Today's bus system was never planned; it just evolved The trolleys, which pre-dated
the buses, originated in Manhattan and operated over the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges radiating outward. All service over the bridges was virtually discontinued by World War II, after the building of the subways. In the 1920s and 30s bus routes were added primarily in the east-west direction (North-South
in Borough Park and Bensonhurst) to fill the service gaps not served by the trolleys.
As trolley ridership declined in the late 1920s and 1930s due to the expansion of the subways and the Great Depression,
many routes were consolidated over the same trackage and later the trolleys were converted to buses. Although the privately operated companies that originally operated the trolleys and buses no longer exist,
the routing system in many areas remains basically unchanged.
in the last fifty years has been served through an incremental patchwork of changes causing inefficiencies and unnecessary
routing complexities. This type of planning resulted in bus routing service gaps
that inhibit transferring and causes people to make indirect trips. Time is wasted
and mass transit is discouraged.
are just a few examples in Bensonhurst.
Ø Going West from 60th
Street to 13th Avenue North, you first have to go to
Fort Hamilton Parkway.
Ø Coming from the Southern
part of Fort Hamilton Parkway to Maimonides Hospital, you first have to go east to 13th Avenue then travel west to get to
Ø Traveling through on 13th
Avenue requires you to first detour to Fort Hamilton Parkway before returning to 13th Avenue because until 65 years ago there
was no bridge between 61st and 62nd Streets connecting the upper and lower portions of 13th Avenue. Consequently when the
13th Avenue bus route (B16) was instituted, the only way to continue further south was via the Fort Hamilton Parkway
Bridge, since it was not possible to connect both portions of 13th Avenue anyway. However, although a neighborhood
shop owner, Dominick Sabatino, saw the need to connect the two neigborhoods in the 1930s and convinced city officials to construct
the bridge, since 1937 no one has been able to convince the city to modify its bus and trolley routes to operate
two separate routes, one along Ft. Hamilton Parkway and another along 13th Avenue instead of having a single route perform
Ø Going west from 60th Street
to 13th Avenue South is not even possible with two buses. You cannot even use
the 60th Street route, which would be the most logical choice. You first have
to walk to either 18th Avenue or Bay Parkway, and ride south indirectly to 86th Street before traveling back north on 13th
There are instances in other neighborhoods where it is
also necessary to use indirect routing. Two prominent examples are the service gaps along Empire Boulevard and
success of the comprehensive planning approach is evidenced by the success of the Southwest Brooklyn routing changes implemented
25 years ago as a result of a study initiated by the Department of City Planning. Ten
routes were created combined or modified on November 12, 1978.