Bus Bulbs Will Boost Nostrand Avenue Select Bus Service

Bus bulbs will improve bus service and the pedestrian experience along Nostrand Avenue as part of the new SBS service. Image: NYC DOT/MTA.

With Select Bus Service speeding trips and boosting ridership on Fordham Road and First and Second Avenue, the next route slated for an upgrade is Brooklyn’s Nostrand Avenue. The B44 bus runs over nine miles from the Williamsburg Bridge to Sheepshead Bay. It attracts 41,000 riders a day, making it the seventh busiest route in the city, despite running at an average speed or seven or eight miles per hour and having the least reliable service in the borough. Last night, the Department of Transportation and MTA held an open house to present an updated design for the corridor [PDF], one of the final revisions before construction begins next year.

Nostrand Avenue SBS will, as in the Bronx and Manhattan, create dedicated bus lanes enforced by automated cameras and use high-capacity buses and off-board fare payment. With fewer stops, the bus will also spend more time in motion and less time starting and stopping.

The Nostrand project will add another new feature: bus bulbs. By extending the sidewalk out to the street, bus bulbs mean that drivers don’t have to pull to the curb and back into the lane, resulting in a smoother and speedier ride. A raised curb means more level boarding onto the bus, advantageous for the elderly and the mobility-impaired. The extra space also means that the bus stop won’t crowd the sidewalk.

DOT and the MTA made a few revisions to the plan under the new design. A station was added at Avenue D/Newkirk Avenue in response to community requests. Bus lanes were removed on Bedford Avenue between Fulton and DeKalb — the agencies said bus speeds were already high there but the bus lane would have interfered with the bike lane — but lanes were added to a congested section of Nostrand between Farragut Road and Avenue I.

In order to preserve the same number of motor vehicle lanes during rush hour, where a bus lane is being installed DOT proposes turning the left parking lane into a through lane during the morning and evening peaks. This shouldn’t have too much of an impact on local merchants. At Nostrand and Empire Boulevard, only 14 percent of shoppers had driven to the area (and not all had parked on Nostrand). Further south, at Glenwood Road, only 13 percent of shoppers had arrived in a car.

Moreover, there’s a lot of room to add parking in other ways. On much of Nostrand and its cross streets, parking is currently free. The installation of meters will encourage drivers to move on once done shopping, freeing up space for others. The use of Muni-Meters will also allow more vehicles to park in the same area. Finally, loading zones and delivery windows will ensure that trucks have space at the curb rather than being forced to resort to double-parking. DOT’s presentation didn’t do the math, but it’s possible the neighborhood could actually gain parking capacity despite the rush hour restrictions.

Community boards will continue to weigh in through next week. If the plan goes forward, Select Bus Service will be up and operating on Nostrand Avenue next fall.

  • kevd

    Good news.  Perhaps they should consider sending the Brooklyn SBS route over the Williamsburg bridge (in a bus lane) to connect with the 1st / 2nd ave SBS route.

    I will still avoid riding on Nostrand like it’s the plague.  That ave. is the worst bit of pavement I’ve ever seen in NY City.  

  • dporpentine

    “That ave. is the worst bit of pavement I’ve ever seen in NY City.”

    Sad but completely true.

    It’s also the home of one my favorite moves by NYC’s most victimized group, drivers. The classic “I’m double-parked on this side of the street, but RIGHT THIS MOMENT I’m going to pull out, kill all you bikers, and double-park on the other side.”

  • BrooklynBus
  • Anonymous

    ‘On much of Nostrand and its cross streets, parking is currently free. The installation of meters will encourage drivers to move on once done shopping, freeing up space for others. ”

    This is not true. Nostrand Avenue is not metered from Park Ave to Fulton Street, which also happens to be the section with less retail. The vast majority of the street has meters. Also, the cross streets are not metered because they are majority residential streets, but there are certain blocks in Crown Heights such as Union Street that already has limited metered parking. However, unless the city plans to turn a portion of all the residential blocks from Fulton to Flatbush over to metered parking, there will not be enough parking to accommodate truck deliveries, and customers. For example, the supermarkets along Nostrand (of which there are 3 between Fulton and Empire) receive deliveries in 35, 40 and 53 ft trucks 2-3 times per week (usually during the morning rush hour at 7am). Is the city suggesting those trucks park on side streets for their deliveries?  

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

City Receives Federal Funding for Full Nostrand Avenue Select Bus Route

|
The first Select Bus Service route in Brooklyn is on track to start speeding bus trips next year, after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced yesterday afternoon that the project has secured a $28 million federal grant. The B44 route on Nostrand, Rogers, and Bedford Avenues, which runs between Sheepshead Bay […]

MTA: SBS on Nostrand and Rogers Avenues Starts November 17

|
We’ve been watching the progress as bus bulbs are installed and dedicated lanes are painted, and now the MTA has announced a start date for Select Bus Service on Nostrand and Rogers Avenues: November 17. SBS service, which replaces the limited-stop B44 route and shifts a portion of its route west to Rogers Avenue, will […]

Eyes on the Street: Painting SBS Bus Lanes on Nostrand Avenue

|
Brooklyn’s B44 bus carried more than 12.5 million passengers last year between the base of the Williamsburg Bridge and Sheepshead Bay, making it the city’s fifth-busiest bus route. But the B44, which runs primarily along Nostrand Avenue, is notoriously unreliable and spends less than half of each run in motion. Half the time, it’s stuck in traffic or at bus […]

B44 Moving 15-30 Percent Faster After Select Bus Service Upgrades

|
As bus speeds decline in NYC, the few routes that are getting dedicated bus lanes and off-board fare collection are bucking the trend. The newest evidence comes from the B44 route along Nostrand Avenue and Rogers Avenue in Brooklyn, where buses are moving 15-30 percent faster since NYC DOT and the MTA upgraded the line to Select […]

With Debut of B44 SBS, Major Brooklyn Bus Route Poised to Draw More Riders

|
After years of planning, B44 Select Bus Service launched yesterday on the Nostrand Avenue corridor.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast marked the occasion this afternoon at a newly-expanded bus stop at Church and Nostrand. The B44, which serves nearly 40,000 riders each weekday along a 9.3-mile route between the […]