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Sixty Woodhaven Boulevard BRT/SBS Questions

Prepared by the Queens Public Transit Committee – 4/22/15

General Questions

1. Your report seems to indicate SBS will help everyone. Is there anyone who will be hurt by SBS?

2. In order to provide a fair assessment to determine that more people will be helped than hurt by SBS, shouldn’t you be comparing the time saved by bus passengers with the time lost by automobiles and trucks? If not why not?

3. Why have you still not provided traffic counts that were requested one year ago and when will we get them? You stated at the March CAC meeting that you could provide them.

4. If the traffic is so severe during rush hours as to significantly delay buses, won't the reduction of a travel lane for general traffic make those delays for cars even worse?

5. Why wasn’t BRT on the abandoned Beach Line along the same corridor considered as an alternative where traffic would not have been impacted by reducing general traffic lanes?

6. Will the speed limit on Woodhaven Boulevard be lowered and if so, would that not be counterproductive to having the buses travel faster?

7. How many parking spaces will be lost by the extension of bus stops to accommodate the longer buses?

8. What are the initial costs to provide SBS enforcement such as cameras?

9. What are the ongoing annual costs to maintain the cameras if they are installed, the annual costs to employ the Eagle Team to ensure that the passengers are paying their fare, and the costs to maintain pavement markings when they wear out, the costs to maintain the fare machines and the time clocks that will be installed?

10. The plan was originally budgeted at $28 million. It has increased to $200 million. What are we getting for the $200 million that we weren't getting for the original $28 million? Shouldn't we be getting ten times the benefits for ten times the cost?

Bus Service Questions for the MTA

11. Where is it written down that it is official MTA policy for local bus drivers to accept an SBS receipt as proof of payment?

12. Will you be using the longer buses on the Q52 and Q53 and will that mean service cuts since those buses hold more passengers and you base your service levels on how crowded the buses are.

13. If there are less Q52 and Q53 buses because they are longer, how will the increased wait times affect the projected travel time savings for the passengers?

14. Since you are adding bus stops to the Q52 and Q53 won't that result in fewer people riding the local Q11 and Q21 and therefore result in less service on those lines?

15. Will you cut local service as you have done on other SBS routes such as the B44 where service at local bus stops south of Avenue U were cut by as much as 75%?

16. How many bus stops will be removed from the Rockaways, Broad Channel and in Elmhurst, and how much further will riders have to walk to the SBS?

17. Why can’t you extend the Q52 to Far Rockaway now instead of us having to wait three years until BRT is completed?

18. If more people take the Q52 because it is extended, how will you determine how much of the additional ridership resulted from the route extension and how much of the ridership resulted from SBS? Doesn’t it make more sense to first extend the Q52 before you add SBS?

19. The scheduled running time end to end on the Q53 is 64 minutes. What will the scheduled running time be after BRT or SBS is implemented? How do you figure that bus travel times will decrease by up to 35%?

20. If buses are regularly significantly delayed during the rush hours due to traffic, why isn't that delay reflected in the bus's running time which should reflect actual road conditions and wouldn’t having realistic running times improve service?

21. Can you show us how SBS has improved bus reliability on other routes? If your answer is that ridership on SBS routes has increased, isn’t it true that ridership on the M15 in 2013 was actually less than in 2008 before SBS was instituted?

22. If you intend to have exclusive lanes during middays, evenings, and weekends, how much time would the buses save during those hours only? Buses are already operating at top speeds of 30 and 35 mph during those hours or is that not true?

23. Why is no SBS stop proposed at N and S Conduit Avenues so B15 riders from Brooklyn and JFK airport riders and employees could transfer to the SBS?

24. What are passengers supposed to do when all the fare machines are inoperable because they run out of paper or are covered in a sheet of ice, for example? What is the official MTA policy? Are they permitted to ride the SBS bus when that happens?

25. How much has fare evasion been reduced on other SBS routes and by how much has the additional revenue gained by reduced fare evasion exceeded the additional costs of providing SBS enforcement?

26. If I need a local bus to access the SBS, could I still take another bus or train for the same fare? If not, why is it allowed in Brooklyn and Staten Island? B78 local to B79 SBS to B1?

Traffic Implications

27. You state in your March 26th report that a reasonable traffic speed will be maintained. What do you consider a reasonable speed?

28. Do exclusive bus lanes really make sense when buses are operating every 30 minutes late at night or every 15 minutes during the evening hours?

29. Why won’t taxis or access-a-ride vehicles be able to use the exclusive bus lanes?

30. Will cars waiting in the bus lane to use the slip lane be ticketed if the slip lane is blocked with cars waiting to get into the service road?

31. Will your traffic analyses include cars switching to the Van Wyck Expressway and other routes if congestion is increased on Woodhaven and Cross Bay? If not why not? If you believe there will not be increased traffic congestion on Woodhaven, how can you prove that? Where are the numbers?

32. Can you share the assumptions that went into your traffic model?

Banning of Left Turns

33. Can you please provide a list of intersections where left turns will not be allowed on the entire Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard? Are there other intersections where new left turns will be banned besides Metropolitan Avenue, Rockaway Blvd, Jamaica Avenue, Union Turnpike, and Penelope Avenue? None were listed in the March 26th report.

34. Since left turns will be banned at Metropolitan and Cooper Avenues, how far out of their way will cars and trucks have to travel and how much extra time will that take?

35. How will large trucks be able to make a left turn from Cooper to Metropolitan Avenue with all left turns banned at Metropolitan Avenue?

36. Won't cars traveling extra to make left turns increase the amount of air pollution and who would be measuring that?

37. Isn't the reason why left turns are currently banned on Woodhaven between Jamaica Avenue and Rockaway blvd due to the fact that Woodhaven Boulevard is already over capacity if the left lanes were dedicated for left turns only?

38. If Woodhaven is not over capacity, why are so many left turns banned between Jamaica Avenue and Rockaway Blvd?

39. If Woodhaven is over capacity between Jamaica Avenue and Rockaway Blvd, why would you now expect one less general traffic lane not to cause additional traffic congestion?

40. Will there be advance notice at each intersection notifying motorists where the next left turn will be permitted, so they can turn at a prior intersection instead of going out of their way past their intended left turn. Currently there is no such prior signage where left turns currently are not permitted.

Roadway Usage

41. What is the number of daily and weekend bus passengers who use Woodhaven Boulevard?

42. What is the average trip length for these passengers? Wouldn’t you need to know this to project passenger travel time savings?

43. What is the number of daily and weekend travelers who use cars and/or trucks along Woodhaven Boulevard?

Ridership Changes

44. What is the average trip length for cars using Woodhaven? If longer than the average bus trip would that be an indication that they couldn’t switch to the bus because of SBS?

45. What are the origins and destinations of auto drivers using Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard?

46. What percentage of current auto drivers have trips that could be made using a SBS bus and one other bus or train(s)?

47. Many currently driving on Woodhaven Boulevard are coming from southern Brooklyn. How will SBS encourage them to leave their cars at home and switch to bus when the number of bus transfers they need to make will not be reduced?

Road Safety

48. Can we have daily or hourly pedestrian counts for intersections where you will be constructing pedestrian islands?

49. How dangerous is Woodhaven for pedestrians based on deaths and injuries per mile compared to other Queens’s roadways. If you do not keep those statistics on a per mile basis, doesn't the fact that Woodhaven is a very long street make it seem more dangerous than it actually is?

50. If Woodhaven Blvd were called Rego Park Boulevard north of Metropolitan Avenue, wouldn’t that make the street appear to be less dangerous just because it has two names?

51. Also if Woodhaven and Cross Bay shared the same name, wouldn't that make the corridor seem to appear to be even more dangerous? So why don't you rank how dangerous streets are on a per mile basis so we can be sure that the present dangers on Woodhaven have not been exaggerated?

Selection of Option 2

52. What will be the hours and days that the exclusive lanes would be in effect?

53. Why did you choose option 2 when most people at the last workshop preferred option 1?

54. How will emergency vehicles get around buses to enter the opposing traffic lane when general lanes are clogged and how will that affect emergency response times?

55. Will cars waiting 15 seconds in a bus lane for a car to pull out so they can park be subject to receiving a summons of $115 and is this fair?

56. Will the roadway pavement be maintained with new markings when they wear out and if so why is this not being done on Hylan Blvd in Staten Island and on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn where there currently already is SBS?

57. Do you intend to make any changes to the Traffic Adjudication Bureau to make it fairer? For example people have been given summonses of about $100 for boarding the bus when all the fare machines have been broken and drivers instructed passengers to board anyway and pay at the following stop, but were given a summons anyway before they could pay and were also thrown off the bus to wait for the next one. Could that happen on Woodhaven Blvd also?

58. The Commissioner originally stated that the construction period for BRT would be one year. Why was that increased to 18 months and will that projection increase again?

59. How can we believe your time estimates when your first year annual assessment for the B44 SBS is already over four months late?

60. Will there be any follow-up after the first year assessment. If not, why not? Don’t circumstances change over time?

These questions are available for download in a Microsoft Word document at!632&authkey=!APFeLZ0q7gWvPFw&ithint=file%2cdoc