Marty Golden and 5 Democrats Want to Block Better Bus Service on Kings Highway

The Southern Brooklyn pols are trying to nix bus lanes planned for the B82, one of the slowest bus routes in the borough.

If Marty Golden, Simcha Felder, Mark Treyger, Chaim Deutsch, Steven Cymbrowitz, and Dov Hikind get their way, B82 riders will stay stuck in traffic. Photo: DOT
If Marty Golden, Simcha Felder, Mark Treyger, Chaim Deutsch, Steven Cymbrowitz, and Dov Hikind get their way, B82 riders will stay stuck in traffic. Photo: DOT

DOT and the MTA are working to speed up bus service on the B82, which carries 28,000 daily trips across southern Brooklyn but averages less than 7 mph. Standing in the way are six Brooklyn pols who are trying hard to stop improvements that will make life better for their bus-riding constituents.

The plan for B82 Select Bus Service calls for bus lanes along Kings Highway, slated for implementation this spring. The B82 is one of Brooklyn’s slowest, least reliable routes and in dire need of improvement. Nearly one in every five B82 buses arrive in bunches, and only 48 percent arrive on time, according to the Bus Turnaround Campaign.

State Senator Marty Golden
State Senator Marty Golden

DOT has mapped out the segments where the B82 moves the slowest — that’s where bus lanes are coming.

At least, that’s where bus lanes will be implemented if the city withstands the protestations of Republican State Senator Marty Golden and five Democrats — State Senator Simcha Felder, City Council members Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, and Assembly members Steven Cymbrowitz and Dov Hikind.

On narrower blocks of Kings Highway, the DOT plan would repurpose 134 parking spots for bus lanes that will be in effect on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. [PDF]. Outside of those times, the curb would still be reserved for car storage.

To those six elected officials, those parking spaces are more important than faster, more reliable bus service for tens of thousands of people.

In a March 8 letter to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Golden opposed the conversion of parking spots into rush hour bus lanes on Kings Highway between MacDonald Avenue and Ocean Avenue — where buses travel 5 mph or slower! — claiming it would result in “less shopping” and cause “permanent damage to retailers and businesses.”

Then earlier this week, the five Democrats echoed Golden in comments reported by Kings County Politics.

The dedicated bus lanes proposed for Kings Highway between McDonald Avenue and Ocean Avenue only run in one direction, and only during the weekday morning and evening rush hours. Image: DOT/MTA
The bus lane segments proposed for Kings Highway between McDonald Avenue and Ocean Avenue. Image: DOT/MTA

But experience has disproven the old scare tactic about bus improvements undermining local business. On Fordham Road in the Bronx, retailers saw more growth in sales after the launch of Select Bus Service, which repurposed curbside parking, than the borough as a whole.

Most people aren’t driving to shop on Kings Highway either. DOT and MTA surveyed 7,500 people out on the street and found that more than three quarters of them came by transit or walking, not by car.

DOT and MTA surveyed 7,500 Kings Highway shoppers, and found the overwhelming majority weren't coming by car. Image: DOT
DOT and MTA surveyed 7,500 Kings Highway shoppers, and found the overwhelming majority weren’t coming by car. Image: DOT/MTA

Meanwhile, much of the B82’s poor performance can be traced to chaotic curb management, with parking and delivery activity interfering with buses, according to DOT. In video interviews compiled by the agency, riders said the street is simply too clogged with cars and trucks for buses to travel smoothly:

Even so, to assuage concerns about parking, DOT and the Kings Highway BID tasked traffic engineer Sam Schwartz with adding 21 parking spots in the area.

The electeds were not appeased. At a City Council hearing earlier this month, Deutsch told Trottenberg that he “used to be so happy to see her,” but now he thinks, “Uch, another SBS route in my district.”

The B82 was one of 16 bus routes in Brooklyn that received an “F” in the bus report cards released last month by the Bus Turnaround Coalition. The route provides an essential connection across southern Brooklyn. There is no train that serves those trips — tens of thousands of people riding the bus have to stew in traffic with single-occupancy vehicles.

People will still be able to shop on Kings Highway after bus lanes are installed. If anything, once buses that can carry 50 people prove to be faster and more reliable, more customers will be able to reach those businesses than with a handful of cars clogging the curb.

  • neroden

    Yeah.

  • Margi Bijou

    Just becuase we walk to the corner to shop doesn’t mean we are the only ones that shop on Kings Highway .It means we are LUCKY.Second of all if we do take our car out we usually come back to shoppers blocking our driveways for hours at a time while they do their errands and go for lunch .

  • Margi Bijou

    Outreach ??? With false surveys and information ? Which 7500 people did they interview ????

  • Margi Bijou

    MOVE THE BUSES AND BUS STOPS TO AVE P WHICH HAS 3 LANES .

  • Margi Bijou

    It needs to rub down a street that has more than 2 lanes

  • Margi Bijou

    THEY NEED TO BE ON A STREET THAT 3 LANES .We are the ONLY area in Brooklyn that has 2 bus stops directly across from each other !!!!

  • Margi Bijou

    What are we supposed to do with all our groceries and packages ?

  • Margi Bijou

    Fake research .

  • Margi Bijou
  • Margi Bijou

    Nobody stand on the bus stop on my corner ever .

  • Margi Bijou

    Share what ? My parking space ? I own 3 houses and have 3 cars and 6 bikes and built myself a garage .I shovel all my private driveways and sidewalks gladly .I walk every day and patronize all my neighborhood shops forever..worry about someone besides you !!! Boo hoo yourself .

  • JarekFA

    The bus runs along Kings Highway because it’s the main commercial corridor. You’re more than welcome to park on Avenue P and walk from there. You may find that offensive but that’s no less offensive then demanding that the bus riders, for whom you have nothing but contempt, walk from Avenue P.

  • JarekFA

    3 houses? Tiny violin here. “My parking space” No, not your parking space. The curbside space along Kings Highway. It’s much more beneficial to the community at large if the curbside space was allocated towards buses and not towards private car storage. Leaving it as private car storage automatically limits who can use it. I can’t drive and park on Kings Highway because like the majority of Brooklyn residents, I do not own a car. It’s as if these people don’t exist to you.
    You can see them in this video. They deserve better buses and they deserve it at the expense of car parking.

  • redhedgehog
  • Margi Bijou

    Just move it to a wider throroughfare that’s a block away .

  • George Joseph Lane

    Who buys one week of groceries at the same time?

  • qrt145

    I often do, and walk them home using a hand cart.

    But the stereotypical demographic is suburbanites (even if they happen to live in Brooklyn) who transport the groceries in their SUV.

  • George Joseph Lane

    If you want parking, build a garage. Stop expecting everyone else to pay to provide it to you.

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