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admin 11.05.2014

At a press event yesterday to announce service restorations and upgrades, the MTA also went public with a citywide plan to expand Select Bus Service. The Second Avenue subway was featured prominently, but one board member conceded that it’s “simply not possible to build more lines and have them during someone’s commuting lifetime” (a depressing admission of defeat for an agency beset by gargantuan construction cost premiums over peer cities like London, Tokyo and Paris), pivoting to the MTA’s transit expansion strategy while we wait for funding on the rest of the Second Avenue line: Select Bus Service. The new SBS map shows additional corridors along with existing SBS routes and subway lines, for a more complete picture of how the enhanced bus network integrates with rail. While SBS on 125th Street recently suffered a major setback, the existing routes have demonstrated the effectiveness of dedicated bus lanes, pre-paid boarding, and other steps to speed up buses. From the map, it even looks like they want to burn money replacing at least one of those ROWs with a busway. At least, between this and Citibike, NY is catching up Mexico City, which rolled out true BRT and bikeshare long ago.

I’d love to see Brooklyn BRT corridor #4 make it past the green fields and the hi kinds. Word On The Street “The entire area around the Botanical Garden is a pedestrian nightmare, and unfortunately, the institution has shown no interest in improving safety.
With tunnel-boring mega-projects consuming billions of capital dollars apiece, the agency is featuring low-cost bus improvements more prominently in its strategy to increase transit capacity.
With uncertainty about the direction DOT will take when City Hall changes hands, it’s good to see the MTA making a highly visible commitment to SBS. Routes on Fordham Road in the Bronx and First and Second Avenues in Manhattan have cut travel times, and according to the Straphangers Campaign have seen ridership grow by 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Brooklyn is slated to get its first SBS route, an upgraded B44 on the Nostrand Avenue corridor, later this year.

Using the map, there is nothing south of Queens #4 or east of Queens #9 (an area that has no mass transit connections).
How about the MTA comes around to at the very least featuring the low-cost rail options too? Buses are only cheaper when they can use existing infrastructure, and then only when ridership is so low that the financing costs of rail can’t be justified. Triborough RX, Rockaway, and North Shore even have ROWs in place, so they’re low hanging fruit if ever there was any.

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