Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I like living on a bus line

I just saw the 807 circulator go by in the rain and realized how much I liked living on a bus line. I see the lit buses go by in the early morning and in the late evening, symbols of our quiet neighborhood's connectivity to things more cosmopolitan. I see them whoosh by all day, reminders of the to hustle and bustle of the extended workday going on elsewhere. It's comforting to have them around. They're my connection to my local civilization.

If it weren't for the demolition of the Fulton Road Bridge, I might never have had the experience of having the buses run by my house. They used to run on Pearl and on Fulton, the spoke streets radiating from the downtown hub, but the older connectors, like Denison, were largely ignored. The emphasis was not so much on functionality among neighborhoods as it was on commuting through them, on bypassing them in an express fashion.

Denison originally had a trolley line running down its middle, and one lane either side of the trolley path for cars. We have a lot of storefronts on and adjacent to Denison, as Sandy Rozhon's chronicling at the Brooklyn Centre WIKI will attest. It is still a main connector to Newburgh Heights and the east side of the valley via Harvard, to the freeways (176 and 77), to Tremont and to the new developments down at Steelyard Commons. The bus line suits it well.

I'm thinking that with this next round of revisions of bus service, we need to become our own best advocates when it comes to requesting bus service as a critical driver for a thriving community.


  1. afterthought: if we're going to keep the streetlights on all night, we may as well run the buses all night as well.

    if streetlights are on all night, it damn well better be a 24-hour economy

  2. Here's a little economy I noticed at the Shaker Square station this past Wednesday. I took the train to a training session at a Cultural Exchange. As I got off the train, a man was discreetly asking riders for their tickets if they were through with them for the day. I usually leave my all-day pass in a shelter, in case some one needs it, but this guy has the right idea. Afterall, the pass costs $4.00. If you can sell it for a $1.00 or $2.00 for reuse, then everyone wins :)

  3. Afterall, RTA gets their federal and state funding on ridership, so more riders more money. Also, it helps the little guy and the local economy!

  4. If in fact the funding comes based on ridership, then why are we 12th in usage and something like 43rd in funding?

    Second thought: if funding came through ridership numbers, how do you make a case for riders if your fare boxes are broken so much of the time?

    Third thought: if ridership numbers generate more funds, then what would be the effect of giving the bus ride away for nothing, much as we do public education?