Next Up for SBS: 23rd Street in Manhattan, Canarsie to Gravesend in Brooklyn
Two more enhanced bus routes are entering the project pipeline in NYC, one along a busy Manhattan crosstown street and the other snaking across a transit-hungry stretch of Brooklyn.
The Manhattan project will run across 23rd Street. The Brooklyn project would tackle a long route following the B6 and B82 between East New York and Gravesend, which carried a combined 69,586 riders on an average weekday last year, according to the MTA.
The general sweep of the southern Brooklyn route was first identified in the 2009 SBS “phase two” expansion plan. A more fine-grained map emerged in the de Blasio administration’s OneNYC environmental and equity plan, released in April.
DOT and the MTA have already gotten started on the southern Brooklyn route. The project website includes reports from the field, where staffers set up tables at busy bus stops in August and September to find out what riders want. The top complaints: Buses are too slow, too crowded, and not running frequently enough.
The B82 seems to offer the best opportunity for bus lanes, especially along Flatlands Avenue and Kings Highway. Getting these changes might take some effort: The route crosses City Council and community board districts where representatives don’t have a great record on reallocating street space.
In Manhattan, SBS service on 23rd Street is a bit of a surprise, since it didn’t appear in either the 2009 plan or OneNYC. The next logical Manhattan SBS route would have been 14th Street, which was identified in both planning documents. There’s a reason 14th Street looked like a higher priority: The M14 served an average 34,487 riders each weekday last year, according to the MTA, while the M23 served just 13,971. DOT did not say why 23rd Street jumped ahead of 14th Street for implementation.
DOT has started reaching out to local elected officials and community board members in the area in advance of public meetings later this fall.
Other projects are closer to the finish line. By the end of this year, SBS is expected to launch on the B46 on Utica Avenue and the Q44 between Jamaica, Flushing, and the Bronx. The projects include transit signal priority and off-board fare payment. Some sections of both routes will have bus lanes, which may be camera-enforced thanks to a newly-passed law.
The other SBS route in the works is for the routes serving Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard, a larger capital project that isn’t slated to finish until 2018.