City wasting parking space with poor bus stop design: Civic guru

Craig Hammerman points to the B49 bus stop that he would like to see combined with the B1 bus stop in the other side of Oriental Boulevard.
Photo by Derrick Watterson

The city is wasting precious parking spaces and creating hazardous street conditions by locating three bus stops on three different corners of the same Manhattan Beach intersection, according to a Brooklyn civic guru, who proposed consolidating the cluttered stops on Thursday.

“It occurred to me that NYC Transit could remove the southbound B49 bus stop and eastbound B1 bus stop,” said Craig Hammerman, “and replace them with a consolidated bus stop at the southeast corner of the intersection.” 

Four bus lines currently run through the intersection of West End Avenue and Oriental Boulevard — with a B1 bus stop on the southwest corner, a northbound B49 stop on the northeast corner, and a combined westbound B1 and northbound B49 bus stop on the southeast corner.

But, as noted by Hammerman — a former Park Slope District Manager, who recently moved to southern Brooklyn — the B1 and B49 both drive right past the only vacant corner at the intersection. 

If the city’s architects were to get rid of two existing stops, and instead place one combined stop on the northwest corner, they would free up valuable parking and reduce the chaotic traffic along the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, said Hammerman. 

“The consolidation of these two bus stops into one would result in the restoration of approximately four on-street parking spaces for the community,” he said. “Seems like a win-win scenario.” 

But Community Board 15 Chairwoman Theresa Scavo didn’t express as much enthusiasm for the idea, saying that the status quo keeps the current stops on the busier side of the street — whereas changing it would force more people to cross Oriental Boulevard.

 “I think it’s going to pose a lot of problems for elderly people who will have to cross the street to get to the bus stop,” Scavo said. 

But Hammerman — who brings decades of experience as an urban planning guru as the longtime head of northern Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 — countered, arguing that grouping bus stops together has a positive impact on street safety. 

“Having fewer bus stops at the intersection should reduce the number of pedestrian crossings and the amount of potential pedestrian-vehicular conflicts,” said Hammerman. “That should make the intersection function more efficiently and safer for everyone. The primary goal is to improve safety.”

Hammerman submitted his proposal on Tuesday to the community board, which will review it and pass its recommendation on to the city’s Department of Transportation.