Sunday, November 19, 2017

Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevard +SelectBusService+ Has Finally Become A Reality

QUEENS, NEW YORK-It is finally here!!! After years and months of community board meetings, reaching out to bus riders, members of the council voicing their opinions/ideas, public design workshops, and meetings throughout all neighborhoods of the corridor, the Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevard +SelectBusService+ is a reality come true. The Q52 and Q53 Limited bus routes are the 2nd and 3rd bus routes, after LaGuardia Link Q70 +SBS to join the New York City Bus Rapid Transit Family. Its also the 3rd and 4th routes for Queens, as well as the 16th and 17th bus routes for the city, respectively. The Q52 and Q53 bus routes serve approximately 20,000 daily riders. The Q52 and Q53 provide north-south service along the Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards corridors connecting the neighborhoods of Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Middle Village, Forest Hills, Glendale, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Rockaway Beach, Arverne and Rockaway Park in Queens. The Q52 and Q53 also serve as an important subway feeder to the (7)(7X)(A)(E)(F)(M)(R)(J)(Z)(S-Rockaway Park Shuttle) trains and the Long Island Rail Road in addition to serving Queens Center Mall, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Rego Park Center, Forest Park and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Q52 +SBS and Q53 +SBS has been launched on November 12th, 2017. Woodhaven Boulevard, which becomes Cross Bay Boulevard in the Howard Beach area, is a major north-south thoroughfare in Queens that serves major residential and commercial areas. Currently, the corridor is served by the Q52 and Q53 Limited; Q11 and Q21 local; and BM5, QM15, QM16 and QM17 express bus routes, carrying a total of more than 31,000 people daily, many of whom use these routes to connect the subway lines mentioned above, or the Long Island Rail Road’s Woodside Station. An average of 20,000 weekday customers rely on the Q52/Q53 Limited routes, which spans approximately 14 miles. As part of the process to introduce Select Bus Service to the corridor and to implement street changes, MTA Bus and NYCDOT participated in or hosted more than 20 community meetings and public workshops to solicit public feedback. A Community Advisory Committee comprising elected officials, community boards and various stakeholders was also convened to provide guidance for the design and implementation of Select Bus Service. The Q52 +SBS (Elmhurst to Arverne) is based out of the JFK Bus Depot (even though a it's a Far Rockaway route), and operates between 5am and 1am.
The Q53 +SBS (Woodside to Rockaway Park) is based out of the LaGuardia Bus Depot and operates at all times. 

The Q52/Q53 SBS supplements the many existing local bus routes on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards by offering customers a ride faster than the existing limited bus service, thanks to improved bus stop spacing and several features that are unique to Select Bus Service. These features include off-board fare payment at SBS fare machines, which allows customers to pay fares before boarding at any of three doors on the buses. As a result, customers no longer have to wait to insert their MetroCards or cash at the bus fare box. The SBS fleet features the MTA’s newest, specially branded, articulated buses that feature distinctive SBS signage to differentiate them from local bus service. Traffic signal priority technology, which has proven to speed bus travel on other SBS routes, will be installed on the Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevard corridor in the coming years. Customers also will benefit from new wayfinding signs at many SBS stops that show real-time bus arrival information. Altogether, these features have proven to decrease travel times for customers on other SBS routes by as much as 20 percent while attracting new ridership by 10 percent. The push to bring Select Bus Service to more routes across the city is part of the MTA and NYCDOT’s broader efforts to improve bus service and attract new ridership. The MTA is in the process of upgrading its bus fleet with higher capacity buses, advanced operational technology such as traffic signal priority and pedestrian and collision safety warning systems, upgraded security systems and modern customer amenities such as digital information screens, USB charging ports and Wi-Fi. 

All Woodhaven/Cross Bay Corridor coverage: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Three Stations Along The (R) Line Are Re-Opened Ahead Of Schedule

Bay Ridge Avenue
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK-Three stations along the BMT 4th Avenue (R) Line in Brooklyn were originally closed for six months. The 53rd Street station was closed on March 27, 2017; re-opened on September 8th, 2017, Bay Ridge Avenue on April 29th, 2017; re-opened on October 13th, 2017, and lastly the Prospect Avenue station shut down on June 5th, 2017 and re-opened on November 2nd, 2017. Under the 2015–2019 MTA Capital Plan, the station, along with thirty other New York City Subway stations, underwent a complete overhaul as part of the Enhanced Station Initiative and was entirely closed for 5 months. Updates included cellular service, Wi-Fi, USB charging stations, interactive service advisories and maps. From January to May 2016, Grimshaw Architects worked on a design for the station's renovation, with Arup Group acting as a consultant. The award for Package 1 of the renovations, which covers renovations at the Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street, and Bay Ridge Avenue stations on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line, was awarded on November 30, 2016. The station closed on June 5, 2017 for these renovations, and reopened on November 2, 2017, a month ahead of schedule. Citnalta-Forte Joint Venture was selected to renovate the three stations under a $72 million design–build contract, the first such contract in the subway system's history. All three stations opened ahead of schedule. During the closures of the three stations, riders in Park Slope, South Park Slope, Gowanas , Greenwood Gardens, Sunset Park, and Bay Ridge had to resort to the B37 (via 3rd Avenue-days/evenings), B63 (via 5th Avenue-all times), and other bus routes in the surrounding areas. The next stations to be renovated, as part of the ESI, which also features new benches and new leaning boards are the 30th and 36th Avenue stations on the BMT Astoria Line in Queens, which temporary closed on Monday, October 23rd, 2017 until June 2018. Customers who uses those two stations will have to use the other open Astoria line stations, the Queens/Queensboro Plaza, 21st St-Queensbridge, Northern Blvd, and/or Steinway Street stations on the (E)(F)(M)(R)(7) Lines. We can also use the Q18, Q66, Q69, Q100LTD, and Q102 routes. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bx6-The Fifthteenth Bus Route To Join The NYC Bus Rapid Transit Family

NEW YORK, NY-The Bx6 +SelectBusService is the fifthteenth bus route to join the New York City Bus Rapid Transit family. It supplements the existing Bx6 local service, making stops at select high-ridership locations and all transfers points to Metro-North and the (1),(2),(4),(5),(6),(B),(C), &(D) subway lines.  Both services continue to provide links to the commuter railroad, subway lines, other bus routes and notable destinations like Yankee Stadium, the Bronx courthouses and the Hunts Point food markets. Both the local and +SBS+ counterparts (split into two) operates between Hunts Point, Bronx and Washington Heights, Manhattan. To accommodate the SBS launch and the route’s growing ridership, New York City Transit is also increasing service on the Bx6 local by adding early morning and evening trips on weekdays, as well as additional weekend trips.Approximately 24,000 daily Bx6 customers will benefit from the addition of Select Bus Service to the route, thanks to the implementation of SBS features that will help buses travel faster and improve traffic conditions and pedestrian safety in congested areas such as 161st Street between River and Morris avenues. Features that have been implemented on other Select Bus Service routes have decreased travel times by as much as 20 percent and helped to increase ridership by as much as 10 percent. MTA New York City Transit and NYC Department of Transportation conducted extensive outreach with communities along the Bx6 route, engaging in data collection, public comment periods, various community board and borough president meetings, and an open house to solicit feedback on SBS stop locations and street redesigns. These discussions led to changes such as curb extensions, increased pedestrian space and safer and easily accessible bus boarding. The service is based out of the West Farms Depot and fleet consists of 2017 New Flyer XN40 CNG Xcelsiors , seen here.

Extensive data collection and observations found that along the Bx6’s 6.3-mile route, vehicles parked in bus stops, double parking and traffic congestion slowed bus speeds to between 3 and 4 miles per hour in the 161st Street and Sherman Avenue area and through the vehicle tunnel under the Grand Concourse. As a result, those areas underwent major street redesigns to incorporate bus lanes, wider sidewalks for pedestrians, and median bus boarding islands to avoid vehicles parked in stops. Both the Bx6 SBS and local service benefit from these redesigns. Bx6 bus service before +SBS implementation can be found here and +SBS preview here. Commentary on this new +SBS route is also found here. Bx6 +SBS+ and Local Bus Action can be seen here. All action that was taken place on this route 

New York City Transit’s push to bring Select Bus Service, New York’s version of the Bus Rapid Transit concept, to more routes across the city is part of the MTA’s broad program to improve bus service and attract new ridership. The MTA is in the process of upgrading its bus fleet with modern customer amenities such as Wi-Fi, USB charging ports and digital information screens, and advanced bus operating technology such as traffic signal priority, and pedestrian and collision safety warning systems. Bx6 +SBS+ operates daily from 5am to 10pm, daily, while Bx6 local operates at all times.
Next bus routes to join the +SBS+ family are the Q52/53 (Woodhaven/Cross Bay) in Fall 2017 and the B82 (Southern Brooklyn) in Spring 2018.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Three Brooklyn (R) Train Stations Will Be Closed For A Transition Into The 21st Century

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK-Three century-old (R) line stations along the BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn will be the first to undergo an expansive subway station modernization project, with a new look and design that focuses on customer experience and modern amenities. Those 3 stations are the 53rd Street (Sunset Park), Prospect Avenue (Gowanas), and Bay Ridge Avenue (Bay Ridge), along the line.The 53rd Street R train station will completely close in both directions for six months starting March 27th, according to a press release from the MTA, which elaborates that the station will undergo "infrastructure work such as concrete and steel repairs; new platform edges; waterproofing; upgraded electrical and communications systems; track wall and platform wall repairs; new granite flooring; new stair finishes; glass barriers in station mezzanines; new LED lighting; and improved station signage."

After the 53rd Street station closes, the Bay Ridge Avenue stop will follow suit on April 29th, and the Prospect Av station will close on June 5th. The MTA and New York State Govenor Andrew Cuomo argue that closing the stations for six months straight with one contractor will ultimately save time and money, as opposed to doing the work piecemeal and running trains through the stations on a limited basis.The project overall is $72 million, with the work performed by Citnalta-Forte Joint Venture. The firm will use a design-build method at these stations, which is the first time that MTA New York City Transit is using the method for delivering construction projects.  The three soon-to-be renovated subway stations opened in 1915 as part of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation. The extensive renovations will require major demolition before work can begin. The three stations will receive renovations from the entrances to the turnstile areas to the mezzanines and platforms. It features infrastructure work such as concrete and steel repairs, new platform edges, waterproofing, upgraded electrical and communications systems. 
Once completed, customers will see refurbished entrances with new handrails, stair treads, wall tiles, totems and digital screens that provide real-time service information at the street level before they even enter the station. Canopies will be installed at select key entrances. Walls and ceilings will be repaired, and new granite flooring, informational dashboards and glass barriers will be installed. LED light fixtures for brighter, more secure areas will be installed, along with security cameras and Help Points. Digital screens for real-time arrival information, updated service information and advertising will be installed. Customer amenities include new station art; electronics charging stations built into station furnishings; new platform edges, and new benches and leaning bars.
This station renovation project will be completed in Fall 2017. In the meantime, we'll have to turn to the B37 (via 3rd Ave) and/or B63 (via 5th Ave), which runs parallel to the (R) Line, for alternate service. The next group of stations that will be renovated are the Broadway, 30 Av, 36 Av, and 39 Av stations along the BMT Astoria (N)(W) Lines in Queens.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Slowest Bus Route In The City Finally Becomes A +SelectBusService+ Route

NEW YORK, NY-It has finally become a reality. The M79 local bus route is now officially the brand new M79 +SelectBusService+ on Sunday May 21th, 2017. This is the 13th bus route to join the New York City Bus Rapid Transit family. The M79 Bus route is based out the Michael Joseph Quill depot in Manhattan along with the M14A/D and the M23, M34/A, & M60 +SBS+ routes. The 79th Sreet crosstown line serves the Upper East and West Side neighborhoods in Manhattan, as well as schools, job centers, Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History. It connects to 16 different bus routes, the M15 +SBS+, (1),(2)*,(4)*,(6),(A)*(B),(C) Lines, and the Second Avenue Subway (at 86th Street). Back in 2015, this route served over 18,000 passengers on a daily basis over 3 miles. It also won a pokey award by the straphangers campiagn for being the slowest bus in the city, only traveling 3.4 MPH. This new +SBS+ route operates at all times, and discontinued to serve the West 81st St/Amsterdam Av eastbound stop, due to low ridership, and sidewalk too narrow for the fare machines. Customers are advised to board the stop two blocks down at 79th Street.

A commentary vlog was performed, explaining the full M79 +SBS+ Implementation/Current M86 +SBS+ Improvements, provided by New York City Department of Transportation & Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  This route is the 13th +SelectBus+ route to join the New York City Bus Rapid Transit Family, just one day before the reopening of all of the Sea Beach local station stops. Its like EVERY articulated bus route from the Michael J. Quill Bus Depot is highly determined to become a +SelectBusService Route. I will truly misssed those 2003 New Flyer D60HF that travels along the route, but they tend to pop up along +SelectBus routes from time to time. You can always catch these old timers as well the new/latest Novabus LFSA, you can always see it here. Lastly, the moment of truth. The M79 +SelectBusService performing its +SelectBus+ action at East 79th Street & 2nd Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NY.  Later in the future, the Bx6 & Q52/Q53 will become +SelectBusService+ routes. This +SBS+ implementation costs $1.7 million. For more Transportation Hub, please subscribe to my Youtube Channel, today and enjoy the experience.

*Line serves the station late nights only for 77th, 79th, and/or 81st Streets

How does the M79 +SelectBusService+ improve your ride along 79th & 81st Streets? Please comment below!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Second Avenue Subway (A Century In The Making) & New Year, New Routes, New Routines (January 2017 Post)

UPPER EAST SIDE, NEW YORK CITY-After a century of recession, financial crisis, constant wars, and the Great Depression, the Independent (IND) Second Avenue Subway has been brought to life on Sunday, January 1st, 2017. Workers, residents, and anyone who travels and/or works on the Upper East Side will now have the choice of using the M15 +SBS, the brand new Second Avenue Subway, or the 100+ year old Lexington Avenue Subway Line. The IRT Lexington Avenue Subway Line, which is the only subway line on the East Side of Manhattan, is the most congested subway line until New Year's Day 2017. Congestion on the IRT East Side Line should ease up between 59th and 96th Streets, by 40%, when the Upper East Side riders utilizes the brand new Second Avenue Subway (Q) and selected rush-hour (N) Trains. Riders for the new subway line will come from the M15 route and/or the IRT Lexington Avenue Subway Line. The Upper East Side once had the Second and Third Avenue Elevated Lines, until both lines were demolished in 1942 and 1977, respectively. 

The initiation of the IND Second Avenue Subway brought the (W) Local and weekday/evening (N) Broadway Express. The state finally broke ground on the first phase of the line in April 2007, although construction work had been undertaken in previous decades in Chinatown and East Harlem. MTA officials say that once it is complete, the Second Avenue subway will allow residents and commuters easier access to mass transit on the city’s East Side. Last month, this subway line was still in construction. The subway line, the first major expansion of the system in more than 50 years, will span 8.5 miles from 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in lower Manhattan. Station tours will be available on the newly 96th, 86th and 72nd Streets. Expansion to the 63rd Street-Lexington Avenue station and rush hour (N) and (Q) Action along the new line. It opened to the public on Jan. 1, 2017, one day after the New Years Eve inaugural ride. Phase I costs about $86M. The second phase, between 125th and 96th Streets, was allocated $525 million in the MTA's 2015–2019 Capital Plan for planning, design, environmental studies, and utility relocation. Construction wont begin until 2018-2019. Phase II will begin in 2027-2029. I was at both the inaugural ride and the opening day at 96th Street. During this month, we also experienced a revised M5 and new M55 bus routes. More awesome stories and events will continue in my next post. 

For more Transportation Hub, please subscribe to my channel. 

New Year 2017.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Straphangers Report Card (Last Blog Post Of 2016)

The (L) along with IRT's (1) & (7) Lines, are tied for 1st place
NEW YORK-Leap year 2016 has come to a close as we have the results of the Straphangers Report Card for 2016. We have not one, not two, but three subway lines are tied for first place. Those lines are the 1 (IRT Broadway-7th Avenue Line) which operates between Van Courtlandt Park-242nd St (Bronx) and South Ferry (Manhattan) , 7 (IRT Flushing Line) which operates between Flushing, Queens and 34th St-Hudson Yards (Manhattan), and the L (BMT Canarsie Line) which operates between 8th Av-14th St (Manhattan) and Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway (Brooklyn). While on the other hand, the 5 (IRT Lexington Avenue Express) and A (IND 8th Avenue Express), was rated the worst.

The 2016 Straphangers Report Card. All data from Gene Russianoff and Jaqi Cohen.
This is the 3rd time in the 2010s that the (7) is rated one of the best subway lines by the Straphangers Campaign. In my opinion, which an actual fact, the (7) should not have been listed one of the best subway lines in the system because throughout 2014 to 2016, the (7) had experienced major congestion during rush hours just like any other subway line in the system, had frequent service changes in the weekends, and a had major power outage on the entire line from end to end that screwed up service, due to ice being stuck on the third track. If any subway line should be rated the worst, it the (R). The (R) has the most car breakdowns, inaudible announcements, late arrival, and sluggish cars, which make service on the line highly unreliable.

The (5) is one of the most useful, most popular, most god-blessed subway lines. It was rated the worst last year along with the (B), who was rated the worst last year, In most spots the (5) helps out in segments where the (2) and (4) could be out due to service changes. The (5) travels between Dyre Avenue, The Bronx and Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, during weekdays and evenings. It also serves Wakefield (The Bronx), Utica and/or New Lots Avenues (Brooklyn) ,and runs Bronx thru Express during peak rush hour. Weekends, trains terminate at Bowling Green, and late night trains operate between Dyre Avenue and East 180th Street, only. It doesn't deserve the constant hate its receiving because the cars are clean, trains arrive on time, and has clear audible announcements. The only thing its needs to improve on is its congestion rate. The (A) is the longest subway line, traveling between Inwood, Manhattan and Ozone Park/The Rockaways in Queens. Its highly reliable and also does not deserve all the hate it gets. It's not the worst line. The only things that needs improvement are the breakdowns, announcements, and service regularity. For more Transportation Hub, please SUBSCRIBE today to my channel. Below is the amount of money out of the $2.75 base fare each of the subway line made. Please check out the COMMENTARY BLOG. Please check out the Straphangers Campaign Website for full details of your subway line.

How do you rate your subway line? Do you agree with this Straphangers Report Card? Please comment below.