Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card #18: Improved Mass Transit Bus Service by Avoidance of One-Way Streets? MAYBE NOT

This is evaluation item #18 (of 47) of the Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card

Improved Mass Transit Bus Service by Avoidance of One-Way Streets? MAYBE NOT
(Image above from Gowanus Lounge post. Click to enlarge.)

Jane Jacobs pointed out technical reasons why two-way streets favor and assist the mass transit use of buses. The City’s Department of Mass Transportation has been unable to envision how the city transportation systems will be able to handle the extra loads associated with a project the size of Atlantic Yards. It will be a problem in terms of vehicular transit on the street and also because DOT has reported that the subway lines serving Atlantic Yards are already at maximum capacity and will not be able to be suitably upgraded in the foreseeable future applicable to the project’s construction. Without a good solution available, DOT flailed at the problem by proposing to accommodate Atlantic Yards by turning Brooklyn’s Sixth and Seventh Avenues into one-way streets. (Fifth Avenue is proposed to be partly shut down by the Atlantic Yards project.) If this were done it would be despite the particular technical problems for buses that Jane Jacobs pointed out, notwithstanding that mass transit buses might be the main hope available to deal with the sudden huge population Atlantic Yards would dump into this area of Brooklyn.

JJ Cites: [One method adopted . .to palliate vehicular congestion is to speed traffic by making the north-south avenues one-way. Buses, instead of running both ways on an avenue, must, of course, like the other vehicles, run north on one avenue, south on another. This can and often does, mean two long blocks of walking by bus users, in the course of reaching a given destination. Not surprisingly, when an avenue is made one-way in New York, a drop in bus patronage follows. P. 351, 352 What is indisputable is that the increased traffic flow, with its by-the-way depressing effect on public transportation, does bring into play an increase in the numbers of vehicles. It also cuts down pedestrian convenience by forcing longer waits than formerly at crossing on the affected avenues. P. 352 the differing effects upon private automobiles and upon buses of making an avenue one way. The advantage to the automobiles is a penalty to the buses. P. 365 Owing to the corner pick-up stops required in any case by the buses, the short signal frequencies interfere with bus travel time less than long signal frequencies. These same shorter frequencies, unstaggered, constantly hold up and slow down private transportation, which would thereby be discouraged from using these particular streets. In turn this would mean still less interference and more speed for buses. P. 366}]

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