Southern Brooklyn

As Outerborough Job Roles Grow, Commutes Do Too

Source: Marcos Vasconcelos Photography/Flickr

We all know finding and holding a job in his economy is rough, but commuting to work these days can be just as tough.

Daily News reported that the number of Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island residents traveling to jobs in their own boroughs or neighboring counties has jumped 23 percent since 1990 – compared with an 11 percent increase in people going to the city, according to the report from the Center for an Urban Future.

In turns out that people are keeping away from the city- which lost 109,000 jobs between 2000 and 2009, Urban Future Director Jonathan Bowles told the Daily News.

Bowles’ group is trying to improve bus service possibly by creating a Bus Rapid Transit System, like that being implemented along Nostrand Avenue later this year.

“The transit system is so built around commuting to Manhattan,” Bowles said.

But the problem isn’t just traveling between outerboroughs; Manhattan – and even parts of Queens or New Jersey – remains an easier commute for many Brooklyn residents than the commute to other parts of the same borough.

Living in Sheepshead Bay, we’re far enough from the city. However, at least that commute is a straight ride. Imagine working out in Bay Ridge, Flatlands, Williamsburg or – heaven forbid – Canarsie. By using public transportation, some parts of these major Brooklyn neighborhoods would take Sheepshead Bay residents upwards of two hours, and multiple transfers, to travel to.

So while Bowles advocates an expanded BRT system and more bus infrastructure, we’re wondering what improvements the city can make to public transportation to facilitate better commutes within and between the outerboroughs?

Comment policy


  1. 1. Weall live in the “city”. Do you commuting to Manhattan?
    2. We are NOT an outerborough, we are an *other borough*!

  2. You are right Lonnie, we an other borough, but we’re treated like a red headed outer borough! Mayor bloomberg doesn’t like Brooklyn, Queens, SI or the Bronx. He only loves Manhattan.

  3. This is an important point. This is why the G line never entered into Manhattan. THere was enough industry along the North Brooklyn waterfront where it was nto necessary. The Myrtle Avenue’s west section is another example. If this was not torn down it would be very useful today with the growth of residential and commercial activity in Downtown Brooklyn. There are miles of unused tracks that could be refurbished and used for passenger service. THe Bay Ridge Branch of the LIRR is a prime example. That line goes from Bay Ridge to Middle Village. Imagine if it were restored to passenger service.

  4. I would rather see more job opportunities show up in Brooklyn and Queens. I’d much rather commute within Brooklyn than have to go to Manhattan every day as I did for over 10 years before finding my job now in NJ. I find it easier to drive into NJ every day now than commuting on subway and bus into Manhattan.

  5. They should definitely do that.

    Now imagine this scenario: 1) They complete the Flatbush Avenue line and run it down to the Rockaways – 2) They build a line that follows Kings Highway to Linden Blvd, then follows Linden to JFK.

    I think those three changes together would radically change the face of Brooklyn, stimulating economy across the entire borough.

    But, alas, a dream.

  6. How can you expect them to build such a subway line when they are not even willing to operate a bus line from southern Brooklyn to the Gateway Mall?

  7. It has been proposed for years to use the Bay Ridge Branch for light rail passenger service connecting Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. But all the City is interested in is improving travel to Manhattan so they spend money instead studying extending the 7 to New Jersey.

    Also, the western section of the Myrtle Avenue El was built to transport people into Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge. Service was cutback to Downtown Brooklyn around 1941.

  8. All north to south in the areas of the former towns. Very little consideration of the need for southern Brooklynites to travel between parts of those communities, or to other Southern Brooklyn communities. East-West trolleys came in the late 1920s, but train service was not considered practical at all.

  9. I used to dream too like you when I was your age. In fact I was thinking about your post when I was driving along Linden Blvd today toward Queens and realized how easy (but expensive) it would be to utilize the Bay Ridge Branch then extend it as an el similar to Air Train, along the median of Linden Boulevard to JFK. Most of Linden Blvd is lined by industrial buildings.

  10. I guess you are referring to the Linden Blvd comment. The only east-west plan I am aware of is the 1969 City Planning Master Plan to reroute the Canarsie line from its Rockaway Parkway terminal to run along the LIRR Bay Ridge Division to I believe I think to Utica Avenue. There was also Moses’ plan for the Cross Brooklyn Expressway along the Bay Ridge Division. Communities started mobilizing against the XBrooklyn when Mayor Lindsay proposed housing, some of it low income, above the expressway. The budget crisis of the early 70s ended any plans for subway sextensions.

    Transit consumer groups have long proposed reactivating the Bay Ridge line for passenger service making it part of a triborough plan to run to Queens and the Bronx via tracks only used for freight.

  11. 1969, that’s it. It didn’t go through because the $ was not on both
    ends of the line.
    It would have helped the working class quite a bit. Still would.


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