DOT Proposes Dedicated Bus Lanes And Parking Changes Along Church Avenue

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DITMAS PARK/FLATBUSH – Congestion along the 3rd busiest bus route in Brooklyn, B35, that traverses the length of Church Avenue from Kensington to Brownsville transporting over 29,000 passengers daily has gotten so bad that often you’d be better off walking.

B35 buses average only 4.25 mph during peak hours on weekdays in both directions (Brooklyn average is 6.75 mph), Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives told the Community Board 14 (CB14) Transportation committee last week, as they presented a plan to fix it.

Via DOT

The plan affects Church Avenue between Ocean Parkway and Flatbush Avenue. Church Avenue is a local truck route, with a dense commercial zone in the heart of Flatbush (in yellow in the map below) and commercial establishments along the northern side of the street between E16th and Ocean Parkway. At the Western end, it is also along the route of B103 and BM3 and BM4 express buses between Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Parkway. The proposed changes would link up with the planned improvements at the Church Avenue-Prospect Expressway/Ocean Parkway intersection that are slated to be implemented later this summer.

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Between E16th and Flatbush:

Currently, along Church Ave, there is 1-hour metered parking with loading zones with some 2-hour parking on side streets just-off Church Ave. During the study period, DOT found there was a high curb demand, with frequent double parking & illegal parking along the street where just 1-2 double-parked vehicles can shut down traffic.

via DOT presentation.

DOT is proposing to:

  • Convert 1-hour metered to 30 minutes from E 21 St to E 18 St (3 blocks)
  • Add/extend loading zones on blocks with frequent deliveries
  • Add 7 new metered spaces on side street next to MTA property
  • Investigate conversion of 2-hour meters to 1 hour on side streets

Church Avenue congestion issues between E16th and Ocean Parkway are different. Along the southern side, the street is flanked by residential side yards with frequent driveways, hydrants and frequent bus stops. On the north side, there is 2-hour metered parking along the commercial shops. Though there is little double parking, the short blocks and turning traffic back up in what DOT described as “one long traffic queue”.

To improve the traffic flow DOT is proposing to implement curbside (dedicated) bus lanes in both directions from E 16 St to Ocean Pkwy between the hours of 7AM to 7PM, Monday-Saturday, parking at other times.

The bus lanes would repurpose 113 spaces from 7AM-7PM, of which currently 61 are metered, 52 unmetered spaces, mitigated by additional meters on side streets.

What this means for particular blocks:

Via DOT presentation

Between E16th and Coney Island Avenue. To help those visiting shops and doing deliveries, DOT proposes adding loading zones on E10th, Stratford, Westminster and Argyle Roads, along with new metered spaces on those blocks as well as Coney Island Ave.

Via DOT presentation.

Between Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Parkway, the DOT would add loading zones to E 7th and E8th, as well as metered parking along the western side of E7th north of Church and on both sides of E8th north of Church and on the western side of E8th south of Church Avenue.

Church Avenue.Transit signal priority would also be implemented at the same time.

One member of the CB14 Transportation committee suggested that DOT consider implementing the proposal in two phases, first introducing the changes along E16th to Flatbush Ave stretch to see if that may be sufficient to solve the issues, without taking away parking in the area.

Another asked why DOT decided to restrict parking on Saturdays, as that is when Parade Grounds are busy and there is an increased demand for parking. DOT said there seemed to be demand for bus service on Saturdays due to shopping and business patterns, but said they will look at it again.

Concerns were raised about trucks on side streets, that are narrow. DOT said most local deliveries are by small box trucks, which should be fine.

Concerns about metered parking on side streets were raised, especially as they would be placed on blocks with larger apartment buildings already suffering from lack of parking to begin with. DOT responded that metered parking can only be put next to commercial properties and that parking would be free overnight.

DOT will be presenting this proposal to the full CB14 board at their general meeting on June 17, and to CB12 in June, and plan to implement changes later this summer. 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Stop the madness of he DOT. The agency is hell-bent on altering every neighborhood and eliminate cars. Not everyone is able to ride bikes or take mass transit. Stop, just stop.

  2. I’m confused about what’s going to happen to the giant lane of cars lining up to Hollywood Car Wash in Church Steeet between e 8th and CIA. They line up on Church Ave eastbound – where the dedicated bus lane would be, I think, if I am understanding this correctly. What is going to happen there? Are all those cars going to completely block the residential side streets where there is already no room to pass? That’s scary.

  3. This is true. What happened to the idea of making Church one way and Caton Ave. the other? By 3:30 in the afternoon they are both backed up. Make one side no parking 7-10 am and 4-7 pm. The loading zones can be used in between. And get the police to keep it working.

  4. The DOT needs to step back and sit down. The trucks will not be able to get through the side streets and those side streets and the foundations of the homes and apartment buildings are not able to withstand the weight of these trucks going through.

    There needs to be NO Metered parking on side streets. Community members do not need another expense on top of everything else.

    There needs to be no restrictions on Saturday parking.

    Stop making the lives of the people more complicated.

    And to be honest, most of the issues along that route is the stacking of the buses due to the MTA and the now elongated buses that popped up that now have to manuever down Church Avenue.

  5. Been driving and cycling in Brooklyn for 15 years. This whole area is way too congested, I would argue more so than downtown. Everyone double parks everywhere, blocking the box at stop lights, etc.. something has to give. Driving from Church & Flatbush to Machate Circle takes on average 20 min when it should be less than 10min. Not to mention the cyclists who insist riding on Caton or Church ave when there isn’t enough room and is a death-defying obstacle course.

  6. I live 50 feet off of Church Ave and have for 20 years. I have seen a lot of traffic along this commercial strip. In my humble opinion it comes down to enforcement or lack thereof. The cars are double and sometimes triple parked along Church Ave, particularly in front of Bobbys Dept Store. While the homes on the side streets are aggressively ticketed for parking and sanitation violations, no one fears a double parking ticket. Periodically a patrol car comes by and uses the loudspeaker to politely ask the cars to move along. Usually the standing drivers ignore the patrol car unless and until the cop actually exits the vehicle. Then they drive away. The idea of the NYPD keeping a bus lane clear seems a nonstarter to my neighbors. I would love to see it happen. But I cannot imagine the 70th precinct having the manpower for a task of this scope.

  7. A bus lane on Church Avenue: Absolute Folly!
    So that hundreds of parking spaces for residents, shoppers, restaurant customers, businesses and their deliveries can be infuriated, disrupted and/or eliminated?
    So that one mile of a busy-enough thoroughfare will become MORE congested with the same traffic it currently has?
    So that B35 Church Avenue buses, some of THE MOST INCONSISTENT in the Borough of Kings, can actually utilize the lane when they arrive in bunches every 30 to 45 minutes, then go on their merry way? Make that 45 to an hour in the late nights.
    So that the NYC DOT can dance a victory dance with – in this particular instance – a meaningless statistical add-on?
    The actual choke-point for traffic occurs on the business-busiest narrow alley between Marlborough Road and Ocean Avenue. NYC DOT’s toolbox is loaded with better options: How about some new “No Left-Turn” signage on some of these streets? Rush-hour parking restrictions West-bound in the AM, East-bound in the PM? Better signal control to allow for longer intervals of traffic flow on Church Avenue? Allow a bus lane AND bus stop to stretch the FULL block between East 17th Street and East 18th Street where the buses, cabs, dollar vans stop, start and congregate around the OVERCROWDED B/Q subway station.
    Rise Up, Flatbush and Kensington!
    This “RED MILE” proposal makes absolutely NO sense.

  8. DOT, are you listening? Everyone here is saying the same thing…NO! The worst stretch of Church Ave. is where it narrows, from Buckingham/E. 16th to Ocean Ave. and that’s where drivers double park and make U-turns. Enforcement of existing traffic and parking rules would eliminate most of the problem. Your latest “fix”, changing west-bound traffic patterns at Church and Ocean Parkway, has only created new bottlenecks without making pedestrians safer. And you’re going to kill the smaller neighborhood oriented businesses along Church Ave. between Buckingham and Coney Island Ave. Cease and desist DOT. You don’t know what you’re doing!

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