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Bad vibrations on Ridge street

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The wheels on Bay Ridge’s B4 bus are going round and round — and 78th Street residents are going crazy.

Ridgites who live between Third and Fourth avenues claim that the bus has gotten so noisy — supposedly since the switch to hybrid-electric models — that it often sets off car alarms.

“The quality of life on this block is horrible because of these buses,” said Juan Mendez, one of several 78th Street residents who stormed an April 23 town hall meeting hosted by state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) to demand that the B4 be hushed.

“When the bus goes past, it sounds like a hot-rod,” added Mendez, who said he would consider selling his home if nothing is done to muffle the noise. “You feel it. It triggers all the alarms.”

Residents of the block claim that the noise and vibrations from the bus, which travels down the street on its route between Sheepshead Bay and Bay Ridge as often as once every 15 minutes during rush hours, only started to activate car alarms after the Metropolitan Transit Authority began converting its fleet from diesel buses to hybrids several years ago.

But MTA spokesman Charles Seaton told The Brooklyn Paper that the newer buses aren’t only cleaner — they also produce less noise pollution.

“Hybrids are quieter than standard diesel buses,” said Seaton, who noted that the agency operates “more than 1,000 hybrid-electric buses throughout the city and this is the first noise complaint that we are aware of.”

In order to restore peace and quiet, some residents of 78th Street are urging the agency to consider re-routing the bus to 75th Street, which is a wider, two-way thoroughfare.

But others say the best way to silence car alarms is to tinker with the sirens themselves.

“Any alarm that is set off by a bus going by is obviously tuned to be too sensitive,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, which fought for a ban on audible car alarms in 2003.

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Reader Feedback

Pat from Bay Ridge says:
I didn't think it got any worse than the B1 on Bay Ridge Avenue. That thing is loud--especially when it plows through the traffic light at 40 or 50 MPH, which is pretty much every time. Oh, and it routinely blows through red lights too. Maybe what they need is a little driver education.
April 28, 2009, 9:32 am
Shmidt from Bay Ridge says:
This article beautifully illustrates the moronic lunacy of Brooklyn motorists. The buses aren't the problem. The problem is Bay Ridge residents alarmingly useless car alarms. Get rid of them. They do nothing. There are a whole variety of silent security devices that work much better. The NYPD doesn't even bother to respond to car alarms. No one pays attention to them except the people annoyed by them. Get a clue, Bay Ridge.
April 28, 2009, 10:13 am
Pat from Bay Ridge says:
Um, the usage of car alarms is hardly confined to Bay Ridge.

Anyway, live on a bus route as I do and you'll see what a menace the buses can be. Not just the noise, but the very unsafe manner in which they drive.
April 28, 2009, 11:09 am
David from Manhattan says:
Maybe we should all call 911 to report a car being stolen every time we hear a car alarm going off.
April 28, 2009, 4:09 pm
Tony from Bay Ridge says:
Shmidt hit the nail on the head. Car alarms are worse than useless. Buses, on the other hand, are extremely useful. This whole article is a telling example of the shortsightedness we are all prone to. The attitude reflected in the piece is "A car alarm is going off. I'm annoyed! It's that stupid bus again." A more constructive attitude would be "OK, we have a problem. How can we create a transportation policy that is good for the neighborhood and its residents?"
April 29, 2009, 7:54 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
MTA bus drivers are, for the most part, the most highly trained, sanest and most considerate drivers on NYC streets. Hands down, no questions asked. I find that outer borough drivers in single-passenger SUV's and immigrants in crapped out American-made sedans tend to be the worst drivers.
April 29, 2009, 6:06 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
MTA bus drivers are, for the most part, the most highly trained, sanest and most considerate drivers on NYC streets. Hands down, no questions asked. I find that outer borough drivers in single-passenger SUV's and immigrants in crapped out American-made sedans tend to be the worst drivers.
April 29, 2009, 6:07 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
Tony from Bay Ridge says: "The attitude reflected in the piece is "A car alarm is going off. I'm annoyed! It's that stupid bus again."

That's hilarious -- and (sadly) true.

Car-alarm ownership should be a felony.
May 1, 2009, 1:36 am
Juan from Bay Ridge says:
It's a shame the article did not capture the true nature of the matter at hand with the buses. I live on this street with the bus route and the car alarms being set off are only a symptom of the problem, just like their constant blowing of the horn every time there is a double parked car. If the bus drivers on this route were as trained and considerate as stated, they wouldn't be plowing down the street to get to a red light that sometimes they may stop at, placing pedestrians in danger. Or they may just plow down just to stop at the end of the street for a break. I think as a resident I have it figured out, yes it is that stupid bus again with the inconsiderate and reckless driver that obviously does not live in the neighborhood.
May 1, 2009, 9:37 pm
Joey Botabaloop from Bay Slope says:
Why was I blessed with this musical talent!
May 4, 2009, 2:25 pm

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