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Transportation Nation

Atlantic Avenue: First Major NYC Road to Get Lower Speed Limits

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A thoroughfare that runs through Brooklyn and Queens is getting the Vision Zero treatment.

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Transportation Nation

Bus Bridge from Brooklyn: Jay Street, Not Barclays, Best Bet Right Now

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Brooklyn "bus bridge" locations

(SEE UPDATE BELOW) Manhattan-bound Brooklynites: Go to Jay Street, not Barclays -- it will immeasurably improve your ride into Manhattan.

We're getting reports this morning that Thursdays' Brooklyn-Manhattan commute is proving...challenging. But once riders clear daunting lines at the three bus bridge locations in Brooklyn, traffic over the bridges into Manhattan is moving quickly.

But because the line at Barclays Center is longer than the line at Jay Street -- and Jay Street is closer to the Manhattan Bridge -- riders are being directed to the bus bridge stop at Jay.

Here's what we know: this morning, TN's Andrea Bernstein was at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. The arena was built at this site because of its 11 subway lines and Long Island Rail Road service. And now it's functioning as the site of one of three MTA-operated "bus bridges" that must shuttle passengers between the two boroughs until the subway tunnels can be restored.

(Subway and LIRR service to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center was relatively uneventful -- even uncrowded. To encourage transit use, the MTA isn't collecting fares.)

Subway fares have been waived (photo by Caitlyn Kim)

But as those transit riders pour out of the Atlantic Avenue terminal, they are confronted by bus lines that she says wrap entirely around the arena.

"Thousands of them are in line," Andrea said. She said MTA workers were getting people onto buses as quickly as they can -- but once the bus is loaded, it must confront traffic. "They are waiting for a police escort to help take them down Flatbush Avenue across the Manhattan Bridge," she said.

People whose commute normally takes 45 minutes told Andrea that it's taken them an hour and a half just to get to the Barclays Center, and that's before taking the bus to Manhattan.

The line to board a bus on Hewes Street, Brooklyn (photo by Jim O'Grady)

Meanwhile, in Williamsburg, WNYC's Jim O'Grady said Hewes Street isn't quite that crowded--but not by much.

Speaking by cell phone, he said "I'm looking at a line that is a block long." Or it was a block long, before another J train disgorged dozens more people who promptly got in line for the bus over the Williamsburg Bridge.

Boarding the Hewes Street bus (photo by Jim O'Grady)

Jim said the crowds boarding buses was reminiscent of a Tokyo subway: "There are MTA workers in orange vests, and they are pushing people onto the buses and forcibly closing the doors on them."

It sounds dire, but Jim said the 10 MTA workers were efficient and doing a good job.

But, like Barclays Center, the buses are pulling out into traffic.

Jim said police are checking to make sure each vehicle has three passengers in it -- ensuring compliance with the new HOV rules. Once drivers clear that checkpoint, he said, traffic seems to be moving well over the bridge.

(UPDATE 10:20) Once buses make it to the Manhattan Bridge, the ride over is a stark contrast to the line gridlock.

Or, as Andrea says: "That was awesome! I got to Manhattan so quickly that I missed my stop!"

Later, Andrea reported that she was seeing a lot more police officers directing traffic. "They were really there, they were really doing it."

It sounds like the dedicated bus lanes are working as intended: they are speeding traffic over the bridge. Andrea also said that southbound riders told her they made great time from 57th Street to Spring Street -- it was a 15 minute trip.

Andrea reports that someone on the bus was so happy with the speed it was traveling he told her: "imagine if we had rapid bus transit, then the buses would be like this all the time."

Remember, transit riders: MTA head Joe Lhota warned riders Wednesday night that the commute would be tough. “Be flexible about your travel times," he added in an emailed statement. "We have come a long way in a short time to repair the damage from the most devastating event to strike our transportation system.”

For more travel info, visit our transit tracker.

 

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Transportation Nation

NY MTA: 60 Smaller Bollards to Replace Atlantic Terminal "Coffins"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The NY MTA will replace the 15 huge granite blocks that protected its Atlantic Terminal with 60 smaller bollards.

According to the agency:

“The MTA and the Long Island Rail Road listened to concerns from local elected officials and community leaders who felt the stone bollards were intrusive and out-of-scale at their current size. As part of the original design, there were 15 granite bollards surrounding the new $108 million Atlantic Terminal Pavillion when it opened in January 2010. In consultation with the MTA Police and NYPD, we decided to replace the granite bollards with 60 smaller steel bollards that still meet the security requirements spelled out by the NYPD for public buildings of this kind. The new bollards will be 36 inches in height and approximately 12 inches wide. They will be placed around the perimeter of Atlantic Terminal approximately 4 feet apart. The removal of the old bollards and the installation of the new bollards is part of [a] comprehensive perimeter security project being undertaken by MTA Capital Construction through a grant from the federal government. On April 12, a contract for the project was awarded to Adtec Enterprises of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., after the company submitted the winning low bid of $3.486 million. The overall project will take one year to complete, but most of the bollards have already been removed and installation of the steel replacements is expected to get underway soon.”

TN reported Tuesday that workers were outside Atlantic Terminal, excavating the granite bollards. (Click here to see pictures.) According to the MTA, the largest granite block was nine feet long by three feet wide by three-and-a-half feet high -- and weighed between 14,000 and 16,000 lbs.

We now know the scale of the new bollards, so we created a model out of two giant post-it notes. Here's a view of our (admittedly unimposing) paper one, which stands waist-high next to a TN reporter:

(photo by Andrea Bernstein)

Here's another comparative view: our model bollard next to a completely unfolded MTA subway map (which is roughly 23" by 32.5"):

(photo by Kate Hinds)

We've asked the MTA whether the new bollards will look like the ones ringing Grand Central Terminal (image below). We'll update when we know more.

(image from Google Street View)

 

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Transportation Nation

Controversial Atlantic Avenue "Coffins" Now Being Removed in Brooklyn

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

(photo by Andrea Bernstein)

(UPDATED WITH MTA INFORMATION) The imposing concrete bollards surrounding Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal station are coming down.

The so-called "coffins" appeared without warning in 2010, when the new terminal was opened. "More Extreme Than NYPD Counterterror Guidelines" mocked a Streetsblog headline. Urban planners decried the bollards as pedestrian-unfriendly and a backwards model of city design.

The Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines stop at the Atlantic Terminal station, which will serve the new Barclays Center arena when it opens in September.

New York's MTA cited unspecified security concerns in installing what the Brooklyn Paper called "sarcophagi."

Workers there say the bollards will be replaced with "something else."

A spokesman for the MTA said that "something else" is new, smaller bollards. The work is part of a $3.5 million security upgrade at the subway terminal.

Deconstruction: bollards being removed in downtown Brooklyn (photo by Andrea Bernstein)

 

(photo by Andrea Bernstein)

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Transportation Nation

Atlantic Avenue Station in Brooklyn Renamed "Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center" as New Arena Nears Completion

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Atlantic Avenue gets some new signs (photo taken on 5/17/12 by Kamicia Bass/WNYC)

Opening season for the Brooklyn Nets is four months away, but signs are already going up in the Atlantic Avenue station to reflect its new name: Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.

The MTA has also updated the subway map on its  website to reflect the change. An MTA spokesman said the new name will appear on printed maps this summer.

Forest City Ratner, the developer of the site the stadium sits on in downtown Brooklyn, is paying the MTA $200,000 for 20 years for the naming rights to the station.

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