Nostrand Avenue bus initiative gets federal stimulus money

An infusion of federal stimulus dollars could provide the jolt to get the Nostrand Avenue Select Bus Service (SBS) project jump-started.

That after the Obama administration’s 2011 budget included $28 million for the proposed SBS along the Nostrand Avenue corridor.

Currently, the B44 crawls throughout Brooklyn on Nostrand Avenue from north to south, including such neighborhoods as Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg.

The city Department of Transportation (DOT) and MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) have been planning the SBS for some time in hopes of rolling it out by 2012.

Bus Rapid Transit is currently used around the world to provide reliable transit service in an affordable and cost-effective manner, officials say.

In order for the service to be implemented, several street enhancements would be needed including dedicated lanes for buses, off-board fare collection, signal improvements, and higher capacity buses.

According to DOT studies, SBS buses currently operating on the Bx12 route in the Bronx now run over 20 percent faster than the Limited stop buses they replaced and are attracting close to 5,000 additional daily riders.

The $28 million in federal money will pay for more than half of the estimated $40 million project, not including the cost of the new buses NYCT will procure for the SBS route.

Before rolling out the plan and starting work, the DOT in December established a Community Advisory Committee (CAC), which is intended to allow DOT and MTA reps to discuss the plan with community residents.

At he December meeting, residents complained that the implementation of a SBS service would take away valuable parking spaces.

They also protested that the new service would take away a few stops, forcing the elderly to walk several blocks to catch the bus.

DOT and MTA reps said the locations of the SBS bus stops have yet to be finalized.

For photos and videos of what the new B44 system could look like, visit www.nyc.gov/brt.

-with MicheleDemeglio