Bad vibrations on Ridge street

Bad vibrations on Ridge street
The Brooklyn Paper / Michael Short

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.