Broroklyn Daily Eagle
A $28 million federal Department of Transportation grant will fund nearly 10 miles of Select Bus Service lanes, newly paved streets, bus bulb-outs and other improvements throughout Brooklyn, from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay.
The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and federal officials said yesterday that the new bus service would run along the present route of the B44 line, one of the city’s 10 busiest, serving 39,000 riders daily.
Select Bus Service (SBS) is designed to make riding the bus more like riding the subway. The service includes dedicated bus lanes, off-board fare payment, limited stops, and low-floor, three-door articulated buses.
The grant, the largest of its kind for a single city SBS project, will fund the entire project, including the reconstruction of the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza. The final design was completed this year and construction is expected to begin this year into next, with B44 SBS beginning in fall 2013.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Secretary LaHood, Commissioner Sadik-Khan and US DOT representatives participated in a Project Construction Grant Agreement (PCGA) signing ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday.
“I think everyone who saw Sandy from near or afar recognized the critical role buses played once the subway system went down, underscoring the value of these types of investments in our transportation infrastructure,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan.
Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) said, “Enhancing bus service in Brooklyn means more options for working families struggling with long commutes.”
Representative Yvette D. Clarke applauded the city’s DOT for “working diligently to secure the Federal grant that will benefit the residents of the 11th Congressional District, whose travel time will be significantly reduced.”
The B44 route is regarded as very slow, according to DOT, averaging less than 7 miles per hour. The addition of the off-set bus lanes will allow the buses to go faster; other enhancements, such as the bus bulbs and road resurfacing, will make the street smoother and improve pedestrian safety.
Last month the city and the MTA announced potential SBS from routes in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens to LaGuardia Airport that would begin next year or 2014.
The three original SBS lines – along Fordham Road in the Bronx (2008), First and Second Avenues in Manhattan (2010) and 34th Street (2011) – have improved bus speeds by as much as 20 percent, with passenger satisfaction of up to 98 percent, according to DOT. In September 2012, City and MTA officials launched new SBS along Staten Island’s Hylan Boulevard.
DOT and NYCT are considering additional Select Bus Service routes for neighborhoods that are not served by the subway system, have transit trips that are long and slow, overcrowded subways and areas that are expected to experience significant growth.
These include a Bushwick to Downtown Brooklyn corridor, a Southern Brooklyn East-West corridor, and a Flatbush Avenue route.