You have to make up things since you can’t deal with the facts.

  154. You say you are not changing your position that you are not banning cars, just not allowing space for them. At the same time you believe no one has a right to use a taxi so you are not allowing space for them either. Damn anyone in a wheelchair. We know every subway station is handicapped accessible. Then I asked you if you will make an exception by allowing limousines for superstars and you answered “Of course not.” But you are not banning them, just not allowing any room for them.

    So by not allowing any room for private vehicles you are hoping they will magically disappear and all those who formerly used them will now be able to crowd into already overcrowded subway trains. Because if the traffic doesn’t disappear, Manhattan will be one giant gridlock. I just hope I don’t need an ambulance or fire engine in your perfect world. But the sidewalks will be a little less crowded. That is all that matters.

  155. Now I’m confused. Which bus number is being used? A peak load point figure? Or ridership numbers that count everyone who uses a Woodhaven corridor bus? I assumed the latter, in which case a comparable number for MV volumes wouldn’t be a traffic count at just one point.

  156. You’ve brought up emergency vehicles more than once now. Wouldn’t a transitway do wonders for response times?

  157. So we take every street with a bus route on it and give the bus its own lane so it can move faster and we double the travel times of anyone using cars and taxis. That will ensure that people will stop using cars and taxis and switch to buses. Is that what you think would happen?

    Do you even care why some of those people are not in buses now? Could it be that they need two or three buses and that they may have to wait it 30 minutes for them? Or the bus doesn’t even go where they need to go or the route is indirect? You are assuming SBS solves the bus reliability problem. Well it doesn’t. The M15 is known to have three SBS buses or three locals coming at once as is the B44. And before you start blaming private cars for delaying buses, most of the traffic in midtown are either taxis, trucks, double parked trucks, buses, utility vehicles doing construction and blocking a lane or government vehicles.

    And where is the subway capacity that is going to handle the additional riders. Overcrowding is the chief cause of subway delays. You are talking theory again and oversimplifying a complex situation.

  158. Can you not envision a more developed system of TSP than what is typically used elsewhere that modifies signal cycles in real time to minimize or eliminate the amount of time a bus has to wait at a red light?

    I mentioned cars with a few general things in mind. Car congestion slows down buses that are running if they share road space, and even if not unless there is grade separation to ensure flow of space inefficient cars traffic lights that serve buses poorly are used widely, hurting buses even when they have their own lane. Even if demand for travel on a corridor is high, demand for transit service can be low if driving is so well accommodated, so that fewer buses are run. Then those who are unable or unwilling to drive are poorly served. Look at a couple areas where rail lines have been proposed but not built, since you seem to question that anyone currently in a car would switch to a bus. RBB and Triboro Rx. You have Woodhaven, the Van Wyck competing with RBB for potential riders. And the belt, BQE, Grand Central, and cross bronx competing with Triboro Rx.

    How much would potential ridership on each increase if some of those roads were removed? And how much would ridership be hurt if more lanes were added like on the Kosciuszko?

    Specifically to the B49, if fewer people along the route owned a car, wouldn’t some of them be likely to use the bus from time to time? If enough people stopped driving wouldn’t you see more B49s run? Taken further you might even see some new routes too.

  159. O. M. G. Where do I begin?

    Here again you are just all over the place.

    When I asked you what congestion are you referring to, pedestrian congestion?, I was responding to your criticism of me that I was using the term to only signify traffic congestion and that somehow portrays a bias on my part. No way does using the term congestion to mean motor vehicle congestion denote any bias. You also used the term to denote motor vehicle congestion.

    Now you say you weren’t referring to the use of the term congestion, but the use of the word “traffic.” So how does the use of the word “traffic” indicate any bias?

    You misunderstood my criticism, or didn’t bother to try to understand it. It was always clear to anybody who was paying attention that I was criticizing your use of “traffic” to refer exclusively to motor vehicle traffic, as if pedestrians and cyclists were not part of the traffic whose needs must also be met.

    Simply using the word “traffic” isn’t the issue; it’s the way you use it that’s the problem.

    It depends more on the length of someone’s trip. A boulevard may take 25 to 30% longer if traveling a few miles. However, when traveling any considerable distance like 30 miles from Southern Brooklyn to Nassau County which would involve the Belt Parkway and Southern State, it would take two or three times as long if someone had to rely on a boulevard like Linden Boulevard to make that trip if it existed as a wide boulevard between those two places.

    For approximately the seventeen zillionth time: Where do these numbers come from?

    Quit making up lies. Don’t twist asking for fairness into caring only about motorists. We had this conversation before. I even counted up my pro-mass transit articles and my pro automobile articles, and the pro mass transit articles outnumbered the pro auto articles by at least three to one.

    You are the one with a REAL BIAS, not me. You stated that pedestrians have the God-given right to walk wherever and whenever they please and no one has the right to take a taxicab. I never called driving a car a God-given right or stated no one should have the right to ride a bike. So if you want to look for someone who is biased, don’t look past your own nose.

    In this recent comment, RIPTA42 put it at least as well as I ever could:

    No one is ignoring the needs of drivers. The goal is to balance everyone’s needs, whereas the present situation ignores the needs of all but the drivers.

    I’m not necessarily serious about reducing the numbers of lanes in Midtown to only what is needed for delivery, emergency, and handicapped traffic (the last two components are, incidentally, extremely small), but it is a useful thought experiment that you’re not willing to take seriously because of your pro-motorist bias. I’m still waiting for you to explain exactly why, in a moral sense, some people are entitled to take up several times as much space as everyone else just because they’re in motor vehicles.

  160. No, it doesn’t. The article does, by implication, which I admit I missed, but that’s precisely because I was looking at the map itself, expecting a reference there.

  161. Of course both statements are ridiculous because everyone matters.

    Agreed, but your writing makes clear that you think that, where needs and priorities conflict, motorists must always win. That’s not really consistent with an “everyone matters” orientation.

  162. Additionally, I do not know why we are limiting ourselves to just the Woodhaven Corridor since a large portion of Woodhaven Corridor users do not live in the Woodhaven Corridor.

    Good point. Since motorists from any part of the city are likely to be using Woodhaven [1], and since motorists are in the minority in the city as a whole, let’s prioritize transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists on Woodhaven.

    Are you ever able to not move the goalposts?

    I would think 100% of transit commuters have an interest in better transit.

    Again your reading comprehension is giving you problems. Andrew said:

    As a lower bound, I suspect that the 60% of transit commuters have an interest in better transit service, whether through SBS or through other means.

    Since he said “the 60% of transit commuters,” it’s plain that he was referring to the statistic that he previously quoted, that 60% of residents in the Woodhaven corridor commute by transit.

    [1] I’m kidding, obviously.

  163. If that statement, out of its context, were not completely in line with the obvious bias you exhibit in all of your writing, I would not have quoted it out of context.

  164. Allan seems to be of the belief that, if SBS isn’t perfect, then it’s a complete failure – and if anything other than SBS isn’t perfect, SBS is to blame.

  165. I don’t need your help to explain what I mean. I am saying that there a lot of problems relating to SBS that need to be addressed and not ignored. And that telling the communities only the positives to garner their support for future routes is being dishonest.

    And for your information, I am not the only one having problems with the community involvement process. Read what CB 6 has to say. http://www.qchron.com/editions/central/cb-wants-more-input-with-select-bus-service/article_c9f297d6-cebd-5d6c-add1-de7aa8806e66.html

  166. In that case, your stories of bus bunching and metrocard fails are not germane to your analysis of BRT.

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