IKEA’s bus on Slope of trouble

IKEA’s bus on Slope of trouble
The Brooklyn Paper / Allison Bosworth

IKEA’s shuttle bus problem has now expanded to two locations in Gowanus and Park Slope, where residents have joined their Brooklyn Heights comrades in complaining that the buses are a nuisance.

Residents are calling the Community Board 6 office to say that the buses are idling, taking up parking spaces and creating congestion near the Smith–Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue F-train stations — where they wait for passengers to ferry to IKEA’s Beard Street store in Red Hook.

“So far, it’s just a bunch of anecdotal field observations that members of the community have been sharing with us,” said CB6 District Manager Craig Hammerman. “We want to sit down with [IKEA] and go over everything and see what, if anything, can be done.”

When the IKEA in Red Hook opened in June, the city allowed its free shuttle buses to pick-up and drop-off passengers at three spots in Brooklyn with the strict caveat that there would be no layovers. The buses load and unload passengers every 15 minutes from 10 am to 10 pm.

Last week, The Brooklyn Paper reported that the buses park or idle on Joralemon Street, just west of Court Street, and block traffic near Borough Hall. As a result, this week, Community Board 2 will meet with IKEA’s traffic engineers and the Department of Transportation and rework the bus routes.

Hammerman said he is organizing a meeting with Community Boards 2 and 6, the Department of Transportation, and IKEA’s traffic engineers to discuss residents’ concerns and figure out a borough-wide solution.

“We hope to [talk] comprehensively, and take the meta-view of the whole impact that IKEA is having,” Hammerman said. “We’d like to take IKEA’s genuine effort at reducing the amount of vehicular trips to their site and make that work even better for our communities.”

IKEA store manager Mike Baker said last week that the company will closely monitor the bus operators at Borough Hall to avoid the idling problems, but was not aware of problems at the other shuttle stops.

“Though we are aware of no similar issues with the shuttles between the store and local subway stops, we have reminded the bus company that the no-idling policy is similar for these routes as well,” Baker said.