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.