B54 (New York City bus)
|Myrtle Avenue Line|
A B54 bus turning onto Jay Street in 2018.
|System||MTA Regional Bus Operations|
|Operator||New York City Transit Authority|
|Garage||Fresh Pond Depot|
|Other routes||Q55 (Myrtle Avenue East)|
The Myrtle Avenue Line is a surface transit line on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, New York City, United States. It was the first streetcar line in Brooklyn, built by the Brooklyn City Railroad, and it is now the B54 bus route, operated by MTA New York City Bus' Fresh Pond Depot in Ridgewood, Queens. It should not be confused with the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line, a separate subway line that also operates along Myrtle Avenue, and used to run above the entire route.
The B54's western terminus is at Jay Street and Willoughby Street near the Jay Street–MetroTech subway station in Downtown Brooklyn. From here, service heads north on Jay Street, east on Tillary Street and south on Flatbush Avenue Extension before heading east on Myrtle Avenue. Service continues along Myrtle Avenue until it turns left onto Gates Avenue. Buses then make right turns onto St. Nicholas Avenue and Palmetto Street before terminating at the Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal at Palmetto Street and Wyckoff Avenue near the Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues subway station in Ridgewood. Westbound service continues via Myrtle Avenue until Lawrence Street, where buses make a left. Buses then make a right onto MetroTech Roadway and another right onto Jay Street to get back to the terminal.
The Brooklyn City Railroad was incorporated on December 17, 1853 with capital of $2,500,000, a large sum in those days. Its first line, the Myrtle Avenue Line, was the first horsecar line in Brooklyn, and opened on July 3, 1854. The initial line began at Fulton Ferry, and ran southeast on Fulton Street and east on Myrtle Avenue to a temporary terminus at Marcy Avenue. Construction to Broadway (then Division Avenue) at Bushwick was completed in December 1854.
In August 1879, the City Railroad extended the line one block east from Broadway to Bushwick Avenue, and acquired trackage rights over the Bushwick Railroad's Bushwick Avenue Line (which used Myrtle Avenue east of Bushwick Avenue) to Myrtle Avenue Park in Ridgewood, Queens. At Ridgewood, connections could be made to the Cypress Hills Line, and soon, the Lutheran Line, two steam dummy lines to local cemeteries. The City Railroad leased the Bushwick Railroad, which included these cemetery lines, on July 27, 1888.
Myrtle Avenue horse cars were replaced with electric trolleys in mid-1893.The line was one of four extended over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row in Lower Manhattan on February 15, 1898, preceded by only the Graham Avenue Line. Cars reached the bridge by turning off Myrtle Avenue onto Washington Street, on trackage originally built for the DeKalb Avenue Line, and turning into Sands Street on trackage from the Graham Avenue Line to the bridge. The Myrtle Avenue Line was also one of the seven moved to the new structure through the Sands Street elevated station, on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, on September 28, 1908; cars returned to the old route along Myrtle Avenue and Fulton Street to the split for the new structure at Tillary Street.
The Myrtle-Culver Line was a summer-only service connecting Ridgewood with Coney Island. It ran west on Myrtle Avenue from Ridgewood to Vanderbilt Avenue, and turned south there, using the Vanderbilt Avenue Line and Culver Line trackage to Coney Island.
After this elevated structure was removed in 1944, The Myrtle Avenue Line was combined with the Court Street Line, which had also used this structure, to form the Myrtle Avenue and Court Street Line on April 3, 1938. This new route began at Garnett Street and Hamilton Avenue in Gowanus, and ran north on Court Street to Borough Hall and east on Myrtle Avenue to Palmetto Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Ridgewood.
In February 1944, service was rerouted via Navy Street, Ashland Place and Willoughby Street instead of Jay Street and Adams Street. On July 27, 1944, service was rerouted in both directions via Adams Street between Willoughby Street and Myrtle Avenue.
Beginning in the 1920s, many streetcar lines in Queens, Brooklyn, and the rest of the city began to be replaced by buses, particularly after the unification of city's three primary transit companies (including the BMT) under municipal operations in June 1940. On June 30, 1949, the New York City Board of Estimate approved the full motorization of the line with buses. The line was officially replaced by city-owned buses on July 17, 1949, and the route was split in two. Service along Myrtle Avenue was designated B54 ("B" the designation for buses based in Brooklyn), and the line along Court Street was designated the B66. The eastern terminal of the B54 was modified to Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Street, and it western terminal was changed to Myrtle Avenue and Washington Avenue. Service on the B54 was initially provided with ten buses, while B66 service was provided with eight buses. On November 6, 1954, the New York City Transit Authority proposed to eliminate service between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. to cut costs. Free transfers would have been provided between the B53 and B57.
The Myrtle Avenue Line, under the Myrtle Avenue Elevated for its entire length since 1889, became more important on October 4, 1969, when the elevated was abandoned west of Broadway. A special transfer was given to the B54 between the Jay Street–Borough Hall and Broadway–Myrtle Avenue subway stations, allowing travelers who had used the Myrtle Avenue Elevated to make the connection via the bus.
Following the September 11 attacks, additional security measures were implemented at MetroTech Center, requiring the rerouting of B54 service out of MetroTech. On July 1, 2007, the travel path of the B54's terminal loop in Downtown Brooklyn was reversed to improve traffic flow and to provide faster service to the Jay Street subway station. On August 20, 2010, service started terminating at the newly-opened Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal, located on Palmetto Street. The terminal is bordered on the south by the intersection of Myrtle and Wyckoff Avenues and on the north by St. Nicholas Avenue. Palmetto Street was closed to all traffic except for NYC Transit buses and deliveries. The change provided easier transfers between the B54, the subway and the other five bus routes using the terminal.
On November 7, 2010, direct service through MetroTech was restored as westbound service was rerouted off Flatbush Avenue Extension and Tillary Street, and onto Duffield Street and the MetroTech Roadway. The change could be made as the tenant that required the security measures was leaving MetroTech, and was expected to improve reliability and provide faster service to the subway.
Effective April 8, 2012, eastbound bus service was rerouted off of Fulton Mall, Fulton Street and Ashland Place. Instead, bus service continued via Jay Street, Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension before returning to Myrtle Avenue.
- Brooklyn Bridge trolleys
- Myrtle Avenue Line (elevated)
- Greenpoint Line, which used the Myrtle Avenue trackage west of Classon Avenue
- Ralph and Myrtle Avenues Line, a combination of the Myrtle Avenue and Ralph Avenue Lines
- MTA Regional Bus Operations. "B54 bus schedule" (PDF).
- MTA Regional Bus Operations. "B54 bus schedule" (PDF).
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- "Brooklyn Common Council". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. December 23, 1854. p. 2.
- Brian J. Cudahy, How We Got to Coney Island: Development of Mass Transportation in Brooklyn and Kings County, 2002, pages 25 to 26
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- Carl-Axel Rheborg, Pocket Guide to New York, 1906, page 65
- Brian J. Cudahy, How We Got to Coney Island: Development of Mass Transportation in Brooklyn and Kings County, 2002, page 222
- New York Department of Plant and Structures, Brooklyn Bridge, 1883-1933 Archived March 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (also at Google Books)
- Electric Railroaders' Association, Headlights: "After the abandonment of elevated service [which was March 5, 1944], the "el" terminals at the ends of the bridge were demolished together with the approaches mentioned [the elevated trolley structure]. Overhead wire was strung along the elevated tracks on the bridge and a number of new switches together with new track was constructed together with 7 new loops at Park Row... Trolleys began using the old "el" tracks December 15, 1944."
- Linder, Bernard (October 1970). "Chronological List of Brooklyn Trolley Changes" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroader's Association. 13 (5): 3–8.
- Report for the three and one-half years ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949. p. 49.
- Linder, Bernard (August 1965). "BMT Trolley Routes 1940-1956" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association: 3–9.
- Sparberg, Andrew J. (October 1, 2014). From a Nickel to a Token: The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-6190-1.
- "Shifts to Buses Okayed by Board". Long Island Star-Journal. Fultonhistory.com. July 1, 1949. p. 7. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
- New York Board of Transportation, Report for the Three and One-half Years Ending June 30, 1949
- "Buses to Replace Crosstown Trolley". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 14, 1949. Retrieved September 30, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Transit Authority Proposes Cut In Local Bus Service". Queens Ledger. November 11, 1954. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
- "'Brooklyn' Program Hits Queens: TA Slashes Service On Two Bus Lines". Long Island Star-Journal. November 6, 1954. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
- "Hearing Monday on Proposed City Bus Service Changes: Metropolitan, Myrtle and Grand Street Lines Affected by New York Transit Authority's Recommendations". Ridgewood Times. November 11, 1954. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
- "To Greenwood on Thursday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 14, 1889. p. 1.
- "The Fifth Avenue Elevated to Greenwood". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 15, 1889. p. 6.
- The New York Times, 1,200 on Last Trip on Myrtle Ave. El, October 4, 1969, page 23
- B-54 Myrtle Avenue Route transfers: towards Jay Street–Borough Hall and Broadway–Myrtle Avenue
- "B54 Returns to MetroTech Center and Eastern Bronx Bus Service Revised". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 20, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
- "Bus Service Notices Brooklyn". mta.nyc.ny.us. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2008. Archived from the original on January 8, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- Bush, Daniel (August 24, 2010). "MTA opens $10M Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal - When the combined powers of mother nature and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority go awry straphangers living in two-fare zones often pay the highest price. Those are the people who must take a ..." queensledger.com. Queens Ledger. Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
- "New Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 26, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
- "B54 Returns to MetroTech Center". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 4, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
- "Effective Sunday, April 8, 2012 Eastbound B54 buses rerouted in Downtown Brooklyn". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2020.