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Lane drain: Bus service would remove lane from Flatlands Ave., Kings Highway

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They’re shouting “Stop the bus.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must put the brakes on a plan to create a bus-only lane on Flatlands Avenue and Kings Highway, local leaders say.

The authority aims to implement a B82 Select Bus Service between Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay, but the service relies on dedicated bus lanes to speed public transit, and losing a lane would be too much for the jam-packed, four-lane thoroughfares, an area elected said.

“It defies any kind of logic that they want to take away a lane on Flatlands Avenue, which is so overwhelmingly crowded during the day,” said Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park). “It is insane that they want to do this. Once the people in Canarsie and elsewhere get wind of this, there will be outrage and indignation. You can’t remove a lane on a street as important as Flatlands Avenue and expect good results.”

Select Bus Service aims to speed up commutes by combining limited stops, longer busses, and the ability to pay fares before boarding. The B82 project remains in the planning phase, and neither the Department of Transportation nor the Metropolitan Transportation Authority were able to provide any information regarding where bus-only lanes will be installed, although the project will include bus-only lanes, a letter transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg sent Maisel confirms.

Attempts to expand transit in the area are laudable, but the extra-long select busses require longer bus stops, which will ultimately cost the area parking and hurt businesses, according to another local leader.

“You’re signing a death certificate for every business on Kings Highway if you lose parking,” said Community Board 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo.

The board opposed a similar plan for the B44 connecting Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg via Nostrand Avenue in 2012. The authority still implemented the plan, but the roll-out was rocky. The agency added two stops after complaints from riders who had to wait longer for local buses after the select service replaced their limited buses. And confusion over the grace period for driving a private vehicle in the bus-only lane led to mountains of tickets for Brooklyn motorists.

A representative from the Department of Transportation is slated to outline the B82 Select Bus Service plan tor Community Board 18, which represents Canarsie, during the board’s monthly meeting on Jan. 20.

After the presentation, board members will likely vote in opposition to the new service — in large part due to fear over losing lanes along Flatlands Avenue and Kings Highway, according to district manager Dorothy Turano.

“My gut opinion is to shoot it down,” she said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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