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    Joe R.

    Regarding #6, I assume there would be pedestrian refuges adjacent to the bus lane so anyone caught crossing when the bus preempted the traffic signal would have a safe place to wait until the bus passed.

    Yes, anyone already crossing in the bus lane itself will have to be allowed to at least reach a refuge before the bus can proceed but we’re talking here about the time to cross a ~12′ bus lane. That’s under 10 seconds even at the speed my 75 year old mother walks. Of course, the bus can preempt the traffic signal several seconds before it arrives at the intersection to get around this problem.

    As for DOT granting buses full traffic light control, that remains to be seen. From a fairness standpoint it should be done. The only time a bus might hit red lights if it was done is when there’s a bus on the cross street. In that case it might be whichever bus got to the intersection first gets priority. Practically speaking, waiting at a red light for a bus to pass is only a delay of a few seconds. For all intents and purposes we can set this up so 99% of the delay the bus encounters is loading at stops. That’s obviously variable by its nature but buses should be able to keep to schedules somewhat better than they can now.

    We both know this isn’t a replacement for true subway service but it’s the best we can do in an era where nobody is willing to fund the 50-100 route miles of subway NYC sorely needs.



    A very small minority of SBS riders transfer to or from the local. Most riders are in walking distance, and if that weren’t the case, SBS would be a major service degradation to the existing rider base.

    As lop has said, swerving back and forth is really not a good idea.



    Are you out of your mind? This is a city street, with cross traffic and pedestrians. It will absolutely not run at 65 mph!



    1. This would not have the speed or the frequency or the capacity or the reliability of a subway. If done right, it would be a great improvement over standard bus service, but it’s still a bus. Subway riders don’t have to commit in advance to the express or the local, and off-peak, many will gladly take whichever one pulls up first (especially in hot weather!).

    2. There are certainly not going to be high-level platforms at bus stops. That would require every single stop on the line – down to the Rockaways and up to Woodside – to be fitted with high-level platforms. Nobody is envisioning service using anything other than typical low-floor (probably articulated, if the other SBS corridors are any indication) buses.

    3. Have you ridden the M15 or Bx12 or Bx41 or B44? In fact, both the locals and the SBS benefit from the bus lanes.

    4. As I said, it’s more akin to local/express subway service, where riders most certainly have the choice and take advantage of it.

    5. There will inevitably be service perturbations. An unusually heavy load (due to a connection with a crowded train, perhaps), a wheelchair, a traffic jam on the outer sections of the line (the sections without bus lanes), etc. And buses certainly won’t have “traffic light control” – they’ll have some degree of priority at signals, but they will still hit red lights.

    6. As I said, buses would not “control the lights.” Even if DOT is willing to grant buses the closest thing possible to absolute priority (which is quite unlikely), pedestrians who started crossing in the walk phase will still need to be given enough time to finish crossing the street.



    Roughly twice as many people would have to cross busy Woodhaven to reach the middle of the street than to reach one side – and those who have to cross currently would be restricted in sequence.

    For instance, take a northbound far-side bus stop, on the northeast corner of the street. People approaching from the northwest are marginally better off with center-running, since they’d have to wait for the light in either case, but with center-running they’d only have to cross halfway. But people approaching from the southwest are worse off, since they’d have to cross first north and then east, while at present they can cross either street first. And, quite obviously, anybody approaching from the northeast or northwest can currently reach the bus stop without crossing Woodhaven at all, while with center-running, they’d need to wait for the light and cross midway.

    On average, it will take three-quarters of the riders longer to get to the stop they need, and it will take three-quarters of the riders longer once they get off the bus. That increase in access time is significant and can’t be ignored.



    Whether or not you personally think it’s worth running for the bus (base off-peak headways are 10 minutes on the Q53 and 20 minutes on the Q52, assuming no bunching whatsoever, and I certainly wouldn’t be happy to miss a bus at anywhere close to those headways), the basic point remains that access time to and from the bus stop is increased, which is a service degradation. If the benefits of center running outweigh the disbenefits, let’s go for it! But I’m not at all convinced that they do.



    I don’t see center-running as a panacea, but a lot of these drawbacks aren’t very serious.

    They certainly seem like they could potentially be far more serious than the supposed benefits.

    Passing vehicles? That should be discouraged under any circumstances. They should adhere to schedule like trains.

    Seriously? So if a wheelchair rider is taking too long to board, the driver should just drive off in order to stick to schedule?

    Even with perfect bus lanes, there’s still quite a bit of unpredictability in bus service. Train service, too, to a far lesser extent, and the inability for one train to pass another is a bug, not a feature. When it comes to trains, the advantages of capacity and speed outweigh the disadvantage of inability to pass. Is that the case for buses as well? I’m quite skeptical.

    While missing buses that might work could be frustrating, by and large the best outcome is for riders to go to the vehicle that provides the (frequent) service they need.

    Yes, once you’ve eliminated the option to take whichever comes first, riders are best off waiting for the more frequent of the two. Off-peak, based on current headways, you’ve effectively cut service for such riders by 30%, from 13 bph to 9 bph, on top of increasing access time. Should these riders consider that effective service cut as a good thing, because BRT?

    I think curbside running can work about as well as center-running, when it comes down to it. Still, if there are significant differences in throughput between locals and express, maybe cen ter-runn ing makes sense.

    If center running is more beneficial than disbeneficial, great! But I have a feeling that much of what we’re seeing is a burning desire for “True BRT” as defined by Walter Hook. But who gives a hoot what Walter Hook calls it? I want the best bus service possible, wherever that may happen to be, curbside or center. Center bus lanes should certainly be considered, but if curbside lanes would yield better bus service for the people who will actually be riding the bus, then we shouldn’t put the bus lanes in the center just to please Walter Hook.



    In my experience, elected officials are bumped to the head of the line, and are not held to the speaker time limit, even if their constituents are therefore forced to wait hours to speak.

    If this has changed, GOOD!


    Mark Walker

    There is also a steep climb from 96th to 99th. The top of the hill at 99th makes cars and peds mutually invisible at 98th and WEA, which I cross multiple times per day. The design speed of WEA is just too high.


    Mark Walker

    I hope a reporter asks them that on camera.


    Joe R.

    Forgetting the historical context of the Second Amendment as it supposedly relates to militias, the modern interpretation is that it applies to individuals. And given how easily we hand out licenses to operate a deadly weapon (i.e. motor vehicle) in this country, I certainly can’t think of any rational reason properly trained citizens without criminal records or mental illness shouldn’t be allowed to keep and bear arms. Firearms typically become a problem when they fall into the hands of criminals, but by definition criminals don’t respect laws restricting firearms.

    I’ll be all for banning firearms altogether if that includes the police and any type of military force but we both know that will never happen. The only thing we can do instead is to ensure that a willing citizen can arm themselves at least as well as the police can. That helps put a bound on police abuse of power. I tend to think one of the reasons the NYPD resembles an occupation force is precisely because they know they have little to fear from the average disarmed NYC citizen if they abuse their power. And note here I’m not advocating shooting at the police when they do things like park on sidewalks. I would only support doing so in the rare instances where police abuse of power actually results in them killing or seriously injuring people. A good example might be when the police ran over someone they were chasing with their patrol car a year or two ago (I don’t remember the names or location but I recall the general details of the incident). The police should fear the citizens they work for, not the other way around.

    On another note, since we’re talking about motor vehicles here, if NYC wishes to restrict guns to the point that carry permits citiwide probably number in the three digits at most once you exclude police, I would have no problem with this if it also similarly restricted driver’s licenses so maybe only a few hundred people in the city besides emergency vehicle drivers or bus drivers could drive. Hey, driving is just as dangerous as carrying a gun, more so in fact because technically the vehicle is always loaded and primed and unsafed (i.e. ready to kill), so it follows that should be restricted just as much, perhaps more.



    Militias were for chasing down escaping slaves, killing them or otherwise punishing them.

    I lost all sympathy for the rights of militia/slave patrols when I learned the historical background.

    “Thom Hartmann: The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery:

    ‘The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified…

    …and why it says ‘State’ instead of ‘Country… was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote…. Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that… and we all should be too. In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the ‘slave patrols,’ and they were regulated by the states.”



    Well I hope Dan Zweig and Andrew Albert are proud of themselves.


    A Levi

    This is an open unanswered ongoing safety concern at this street corner. 95th pitches downhill, West End Ave pitches downhill, so sightlines and forward momentum work against the distracted driver. Deadly; unnecessarily deadly. How many on foot need to be picked off by vehicles until this particular characteristic of this intersection is addressed by a traffic engineer with a brain, a heart, and the charisma to build a consensus to update the safety protocol of this intersection?



    Even by Staten Island standards, the Mall is a parking crater. The photo on NY YIMBY is representative: lots of cars but a lot more spots free. What’s more, not in that photo is a neighboring strip mall with a K-Mart and Pathmark which has a lower ratio of cars to spots.


    Joe R.

    Just to be clear here, my point in mentioning firearms laws isn’t to have the discussion devolve into the usual pro/anti gun sentiments, but rather to point out the sheer insanity of our driver licensing system. A modern car I would say easily has the killing potential of a heavy machine gun. Would any sane society allow ordinary citizens to carry around heavy machine guns on crowded urban streets if they only had to pass a minimal set of qualifications to do so, perhaps something like hitting 50% of large targets at a distance of 30 yards? The answer is clearly no, even in the most gun-friendly societies, and yet we allow people to operate motor vehicles which can be just as deadly with a similarly minimal set of standards. That’s really the problem. I think there should be a very high set of standards for both firearm ownership and motor vehicle operation. However, it makes no sense to highly restrict one on the grounds of public safety but not the other.


    Joe R.

    Um, did you bother to read my post in its entirety? I’m talking about innocent victims of either motor vehicle or gun violence here. Sure, I absolutely feel sorry for someone who is depressed enough to kill themselves by any means (and I’ve been there myself), but as far as statistics go they don’t count as an innocent victim here like those who went out, fully wanted to come home alive, but didn’t thanks to some driver not driving safely. As for gang members getting killed by guns, to me that falls into the same category as someone drag racing at 120 mph and dying in a crash. Both were engaged in an activity that made dying much more likely, and so both are hardly innocent victims. The only problem of course in both cases is if they take innocent bystanders with them before getting killed, which sadly happens quite often.

    The bottom line is I don’t feel ordinary citizens just going about their lives deserve to be random victims of motor vehicle violence, but those in charge seem to think these “accidents” are just the cost of business as usual.



    Ah, yes. If you’re depressed, or in a gang, you deserve to die. Thanks for the insight.


    Joe R.

    I totally agree there’s no need for individuals to have chemical or radioactive weapons (neither of which should frankly exist, even for use by nations), or things like tanks.

    As for drawing the line, sure pistols can be used to commit crimes but they can also be used to stop crimes. A trained citizen carrying a handgun has the element of surprise on a criminal. That could be the key to winning a confrontation.

    There are better ways to deal with small arms which could be used both to commit crimes and for self-defense. One way is to enact a mandatory death penalty if you use firearms to commit a crime, even if you don’t actually fire them. Pull out a gun to mug someone, and if you get caught you’re executed. Criminals operate on a risk-reward scenario, particularly those in it for financial gain. We need to up the risk if you use a firearm when committing a crime. Also, more legally armed citizens mean a much greater chance of ending up dead if you actually try to mug someone with a handgun.

    As far as I know, aren’t deer rifles and any other type of firearm also illegal in NYC? It’s my understanding that it’s pretty much impossible to get any type of weapon for home defense, even a shotgun, or at least that’s what the local precinct told me when I asked.


    Kevin Love

    As an Army veteran, my personal take is that no sane person supports an unlimited individual right to bear arms. Things like chemical or radioactive weapons are clearly beyond the pale.

    A line needs to be drawn somewhere. The only question is “where do we draw the line.” In my opinion, weapons that are easily used to commit crimes, such as pistols, cross the line. Not too many muggers carry a deer rifle!

    Which is why I support the present NY law.


    Keith Williams

    “As you may know, there is one speed bump on that block of W. 95th Street, and we will look into the possibility of installing a second.”

    Oh, great – that’ll do it. Thanks, DOT!



    Waiting on a community board for help, we might as well just help ourselves.


    Joe R.

    The Supreme Court interpreted the 2nd Amendment as an individual right (with some restrictions) and I tend to agree. You don’t need a specific amendment authorizing a militia to have arms which is why I disagree with that interpretation of it. It’s common sense as militias must be armed to be effective, hence no need for an amendment allowing it. On the other hand, a distinct amendment allowing individual rights to keep and bear arms would make sense as it’s not always a given that individuals have the right to bear arms, whereas militias always do.

    For the record, I also disagree with the NRA’s stance which is basically to allow anyone who wants guns to have them. I think people should be allowed to own any weapon they wish within reason (i.e. no need for individuals to have things like AA missiles or anything beyond what reasonably might be required for self-defense). However, they should be required to receive training for whatever weapon they own. Own a small handgun, go through a certain amount of training. Want to own a rifle or a machine gun, you go through a lot more training. Most people would be unwilling to go through these hoops, and gun ownership would remain relatively low.

    The reason I feel adamant about individuals deciding whether to own weapons, as opposed to governments, is because the government can’t guarantee my safety. There may be only one time in my life where carrying a gun might mean the difference between life and death, but that’s really all it takes. For what it’s worth, we’re probably going to reach a point in the next 5-10 years where gun laws are moot as individuals will be able to use 3D printing to make viable firearms. I think it’s better before that happens to have some fraction of the citizenry legally armed so the wackos will have some incentive not to make or carry around their (illegal) printed firearms. In the end it’s always going to be an arms race. Overly restrictive gun laws just mean the bad guys end up being better armed. We went through that in the late 1980s/early 1990s when NYC had over 2000 murders annually. The only reason it stopped was because of Guiliani turning NYC into a virtual police state, which it remains to this day.

    And in the meantime I think we should focus 100% of our efforts on dealing with what we can both agree is the biggest cause of death/injury in NYC-namely motor vehicle violence. Once you add in pollution deaths, deaths caused by motor vehicles are a few orders of magnitude greater than deaths by firearms.


    Morris Zapp

    I hope the Chambers family sues the hell out of NYC, with the NN report as Exhibit A.


    Kevin Love

    Except, if you had bothered to read the 2nd amendment, you would see that it refers nowhere to individual rights, but to a “well-regulated militia.” In other words, New York State has a right to maintain a National Guard.

    Things are quite different across the NY/Ontario border,
    where Canadian provinces are forbidden to maintain military forces.

    As an Army veteran, I can attest that there are all kinds of
    nasty weapons out there. Weapons based upon projectiles, chemicals, radioactive or biological material. The 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI is next month, which is a reminder that effective chemical weapon technology is
    over a century old. And one does not have to be a chemistry genius to make nerve gas… link NOT provided.

    Needless to say, I support New York’s laws.


    Joe R.

    This just illustrates the kind of dichotomy which exists in the ruling class in NYC. On the one hand, they’re pathologically afraid of guns to the point that NYC’s gun laws clearly violate the 2nd Amendment which allows individuals to keep and bear arms. On the other, they see nothing wrong with not taking measures to curb the motor vehicle violence which kills far more innocent people than guns in this city. In 2013 134 innocent pedestrians and cyclists were killed by motor vehicles in NYC. The number killed by guns in 2013 was 194 but of those 194 over 10% were suicides, and probably more than half were gang-related violence. That means well under 100 innocent people in NYC died in 2013 due to guns. It’s clear we’re not going after the largest source of problems here. Moreover, motor vehicles consistently lower the quality of life for most city residents whereas guns generally don’t. Any measures taken to curb motor vehicle violence would pay dividends in terms of a more pleasant city.


    Doug G.

    I have great respect for Borough President Gale Brewer, but her strategy of waiting until community board members “come around” on street safety, rather than removing them in favor of more progressive people, is wrong.

    Jean Chambers shouldn’t have had to wait for safe streets.


    Joe R.

    Noise on Woodhaven or other arterials where 65 mph buses might make sense is moot. None of them are exactly tree-lined, quiet side streets right now. And you can quiet buses running at speed considerably with different tires, more streamlining, and perhaps eventually electric operation.

    As for the cars speeding, speed cams could deal with that.


    dave "paco" abraham

    If 5 people were killed by bullets in the same span, would CB7 be allowed to advise NYPD how to handle the situation? DOT needs to make all life saving improvements necessary, not cower to the advisory powers of NIMBYs.


    Joe R.

    Not sure why you’re surprised people want to keep their parking.

    I’m not surprised but I don’t think curbside parking should factor into NYC policy decisions. If car parking is that important to a business, then it will provide a parking lot. And if a business really claims to need below market rate curbside parking to survive, then perhaps the business simply isn’t viable. What NYC needs to take a hard look at is how much do auto-oriented businesses generate in tax revenue versus how much the negative effects of auto use (and land use for parking) cost. We might find it’s more cost effective to just let a lot of businesses disappear than to continue with indirect subsidies like curbside parking.

    …um…is that an option? Or are you suggesting putting this project on hold for a decade to fight over a change to federal law?

    If it’s a federal mandate then why isn’t the federal government picking up the tab for the extra cost of ADA compliance?

    And mandate or not, this is something which needs to be looked at nationally, and not just for this project. I understand the rationale behind the ADA. And if the US had ten times as much money for major infrastructure projects I would be 100% behind it. However, the fact is we don’t. We need to build as much as we can to serve the greatest number of people with the limited money we have. That’s going to mean throwing out ADA compliance in many (but not all) cases. I wish it wasn’t so, but that’s the reality. If we have a choice of building 50 miles of subway which serves 95% of the population, or 15 miles of subway which serves 99.9%, I’ll opt for the former in a heartbeat. It may even be that with help of some sort, the 95% accessible subway will be able to serve most of the disabled without providing expensive means of access. Several things even look really promising in that regard, such as wheelchairs capable of negotiating regular stairs:

    It may be that we can rethink the ADA in terms of current and future equipment. I’m all in favor of mobility for all, but we need to find more creative, cost effective means to enable it.



    You’ll have a hard time keeping cars from speeding when the buses zoom by at 65. Not to mention the noise from a bus moving that fast is severe.



    Traffic levels will remain high no matter how good the bus setup is, don’t be ridiculous, buses will have difficulty getting across the road. Why not put the locals in the middle in a second bus lane there? The bottlenecks with 3 lanes wouldn’t have any bus stops, so it’s alright if the buses merge down to one lane, then the whole road would have only two general traffic lanes. And you wouldn’t have to fight over parking.

    “This is a case where it’s more cost effective for society to just pay the handicapped to remain at home than to take measures to help them get to work.”

    …um…is that an option? Or are you suggesting putting this project on hold for a decade to fight over a change to federal law? How would that be easier than getting rid of a few parking spots for larger bus stops on the curb with a bus passing lane next to it, or the bus lane on the curb and the parking offset with gaps in the parking lane for buses to pull in?

    This part of southern Queens is very auto oriented. Because it was built as a car oriented Manhattan suburb. Not sure why you’re surprised people want to keep their parking.


    dave "paco" abraham

    Similar to a TA event held on Altantic Avenue recently too…
    Thanks for the link to the BJ heights throwback.



    I’d like to see TA and the Families organize demonstrations in this crosswalk in which pedestrians walk back and forth in a large group during the entire walk phase for fifteen minutes of the AM rush hour, once a week for the next month. This is what Downtown Brooklyn residents did when faced with intolerable traffic danger back in 1996 — and it worked. (see pic at link.) The Brooklynites won dozens of curb extensions and traffic safety engineering as part of the Downtown Bklyn Traffic Calming study. West End Ave at 95th, 96th and 97th is a traffic hellhole. More pedestrians will be struck here because moving cars is ultimately still more important to Community Board 7, the NYC DOT and the mayor than creating safe streets.


    Joe R.

    It’s faster for a bus to get across several lanes of traffic than for someone to cross it on foot. It’s also safer. And if this is successful there would be considerably less traffic to deal with.

    Same line of thought regarding over/under passes. You really don’t want people crossing Woodhaven Boulevard at all to catch buses given the numbers that would be doing so. And not everything needs to be ADA compliant. While I feel for people who have difficulty getting around, in the end the great experiment with giving the handicapped more mobility has come at the cost of far fewer major projects being built due to the huge increases in cost. This is a case where it’s more cost effective for society to just pay the handicapped to remain at home than to take measures to help them get to work.

    Frankly, I’m not a big fan of center lane running as it creates as many problems as it solves. You can have a pair of bus lanes curbside (the local lane near the curb and the express/passing lane next to it) which accomplish pretty much the same thing. Stick the parking along the center median, if you have to have car parking at all (which in NYC I don’t see why you do). With traffic light preemption curbside bus lanes can be just as fast as center-running bus lanes without the problems.

    The real reason center-running bus lanes are being talked about here is thanks to people like Kenichi (we can’t lose curbside parking) Wilson. Really, it’s ridiculous in 2014 that curbside parking in a place like NYC should even factor into policy decisions.



    Why would we want buses swerving across multiple lanes of traffic on a heavily congested road several times every run? If someone needs to transfer from a local to SBS why can’t they cross half of Woodhaven/Cross bay? Wouldn’t it slow the locals down getting across the road?

    Think about the required footprint for an ADA compliant under/overpass. Might not be the most practical solution on a truck route that would need a high clearance.



    Cuomo is literally stealing from a fund that gives clean water to children. That’s like super villain corruption. This guy is unfit to run a McDonald’s, let alone the Empire State.


    Joe R.

    As would repaving major roads in concrete, which both lasts longer and is far less prone to potholes.


    Joe R.

    Regarding #4, there’s absolutely no reason the local bus couldn’t make curbside pickups, and then stop at the relatively infrequent center lane bus stops to make connections with the center lane express. In fact, that’s the best way to do it since the majority of people will probably need to board the local bus first to take them to the nearest express stop.

    As for #1, no reason you couldn’t have an overpass or underpass to reach the bus stop. That’s really a preferable solution anyway over missing a bus because you’re waiting to cross a street with long light cycles like Woodhaven Boulevard.


    Joe R.

    I’ll also add that with traffic signal preemption and infrequent stops you can run the buses in the center lane much faster than 30 mph. They will be segregated from other traffic in terms of time and space. Street crossings will be operationally closer to railroad crossings than to intersections, so it should be possible to run the buses at up to their maximum speeds (65 mph?) in between stops. If stops are spaced about 1 mile apart, and we assume dwell times in the neighborhood of 30 seconds per stop, you could end up with average travel speeds well over 30 mph. These much higher average speeds would give lots of people incentive to use the bus who wouldn’t even think of using a pokey local bus now.



    IIRC, removing traffic has a nontrivial effect on ambient heat.


    Eric McClure

    East River Plaza residential towers make more sense than ERP big-box stores and attendant parking. And they’ll make even more sense when Phase II of the Second Avenue subway is completed. How about some MTA value-capture funding from our friend Bruce Ratner in exchange for whatever building approvals he might need?


    Eric McClure

    “Real” New Yorkers.


    Eric McClure

    I’m having a hard time spotting the ped/bike lanes in the Kosciuszko Bridge renderings that DNAinfo published.



    Mind-blowing levels of driver entitlement in the comments about the Chambers killing at the Daily News site.


    Seth Rosenblum

    To respond to the heat concerns of #2, adding concrete bus stops in the middle of the road also provides a good location for tree pits. These not only provide shade for the bus stop, but they also can extend over the previously exposed asphalt, greatly reducing the heat island effect on such a wide roadway.


    Brian Van Nieuwenhoven

    They can save money on concrete if they just use Cuomo’s chutzpah for the bridge footings


    Jonathan Hawkins

    In my experience the speaking order has always been determined by the order in which people register.



    You can also see examples of what the stops might look like on the T-Third light rail line in San Francisco.



    Please please post updates. I have been trying to follow this case ever since it started, it is horrible. This man is a terrible person, google him and you’ll see. Please post updates.