BRT roundup

Thursday, June 18, 2009

WNYC reporter Andrea Bernstein has been reporting on Bus Rapid Transit plans from Bogota to New York City. She talks about busses in cities around the world. Then Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation discusses the results for New York's pilot BRT programs and plans for expansion.


Andrea Bernstein and Janette Sadik-Khan

Comments [43]

JP from The Garden State

bernard joseph from brooklyn ,

That’s great until its your house that needs to be knocked down or your elderly parent’s house that gets knocked down or affordable housing complex that gets knocked down. Its easy say eminent domain wont really harm anyone because its for the good of all. Eminent domain is only good for the people who get the land, not the people who get it taken away.

Jun. 18 2009 11:59 AM
Maria from Harlem

I have to look both ways before crossing? So it's my fault that I was hit by someone going the wrong way? Yes, it's the person who was mugged's fault for carrying money. Yes.


Jun. 18 2009 11:56 AM
Maria from Harlem

There needs to be registration for Bicycles and enforcement of traffic rules for them.

I was waiting to cross a one-way street. When the light turned white so I can cross the street, I checked if any cars were coming. The street was clear so I started to cross and a bike crashed into me. The bike was coming the wrong way fast enough that he couldnt stop or slow down. His bike hit my face in the front of his handles where the basket is, cutting a hole in my face! The bicyclist tried to ride away but two good samaratins helped me up and stopped the bicyclist from fleeing. Blood was EVERYWHERE! I needed stiches and I still have a scar. The woman who stayed with me and stopped the blood told me she knows exactly how I feel because the year before she was hit by a bicycle and was in a coma for 5 days.

We need to register and ticket bicyclists.

Jun. 18 2009 11:54 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

hey JP- the majority of existing track lines in this country are straight even in the nyc subway. i.e-2nd ave line, N/R in bklyn. yes, there would have to be adjustments in speed due to the existing curves/grades etc. but could go MUCH faster on the straight runs.
and if we're going to use eminent domain to build a stupid basketball stadium in brooklyn then maybe we can knock down some houses for the mushc greater good of a high speed rail in the NY metro area.

Jun. 18 2009 11:47 AM
bas from brooklyn

to Louise-
the buses are on dedicated lanes, in a centre strip in the avenue and you would not have the issues that you write about. it is like light rail- just millions cheaper.
I agree that buses that veer in to traffic and out of it are dangerous and do not make sense.

Jun. 18 2009 11:44 AM
JP from The Garden State

To all in love with the idea of high speed rail, a dirty little secret for true high speed rail like the Japanese and French system ( and unlike the so called Amtrak high speed rail from Boston to DC) requires dedicated strait line. You cant have any curves on a 220+ mph train. So that means train tracks plow through anything in its way. That’s farms, forests, housing, etc… Can you say eminent domain on a very large scale?

Jun. 18 2009 11:24 AM
Louise from Manhattan

These high speed buses in Manhattan are awful. They go much too fast and make the experience of walking in New York, and biking in New York, entirely terrifying. the huge Mack need to be banned as well. My son stepped off the curb as we all do when walking about the city, on lower Braoday at lunchtime when he was 16 and was struck by a high speed bus. Luckily he survived with only a few broken teeth, severely bruised shoulder and plenty of stitches. No fun. Streetcars and light rail is much better. i wonder whose posket the commisioner is in, as she is so gung ho on this without considering the REAL SAFETY ISSUES here.

Jun. 18 2009 11:16 AM
bas from brooklyn

I think you should have Jaime Lerner on your show. He pioneered the overground subway in Curitiba, and the Bogota plan is taken from the Curitiba example. He is in town now, for the next week.
He created the system while being the mayor for three terms from 1972 on, and then was governor of the state of Parana in Brazil. He is a city planner/ architect and currently advising many cities. He is also currently involved with a new plan for Brasilia, nominated to that post by Oscar Niemeyer.
Jaime is a great inspiring presence who applied many things on a large scale in a time when most cities (NYC included) was still believing in car dominated planning.
Full disclosure- he is my father in law-
and a lovely guy all over- but you really should have him on your show.

Jun. 18 2009 11:11 AM
James from Brooklyn

While sharing bus lanes with bikes sounds like a good idea, it actually would not work well. In London there are dedicated bus lanes which bikes use. How terribly frustrating it is to be on a bus loaded with 50 to 100 people ALL of whom are dalayed because the bus has to crawl (at bike speed) behind a not-too fast-rider. How selfish is it that 100 people have to be delayed for one lone rider who is riding at his own pace?

Jun. 18 2009 11:09 AM
Louise Thompson from Manhattan

Concerning High Speed Buses, to quote the Commissioner you had on the air,"There are REAL safety issues" with these high speed buses. People step off the curb in New York. Everyone does this. my son, in 2000 at the age of sixteen stepped off the curb on Braodway at a weekday lunch-time and was swiped by an Express bus. Luckily he got through it with a few broken teeth a severly bruised shoulder and much pain. He said he saw a bus but did not think it was going so fast. THIS IS NOT A HUMAN TRANSPORT FOR A CITY. This kind of bus is to take people between cities. Huge Mack Trucks ought to be banned as well. I do not want to live in New York if we have these monstrous speeding vehicles to be terrified of on every other corner. Light rail and street cars are perfectly fine and human. In addition, the idea of bicycles sharing an Express bus lane is sheer lunacy. This woman is WAY off base! I wonder about her interests.

Jun. 18 2009 11:08 AM
Gail from Manhattan

Two words.... stay right!
On sidewalks, stairs, escalators, paths please stay to your right. That will help facilitate the flow of humanity.

Jun. 18 2009 11:06 AM
pc from nyc

And, by the way, congestion pricing should have been voted in -- now everyone complains about the fare hikes, service cuts, and job cuts.

Jun. 18 2009 11:03 AM
Lance from UES

Jean(11), I've wondered that, too. I think it's because it would make it harder for cars to make right turns if the buses stopped on the near side of the corner. Chicago's corners have less pedestrian traffic, so the cars can turn more easily despite the buses being there.

Jun. 18 2009 11:01 AM
pc from nyc

#7 -- That is so very true. If the police department would do their job and issue tickets to double parkers the traffic WOULD move much faster, not to mention all the money the City could bring in. It's prevalent all over the tri-state : 125th street, Northern Blvd in Queens, you name it...

Jun. 18 2009 11:01 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

casey-yes, we should have high speed rail in NYC. the dysfunctional entity known as the MTA needs to be dissolved and an efficient european type rail system can be implemented. this is where stimulus money should be going- tons of jobs going toward something that will benefit the people for the foreseeable future. yes, it's a huge project that would take time but if managed efficiently(not MTA) it could be done. i.e.-the empire state building was built in 13 mos.! that type of efficiency can't be done anymore?
do you know how long they've been trying to "fix" the gowanus expy/BQE in brooklyn? my whole life and it's not getting better, but worse. if they dedicated more lanes to buses, this would help??

Jun. 18 2009 10:57 AM
Rick from Upper West Side

Require passengers to disembark using the rear door.

Eliminate bus stops every two blocks. aka Broadway

Jun. 18 2009 10:57 AM
G. Giraldo from Harlem

In Bogota did they have to use eminant domaine to get the space needed to make the dedicated bus routes?

Jun. 18 2009 10:56 AM
JP from The Garden State

Fact: A full bus has the lowest grams of CO2 per passenger mile (that’s over trains, planes and cars). An empty bus has the most grams of CO2 per passenger mile. (popular science, May 2009). Keep the buses full and you will be ok.

Jun. 18 2009 10:55 AM
judy from NYC

Keep taxis out of bus stops, and really demand that people exit from the rear during busy times.

Jun. 18 2009 10:55 AM
David Hunter from Kensington, Bklyn (Ocean Parkway)

I fully support NYC's effort to re-think the use of our streets, including dedictated use of some portion of the the streets for buses, BRT, bicyclists, pedestrian plazas, etc.

I have a car and I like to drive, but we need more and better mass transit options for everyone.


Jun. 18 2009 10:55 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

It's telling about the decline of our public sector and the rise of finance and real estate interests that we in New York are looking to copy the models of Curitiba (koo-rih-CHEE-ba) and Bogotá instead of Paris and Tokyo.

Jun. 18 2009 10:55 AM

They also need to upgrade the system that tracks where buses are so that they don't clump together. In Brooklyn, especially the B38 in my neighborhood, you see 3 to 4 buses one after the other, then none for 15-20 mins. This means that the first bus is packed and the last one is empty.

Jun. 18 2009 10:55 AM
Cecile from Manhattan

What about wheelchairs? Getting them on and off the bus will still slow things way down even if there are two bus lanes on 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Jun. 18 2009 10:55 AM
JP in the Garden Sate from The Garden State

Fact: A full bus has the lowest grams of CO2 per passenger mile (that’s over trains, planes and cars). An empty bus has the most grams of CO2 per passenger mile. (popular science, May 2009). Keep the buses full and you will be ok.

Jun. 18 2009 10:55 AM
Rob from The Bronx

Whenever transit plans are suggested it seems to be Manhattan centric, please ask the commish is she is going to show the outer boroughs some love?

Jun. 18 2009 10:54 AM
christina from Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

How will they separate the bus lanes from the street? I can see cabbies and bikes riding all over the lane if its just separated by paint. On a second note, how will this change bike lanes?

Jun. 18 2009 10:54 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

There are already dedicated bus lanes which seem to work well. I'm thinking of parts of 3rd Ave. and I think Madison Ave. There should be more.

It's a good thing to kick cars of the road so people are less likely to drive in when they have an option for faster, more efficient above ground public transportation.

Jun. 18 2009 10:54 AM
Renata from NY

Have they looked at the Curitiba, Brazil bus system? It's a beautiful thing! and has worked really well for years now.....

Jun. 18 2009 10:53 AM
Ben from Providence

How is this superior to the subway?

Jun. 18 2009 10:52 AM

The only issue I have with off-board ticketing (where you swipe your metrocard or can buy a fare before getting on the bus) is that these machines tend to get trashed. When I lived in London, they were constantly vandalized. Riders would have to beg the drivers to let them on without a fare, since they could not buy one from the broken machine.

Jun. 18 2009 10:52 AM
Chris from NYC

PLEASE consider a cross town limited!!! Also, during the morning hours (say, just 7:15-8:15) a few well chosen extra stops on the limited buses would redistribute some of the students going to school by making it easier for them to take either the local or limited, rather than piling them all onto the local

Jun. 18 2009 10:52 AM
Nicole from Washington Heights

I live on Broadway in Washington Heights right around the bus depot. The street is always clogged by many buses, people who are double parked, delivery vehicles and every emergency vehicle in the area.

All of this traffic slows the buses. Could there be a way to reroute the traffic around here...possibly allowing emergency vehicles and delivery trucks on Ft. Washington?

Jun. 18 2009 10:51 AM
Jean from Brooklyn

One thing I've always wondered is why buses stop on the far side of the stop light. So often I find that is the only reason I'm able to walk crosstown faster than buses. You stop at the light for a long time, then stop again right across the intersection. Why not consolidate that time? In Chicago, all bus stops are right before a light.

Jun. 18 2009 10:50 AM
Jon from NYC

The "Select Bus" Bx12 is only good when it runs in The Bronx - the minute it hits the 207th St. Br., or after 11PM, it's 100% useless.

Jun. 18 2009 10:50 AM

#2 Bernard--they are talking about NYC. You think we should have HIGH SPEED RAIL throughout NYC?

Jun. 18 2009 10:50 AM
snoop from brooklyn

Speed speed speed. Each and every mode of public transit in New York needs to be sped up. Make it faster, and more people will ride. Make it faster and it will be more useful. It's really amazing that speed has been such a low priority for transit planners.

Jun. 18 2009 10:49 AM
Joel Levenson from Manhattan

Part of the problem is that NYPD does not do their job of enforcing the laws against double parking, and parking in bus stops. If the police would consistantly enforce the law, all traffic would move faster.

Jun. 18 2009 10:49 AM
Lance from UES

How will the BRT system handle disabled passengers? On the regular bus lines (Manhattan's 14th street buses come to mind), the time required to load and unload passengers in wheelchairs significantly slows the progress of the buses.

Jun. 18 2009 10:49 AM
pc from nyc

Well, funny thing is, on 34th street, pedestrians take over the 2nd lane and 99% of the time a police van will park in the dedicated lane forcing buses into the car lane. I know, I walk down this street everyday on my way home.

Jun. 18 2009 10:49 AM
ED from Staten Island

The one public transportation system run by City is the Staten Island Ferry. The Bloomberg administration record on this front is dismal. When the coffers were full, Bloomberg vetoed a bill that would have guaranteed 1/2 hour service because it cost $5 million per year. Then he christened fish tanks in the Ferry terminal that cost 3/4 of a million dollars in the midst of a fiscal crisis.

Why would BRT be run any better?

Jun. 18 2009 10:47 AM
antonio from park slope

I know portland oregon is smaller, but they have moved towards streetcars and lightrails.. Isn't BRT more expensive? Streetcars and lightrails would only require the the building of tracks and the shelters...

Jun. 18 2009 10:47 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

no,no,no!! this is such a short-sighted attempt at a solution. HIGH SPEED RAILis the way!!! anyone ever been to europe? maybe it's a bit more efficient than BOGOTA, is she kidding me?
jobs, lower CO2emissions, speed/efficiency.
we need to get commuters OFF of the roads and int high speed rail. why is this not discussed more?? i dont understand but i do know that a BRT is a moronic idea to solve this problem.

Jun. 18 2009 10:46 AM
stuart from manhattan

The newer hybrid buses are slow and have fewer seats. To get to the rear seats, one has to climb steps, which is difficult if you have small children or you are elderly. Why wasn't the seating configured like the older buses?
and regarding the articulated buses (these are the buses with the accordian-like device in the middle which are mostly used on crosstown routes) - when will the drivers be trained to properly pull into bus stops without blocking 2 lanes of traffic? these buses have been in service for quite a while, and even though the bus stops have been elongated to accomodate the larger buses, drivers still can't stay in one lane. does anyone review driver performance?

Jun. 18 2009 09:28 AM

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