“From Kings Plaza Mall to Bushwick, the B46 serves tens of thousands of Brooklyn commuters every day, but prior to the arrival of Select Bus Service, those trips were often slow and unreliable,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
Carrying 44,000 passengers daily, the route is the busiest in Brooklyn, with more daily riders than the entire Baltimore subway system.
The route extends six miles from Mill Basin to Bushwick on Utica Avenue, Malcolm X Boulevard and Flatbush Avenue. Because many neighborhoods along Utica Avenue do not have direct access to the subway, the B46 SBS will now allow faster and more reliable connections to the 3, 4, A and C trains, in addition to 30 other bus routes.
“Back in 2013, we made a strong commitment to expand the number of communities that see the benefits of Select Bus Service,” de Blasio said. “For communities with limited subway options, SBS is a winning formula that transforms bus commutes by saving precious time while also suiting our Vision Zero goals by making sometimes dangerous streets like Utica much safer."
The DOT and MTA developed the concept for the B46 SBS with the intention of providing faster and more reliable bus service for passengers, as well as creating safer streets for pedestrian and drivers and maintaining traffic flow. After many meetings, open houses and workshops, the agencies were able to bring their Select Bus Service treatments to the route.
These treatments include eight lane miles of red bus lanes to better organize the street, off-board fare collection machines, transit-signal priority to hold lights green when buses approach and WalkNYC bus time displays. In addition, 11 bus bulbs and multiple curb extensions are planned for the route, which will widen the sidewalks near bus stops and shorten street crossing distances. These amenities will be put in place by the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) starting in 2017.
Select Bus Service has proved to be effective on all routes by having all-door boarding, their own bus lanes and having a limited amount of stops, said Tabitha Decker, the New York City program director for TransitCenter.
Another major improvement to expect is stricter bus-lane enforcement on Utica Avenue, which will be enforced with cameras from Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“New York City continues to bring quality public transportation options online to speed travel in more efficient ways," said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the City Council's Committee on Transportation. “Bus riders along the most widely used route in Brooklyn will see faster buses with easier boarding and more convenient service.”