Draft Plan Seeks to Meet Customer Priorities of Frequent Service, Faster Travel, Reliable Service, Better Connections, and an Easy Ride
Proposal Adds Nine New Routes, Improves Service Frequency on 24 Lines, and Enhances Interborough Connections
Agency to Hold 18 Virtual Workshops Beginning Jan. 11, 2023; Customers Encouraged to Submit Feedback
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today released a draft plan for the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign that proposed to create a modern bus network that better meets the demand of Brooklyn residents and is more suited to current travel patterns of residential and business communities – the first overhaul of Brooklyn bus service in decades. The redesign seeks to expand all-day service to provide more travel opportunities so customers can catch more buses without needing to consult a schedule. It proposes route modifications to fill in service gaps in the bus network to expand the reach of accessible public transportation, improve crosstown connections, balance bus stop distances, and streamline circuitous routes. In total, the plan proposes 69 local routes and 19 express routes, for a total of 88 routes, an increase from the 62 local and 9 express routes that operate currently.
The borough’s population has grown 5.2% since 2010 and according to Census data, about 55 percent of Brooklyn households do not own a vehicle. Taking a fresh look at the bus network is necessary as the finalized redesign will provide a new baseline in which the MTA can build upon as the borough continues to evolve and change. The proposals create a simpler bus network to encourage bus ridership, reduce travel time and strengthen interborough bus travel – a prioritized comment received from the initial public outreach. To supplement an easier-to-follow bus network, the Draft Plan proposes five color-coded route types to improve bus network legibility and tailor routes to customers’ needs: green for Local routes, purple for Rush routes, red for Limited routes, blue for Crosstown (SBS) routes, and dark green for Express routes.
Brooklyn is the fourth borough to undergo a bus network redesign, following Queens which will release its Proposed Final Plan early next year, and the Bronx and Staten Island which have both already implemented their network redesigns and have seen positive improvements.
“New Yorkers deserve buses that are faster and more reliable to connect them to jobs, education, health care and everything New York has to offer,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Redesigning and improving the route system is a huge part of that strategy and we look forward to working closely with Brooklynites to adjust the plan to reflect their feedback.”
“Bus network redesigns are an important piece of the puzzle that support the Faster, Cleaner, Safer Strategic Action Plan,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “With two completed bus network redesigns, and now two officially underway, faster bus service with shorter wait times will improve the customer experience and encourage customers to ride more often and help us reach our goal of increasing customer satisfaction 10% by June of 2024.”
“The Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign Draft Plan proposes a new bus network with higher frequency, more coverage and better connections to key destinations, including connections to the subway system,” said New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. “It also focuses on creating a bus network that is easier to navigate. We’re counting on everyday bus riders to provide their input to strengthen these proposals that will shape the Proposed Final Plan.”
“Brooklynites deserve a modernized bus network that meets the needs of 21st Century travel patterns. In addition to our efforts to deliver bus priority on Flatbush Avenue, this network redesign will make service faster and more reliable for hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn bus riders while attracting new commuters to the system,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “This administration is committed to supporting safe, sustainable, and efficient transportation options for New Yorkers and we’re proud to partner with the MTA on this redesign.”
The Draft Plan is published to the project page which utilizes Google Translate to extend access to more New Yorkers.
- Frequency increase on major corridors. 24 routes would have increased service frequencies during part of the day. Many Limited and all Crosstown routes would be scheduled at 10 minutes or better between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays.
- New service, better connections. Nine new routes provide new connections and service:
- Four new proposed routes, B40 Rush, B53, B55 Crosstown, and B66 would operate 24 hours during the weekday
- New B55 Crosstown provides faster connection between Brooklyn and John F. Kennedy Airport
- New B5 LTD provides east-west connectivity to Gateway Center
- New B40 Rush and B76 replace existing branches on B41 and B17
- New B10 LTD provides faster connection between Broadway Junction and Prospect Park
- New B81 connects Red Hook to Central Brooklyn
- Improved service to key destinations. The proposal aligns routes to provide new access points for customers, including:
- B62 LTD provides new connection between Brooklyn Navy Yard and Queens
- B64 provides additional service to Sunset Park Waterfront
- B44 SBS extends to Coney Island Hospital
- B49 and B68 swap terminals to better serve Kingsborough Community College
- Balanced stop spacing. Under the proposed redesign, the majority of routes have stop changes. The majority of customers who provided feedback chose faster trips over more bus stops. More balanced spacing between stops speeds up travel times. Brooklyn stops are currently an average of 830 feet apart on local routes– resulting in buses stopping as frequently as every one or two blocks. Stops in transit systems around the world range from 1,000 to 1,680 feet. The MTA considered factors such as stop usage, ridership, geography and impact to the community when making these operational decisions. Many retained stops serve high ridership areas that provide key connections and serve community facilities.
- A simpler network with more direct routing. Straightening routes by removing turns not only reduces delays but also creates a bus network that’s easier to understand by running relatively straight to their destination. An example is the proposed B16, which is streamlined to avoid narrow streets and remove turns, and is also extended via Clarkson Avenue to serve Brooklyn hospitals. Additionally, proposals focus on eliminating route redundancy, particularly in congested areas such as Downtown Brooklyn to avoid buses blocking each other.
- New interborough connections between Brooklyn and Queens. The Draft Plan includes proposed route patterns that offer connections between the two boroughs. The Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign project team worked closely with the Queens Bus Network Redesign project team to coordinate proposals. Customers are encouraged to share feedback which would be reviewed and used to strengthen proposals.
- Expanded bus priority. In collaboration with the MTA, NYCDOT identified several major corridors for possible future bus priority street improvements to accompany the network redesign to better support sustainable, all-day bus service. These corridors were chosen based on criteria such as ridership demand, demographics, bus performance, proposed new service levels, and ease of implementation. NYCDOT has recently kicked off a study of Flatbush Avenue and will continue to analyze this corridor and others, while working with communities to refine details of any future projects.
The MTA will hold six stakeholder briefings beginning tomorrow, Dec. 2 and informal on-street engagements will begin in the following weeks at key locations throughout the borough, including busy bus hubs. The Agency will host 18 virtual workshops beginning January 11, 2023. Click here for the schedule.
Learn More and Submit Your Feedback
Customers are encouraged to learn more about the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign at any one of the MTA’s outreach events or via any of the online resources available and submit feedback through the online comment portal on the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign project page, where route profiles are also available.
Remix, an interactive web-based mapping tool that has become a popular tool for customers to explore proposed networks, is now compatible on mobile devices, providing customers the convenience to search the new routes on the go. Remix allows customer to view proposed bus routes and stops in detail, and directly comment on specific routes.
The Proposed Final Plan will be released after the Draft Plan outreach process is complete and the community feedback received is reviewed to make any additional changes to the bus network. The Proposed Final Plan will be followed by another round of public outreach.
“Brooklyn’s bus network has long been in need of a makeover,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “People are looking for better ways to get around our city and we have to ensure that public transportation is a more attractive option over driving air-polluting and street-congesting cars. The task ahead is ensuring that we provide that convenience and accessibility by building a system of safe, reliable, and frequent bus service that reach people and reflect community needs. Moving into, around, and out of our borough should be easy, and I’m excited to continue collaborating with the MTA and Brooklyn residents to make that true.”
“This redesign of Brooklyn's bus network is a crucial step towards increasing ridership, boosting crucial MTA revenue, and decreasing congestion on our roadways and pollution in our air,” said Senator Andrew Gounardes. "Brooklynites across our borough deserve faster, more frequent, and more reliable service, and I look forward to continued work alongside the DOT and MTA to make that our reality.”
“Buses are vital to New York’s mass transit infrastructure. Brooklyn’s bus network redesign centers rider concerns and aims to create a more efficient network borough-wide,” said Assembly Member Robert Carroll. “From straightening routes and right-sizing the distance between stops to creating new connections and strengthening interborough service, the bus network redesign is a critical and carefully planned initiative to create better bus service for all New Yorkers. As an avid rider myself, who regularly uses buses to attend community events across my district and beyond, I am well aware of the importance of our buses and look forward to staying engaged throughout the redesign process to help ensure my constituents are well served.”
“I am very excited to see this project underway,” said Assembly Member Brian Cunningham. “Public transportation is so important, buses and subways are a lifeline that connect people to places and possibilities - projects like this one are the result of attentive and nimble leadership that we as law makers should aim to reflect across a wide spectrum of policy issues.”
“The MTA’s bus network redesign is an opportunity for Brooklyn to upgrade to a modern bus system that is more reliable and quicker," said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. "The bus system is the main accessible source of transit for people with disabilities so it’s important that we get this right. I encourage the public to review the draft plan and participate in the engagement process so that the MTA can fulfill its goal of a better bus network for Brooklyn."
“I'm a bus rider, an avid bus rider. I don't drive so I take the bus and walk around the district as much as I can,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “I would be remiss if I didn't mention the urgent need for a bus lane on Flatbush Avenue to improve the quality service on the B41. The implementation of a dedicated bus lane from Flatbush Avenue would be a great win for Central Brooklyn. In the meantime, however, this bus redesign will be a major upgrade for the entirety of our borough.”
“I was happy to see that bus routes were only added, and altered routes will be picked up by other buses," said Council Member Inna Vernikov. "This will ensure continuity and coverage balanced with the streamlining goals of the redesign. I look forward to updating constituents accordingly when the redesign becomes final.”
"Adding additional frequency and streamlining service to Brooklyn's more than 2.5 million residents is a great step to improving transit in the borough and making NYC a greener and more accessible place," said Executive Vice President for Regional Plan Association Kate Slevin. "We look forward to working with the MTA and community partners to ensure this update to an essential—but continually undervalued—part of the city's transportation network meets its potential over the coming months."
"The existing Brooklyn bus network does not adequately meet the needs of today's riders," said Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign Liam Blank. "By streamlining routes and increasing frequency on these lines, the MTA is striving to make riding the bus easier than ever before. We applaud the MTA for keeping its promise to improve bus service, and we encourage everyone in our community—including transit riders, advocates, and business owners—to participate in this important process."
“With enhanced connectivity, increased frequency and reliability, and simplified routes, Brooklyn bus riders can look forward to exciting changes with the rollout of the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign,” said Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) Lisa Daglian. “Buses are truly the backbone of our transit system and the engine of equity for the region — particularly for riders in subway deserts who depend most on buses. Riders in the Bronx and Staten Island are already benefitting from better bus service, and riders going to, from and within Brooklyn will soon be able to see the improvements proposed for them – and provide input before any changes are made. More people will have access to better, faster and more reliable transit, including the LIRR, and that’s what these redesigns are all about."
"The Brooklyn bus network redesign is a major opportunity to save New Yorkers time and make it easier to get around the borough,” said TransitCenter Deputy Executive Director Tabitha Decker. “By simplifying routes, increasing frequency, and working with NYCDOT to expand bus lanes, NYCT can make bus trips faster and more reliable and make access in the city more equitable."
"The Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign is a vital piece to make transit service faster and more reliable for all New Yorkers,” said NYPIRG's Regional Director for Equity and Resiliency Projects Natasha Elder. “As riders' needs change along with traffic patterns, so too should routes and plans. The Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign is important to ensure New York thrives as a transit city and the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign looks forward to helping make it the best it can be."
"For too long bus riders have been put last on New York City streets," said Senior Organizer at Riders Alliance Jolyse Race. "Riders, who are overwhelmingly People of Color, immigrants, and essential workers, are showing up late to work and missing out on job opportunities because of a slow and unreliable bus network. The Brooklyn bus network redesign has the potential to turn the lives around of commuters across the borough. We look forward to the MTA starting the process to prioritize Brooklyn bus riders -- and we are eager for Mayor Adams to keep his promise to speed up the nation's slowest buses and exceed the mandate of the Streets Plan law by building 150 miles of bus lanes and busways by the end of his current term in office."
"As a frequent Brooklyn bus rider, I'm hopeful that the Brooklyn Bus Redesign will ensure that our transit system gets people where they need to be safely and on-time," said Riders Alliance member Michael Sutherland. "My local bus, the B31, has been plagued by early and late arrivals, no-shows, and spotty service. Students, seniors, and everyday riders can be stranded for up to 30 minutes, sometimes in sweltering heat, biting cold, or pouring rain waiting for the next bus. For the sake of lines like mine and many others, the Brooklyn Bus Redesign is sorely needed. I look forward to the MTA speaking with and hearing the concerns of communities that use the bus the most — working-class communities and communities of color — to make a bus system that is equitable and accessible for all of Brooklyn!"