Saturday, December 15, 2007

Red Hook Tunnel Bus Gets Some Friends

Back in October, I gave a couple of "what if" scenarios about mitigating the disruption caused by closing the Smith/9th Street Station in Brooklyn. The most straightforward suggestion was running a shuttle bus from the station through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to lower Manhattan. Gary from First and Court and the Gowanus Lounge crew liked the idea.

Turns out Gary has been busy. Brownstoner and Second Avenue Sagas are reporting that the idea of running shuttle buses through the tunnel has been taken up by Assemblymember Joan Millman. In fact, her chief of staff says she wants to see it start now, rather than 2010. That way, if there's demand for it now, they can ask for it to be continued after the station is reopened.

In the Second Avenue Sagas comments, Gary says that he and others have been lobbying Millman, as well as Borough President Markowitz and Councilmember deBlasio. Three of the Brownstoner commenters report that the idea of running buses from Red Hook through the tunnel is not new; it's been around since the '70s at least. So it wasn't an original idea, but it looks like I was the one to bring it up in connection with this station closing. I'm very happy that people who live in the area found it helpful, and I hope it happens! Great work, guys!


Gary said...

Hey Cap'n I guess my ears were burning, because I didn't even know you posted this when i decided to drop by!

Another idea I've heard kicking around, is splitting the 61 bus route, which by all accounts I hear is a disaster, into two overlapping lines. The comparison I heard from a knowledgeable guy is to the M10/M20, which once was one long route.

That way, if there is a debacle somewhere on the line, only half the line is affected. I'll have to look into it some more, but it sounded like a compelling argument.

Cap'n Transit said...

Hey thanks, Gary!

I think the idea of splitting the B61 is a good idea. I can't imagine anyone takes it all the way from LIC to Red Hook. I'd imagine that the MTA has figures on where the trips are, so they'd be able to say whether it should be split in Downtown Brooklyn or Downtown Williamsburg, or overlap. They could probably do the same with the Q60 - although I've seen people take it all the way from Manhattan to Jamaica.

I was a regular rider of the M10 when I was a kid, and I do remember occasionally waiting a long time for buses across from the Port Authority on a Friday night. It might not be so bad now.

Gary said...

Cap'n, I've got a new bus post up. check it out.

I missed it myself, but coworkers tell me I was on CBS news the other night re: the Straphangers Bill of Rights.

Cap'n Transit said...

That's great news, Gary! Here's your video (brought to you by Cadillac :-P).

Also, here's the blog post you mentioned and the NY Times article you linked to.

To me the bus proposal says that the MTA is taking the idea seriously. Since they're talking about changing regular bus routes instead of just a shuttle bus, it would be a permanent change.

I'd have to see how the buses would get to the tunnel; would they go to their current termini and then continue on, or would they have different routes? Would people coming from Park Slope have to sit on the bus all the way to Van Brunt before getting in the tunnel? Even so, it might be worth it.

Thanks for the update.

AlexB said...

I used to take the B61 from Red Hook to Williamsburg. It was often off schedule. Now that the route is split, its punctuality has not improved.