The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, United States Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Peter Rogoff today announced the awarding of a $28 million Federal Transit Administration grant to NYC DOT for construction of the Nostrand Avenue-Rogers Avenue Select Bus Service (SBS). The route, which now cuts a 9.3 mile swath right through some of Brooklyn's densest neighborhoods along the B44 line, is among the city's 10 busiest lines, serving 39,000 riders daily. The grant, the largest of its kind for a single NYC SBS project, will fund the entire project, bringing 10 miles of new bus lanes, newly paved streets, a dozen bus bulbs, and the reconstruction of the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza. The project, which is also the recipient of matching funds from the state, city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will introduce new three-door, low-floor articulated buses to the line, along with the off-board fare collection machines which have become just one of the many hallmarks of SBS service. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Secretary LaHood, Commissioner Sadik-Khan and US DOT representatives participated in a Project Construction Grant Agreement (PCGA) signing ceremony held this afternoon at City Hall.
“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 New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “SBS continues to bring enhanced service to densely populated areas in need of transportation enhancements.”
“Hurricane Sandy reminded us all of the importance of transportation options every day, but especially following a crisis,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Nostrand Avenue BRT will offer commuters, tourists and others greater options when traveling to work, school and other activities. At the same time, we will continue to coordinate with our transit partners to get the entire New York region back on its feet.”
“Enhancing bus service in Brooklyn means more options for working families struggling with long commutes,” said Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “I am pleased to see federal resources employed to improve transportation options for New Yorkers.”
“The implementation of the Nostrand Avenue-Rogers Avenue SBS line is a welcome addition for the millions of New Yorkers who rely on public transportation in order to commute across the city,” said Representative Yvette D. Clarke. “I want to applaud the New York City Department of Transportation for recognizing the need in our community and working diligently to secure the Federal grant that will benefit the residents of the 11th Congressional District, whose travel time will be significantly reduced.”
“This important Federal grant to NYC DOT will improve bus service for countless Brooklyn residents and visitors alike,” said Representative-elect Hakeem Jeffries. “Speedier bus service will bring New Yorkers where they are going faster, and also help boost local business by enhancing transit access to storefronts along the way.”
“I am pleased to learn that the New York City Department of Transportation will receive a substantial federal grant for the implementation of the Nostrand Avenue-Rogers Avenue Select Bus Service line,” said Representative Edolphus ‘Ed’ Towns. “This bus line provides service for more than 40,000 Brooklyn residents on an average weekday from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay. This improved service will make life much easier for bus riders, particularly for senior citizens who rely heavily on bus transportation.”
“This is great news,” said Council Member Letitia James. “This substantial federal grant to be given to the NYCDOT for the implementation of the Nostrand Ave.-Rogers, and Bedford Avenue corridor will provide faster, improved bus service for the 44,000 daily riders on the B44 route. These improvements will help many reduce travel time and enhance our infrastructure.”
“The implementation of the Nostrand Avenue-Rogers Avenue select bus service line will ensure efficient and reliable public transportation between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay, linking many communities throughout Brooklyn,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Hurricane Sandy reminded all New Yorkers just how essential bus service is to our city, but for commuters who rely on this bus line every day, these upgrades can't come soon enough. I applaud DOT for prioritizing these types of improvements.”
The B44 route is regarded as very slow, averaging under 7 miles per hour. The addition of the largest amount of off-set bus lanes for any SBS related project in the United States will allow the buses to go faster along the 9.3 mile length of the route. Other enhancements, such as the bus bulbs and road resurfacing, will benefit all users of the road by making the street smoother, and improving pedestrian safety.
The City's four existing Select Bus Service routes currently serve approximately 100,000 riders daily, and 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. In September 2012, City and MTA officials launched new SBS along Staten Island's Hylan Boulevard.
As with all SBS projects, DOT and MTA have engaged in a detailed and thorough notification process with stakeholders, community boards and elected officials along the route. The final design was completed this year and construction is expected to begin this year into next, with B44 SBS beginning in fall 2013.