Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday a new advisory group to increase the speed of MTA buses on critical corridors like Flatbush's Church Avenue, one of Brooklyn's densest traffic areas.
The Better Buses Action Plan advisory group, comprised of members from various city agencies, the MTA, elected officials and transit advocates, will work toward increasing bus speeds by 25 percent by the end of 2020. The group, which includes Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, kicked off their work with a ride on the B35 bus along Church Avenue, which is plagued by slow bus speeds and a high rate of accidents, making the busy east-west corridor a top 2019 project location, officials said.
"Church Avenue is a bustling corridor, where keeping buses moving is a persistent challenge —as we try to strike a balance among the needs of commuters, shoppers, merchants and delivery trucks in one of Brooklyn's densest neighborhoods," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "The Better Buses plan will bring sensible changes to Church Avenue that will not only make commutes faster and more reliable, but will make one of Brooklyn's most crash-prone streets safer for everyone."
New York City has 2.5 times more bus riders than any other city in the country, but also the nation's slowest buses, with a current average speed of just eight miles an hour.
The 0.9- mile stretch of Church Avenue between Flatbush Avenue and Ocean Parkway carries four different MTA bus routes with a combined daily ridership of 45,000; the B35, which travels across Brooklyn from Brownsville to Sunset Park, has an average speed of only 4.9 MPH during the morning commute and 3.6 MPH in the evening and is among the slowest routes in the city.
The street is also plagued by a variety of traffic issues such as double parking, truck loading and long traffic queues, often caused by turning vehicles. Safety along the corridor has also long been a concern: Over the last five years, this portion of Church Avenue has seen 481 serious injury crashes, including two fatalities.
To improve the bus service and traffic issues on the avenue, the DOT proposes new curbside dedicated bus lanes and updated curb regulations, including new and adjusted truck loading zones and metered parking, to accommodate deliveries and parking activity.
"I am glad to see the transit needs of my constituents being addressed; our corridor is long overdue for improvements," said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. "The B35 line is a critical line to connect our community to cultural hubs along both Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue. I hope to see these improvements exhibited through more efficient traffic and better bus conditions for commuters."