A proposal by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to improve bus service along the B82 SBS route received positive feedback, along with some concerns, from board members at the January 18th meeting of Community Board 18 (CB18), and a vote on the proposed changes will be taken at a later date.
Before handing the floor over to Alexander Altskan, Senior Capital Planner of Transit Development at the DOT, CB18 Chairperson Michael Ien thanked all of the board members for the outstanding work they did in 2022 and will continue to do in 2023.
The B82 is a crosstown route which primarily runs along Kings Highway, and Flatlands Avenue, only making stops at major avenues. It was designated a Vision Zero Priority Corridor after the MTA completed a study on the route back in 2009. “It was a busy route and struggled with timing,” Altskan told attendees. “That’s how we got the B82 SBS, which was implemented in 2018.”
The “Kings Highway to Avenue K to Ocean Avenue Capital Improvement Project” seeks to improve upon some positive changes that were made in 2018, such as the addition of median island bus stops, benches and bus shelters along the route, as well as “wayfinding” signs that tell riders when the bus is arriving.
“We’ve been monitoring it ever since, to see what’s working and what’s not working,” Altskan said, also citing faster travel time and more ADA-accessible stations as some of the improvements previously made.
CB18 encompasses the eastern section of Kings Highway, from Nostrand Avenue to Avenue K, and Flatlands and Pennsylvania Avenues. Many of the medians are in poor condition and there are long crossings, with unsafe conditions. ADA-accessibility upgrades are needed, as well as improvements in lighting and median landscaping and beautification, by adding trees and plantings, which are no longer there.
Although Flatlands Avenue does not have as many medians as Kings Highway, it has narrow, crowded sidewalks, causing conflict for people waiting for the bus and people walking on the sidewalk. “People get in each other’s way,” Altskan said.
The five-year project, with an estimated completion date of 2028, will improve accessibility, bus service and pedestrian safety by adding curb extensions, bus bulbs and intersection improvements, and shorten crossings by adding pedestrian islands where needed.
“What is super special about this project is that there is a maintenance contract that will take care of all this for many years,” Altskan explained. “It’s kind of new for the DOT, and it’s a big thing because you can build it and it will look nice, but if you don’t take care of it, it goes away.”
Some areas of special concern expressed by board members included Kings Highway and Avenue K, a very confusing intersection where there was a fatality, as well as Flatlands Avenue and Avenue J, a very wide street where there are multiple accidents.
In her monthly update, CB18 District Manager Sue Ann Partnow said that she and Ien attended Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s State of the Borough Address, where he shared his vision for Brooklyn.
The Army Corps of Engineers held a Coastal Storm Risk Management Outreach at the CB18 facility on January 17th. Partnow said the informative meeting included topics such as climate change and sea levels. For those who missed the meeting, you can view the presentation, and provide community input, at nan.usace.army.mil/nynjhats.
Partnow said that construction on the Bergen Avenue project will resume in the spring and that the traffic signal on Veterans Avenue and East 69th Street may not be included in this project as originally thought. She will provide an update at a later date.
Seventy-one pedestrian ramps were installed in Canarsie. In the spring, pedestrian ramps will be upgraded in northern Canarsie and the Flatlands area.
The community board made a request for the Department of Buildings to inspect the flea market at 8018 Flatlands Avenue. “It was closed immediately, but garbage and debris that can cause fire and rodent issues was left behind,” Partnow said.” The DOB is going back for another inspection and to request that the stacked boxes and garbage are disposed of. They will keep on an eye on it.”
Lights at Sledge Playground on East 95th Street, between Avenues K and L, were recently repaired after DOT and Parks were notified. “The lights were turned back on, including the floodlights in the park,” Partnow said.
There was a report of illegal car repair on East 54th Street, between Avenues J and K. The 63rd Precinct did an investigation and will continue to monitor the area.
The next meeting of CB18 will take place on Wednesday, February 15th at the board office, 1097 Bergen Avenue, as well as virtually.