Williamsburg Bridge Plaza Bus Terminal

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Williamsburg Bridge Plaza
New York City bus station
WBB Bus station jeh.JPG
Location Broadway & Havemeyer Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
Coordinates 40°42′36″N 73°57′38″W / 40.709971°N 73.960437°W / 40.709971; -73.960437Coordinates: 40°42′36″N 73°57′38″W / 40.709971°N 73.960437°W / 40.709971; -73.960437
Owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Operated by New York City Transit Authority
Line(s) 7 Brooklyn routes, 2 Queens routes
Platforms 6 bus bays
Connections New York City Subway:
Marcy Avenue ("J" train"M" train"Z" train)
Traffic
Passengers (daily) 150,000

The Williamsburg Bridge Plaza, sometimes called Washington Plaza[1][2][3][4] or the Williamsburg Bridge Transit Center,[5] is a major bus terminal and former trolley terminal located at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, one block west of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278). It is situated by the boundaries of Broadway, Havemeyer Street, Roebling Street and South 5th Street, south of the LaGuardia Playground. It contains six bus lanes and serves as a terminal for the many MTA New York City Transit Authority bus routes of Brooklyn and Queens that start and end their runs there.

This bus terminal is near the Marcy Avenue subway station on the BMT Jamaica Line of the New York City Subway, located at the intersection of Marcy Avenue and Broadway, which is served by the J M Z trains.[6]

The bus terminal is one of three plazas at the foot of the bridge that constitute Washington Plaza, along with Continental Army Plaza and LaGuardia Playground across South 5th Street which are run by the Parks Department.[3][6][7]

Layout[edit]

As a streetcar terminal[edit]

The terminal circa 1908 when it served streetcars.

The original Washington Plaza trolley terminal occupied both blocks between Broadway to the south and South Fourth Street to the north. The right-of-way of South 5th Street ran through the center of the plaza, occupied entirely by a pair of trolley tracks which fed into the Williamsburg Bridge. These tracks were used by the lines of the New York Railways Company and Third Avenue Railway from Manhattan. Both blocks were occupied by numerous balloon loops, which streetcars used to reverse direction. The plaza was originally open-aired. At some point afterwards, shelters were added for loading and unloading passengers.[1][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

The plaza served as a hub for Brooklyn surface trolleys, particularly those of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT). This included those from Nostrand Avenue surface line and Reid Avenue Line, among several that went over the bridge to Manhattan.[1][16]

The northern half of the terminal has since been replaced by LaGuardia Playground, named after former New York City mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia.[6][12][16][17][18]

As a bus terminal[edit]

The current bus terminal lies on the southern block of the former trolley terminal, with Broadway to the south and South 5th Street to the north. The terminal consists of six lanes or bays, numbered 1 to 6 from north to south. Lanes 5 and 6 are being rebuilt as of 2015, and are out of service. Each bay contains a low-level sidewalk platform with several shelters. Buses enter the terminal from the west, where there is a layover area. Buses can exit the terminal to either Broadway or South 5th Street at the east end of the block.

Current bus routes include:

Lane Route Destination
1 B39 Lower East Side, Manhattan
Delancey Street and Allen Street
Q54 Jamaica, Queens
170th Street and Jamaica Avenue
2 B60 Canarsie
Williams Avenue and Flatlands Avenue
B24 Greenpoint
Greenpoint Avenue and Manhattan Avenue
3 B46
Kings Plaza Shopping Center
Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue
4 B44
Local
(Late nights only)
Sheepshead Bay
Nostrand Avenue and Emmons Avenue
B44 SBS
Select Bus Service
Sheepshead Bay
Knapp Street and Emmons Avenue (full route)
or Avenue U and Nostrand Avenue
Broadway
and
Roebling Street
Q59 Rego Park, Queens
62nd Road and Queens Boulevard
at 63rd Drive ( E   M   R  trains)
B32 Long Island City, Queens
44th Drive and 21st Street
at Court Square ( 7   <7>   E   M   G  trains)
B62 Long Island City, Queens
Jackson Avenue and Queens Plaza South
at Queensboro Plaza ( 7   <7>   N   W  trains) and Queens Plaza ( E   M   R  trains)
Roebling and
South 8th Streets
Downtown Brooklyn
Boerum Place and Livingston Street

History[edit]

The bridge plaza terminal has existed at least since the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in December 1903, and possibly earlier.[19][20] On November 6, 1904, BRT streetcars began crossing the bridge to Lower Manhattan.[21][22] At this time, many streetcar routes that terminated at Broadway Ferry were rerouted to terminate at Washington Plaza, or to go over the bridge to the Delancey Street terminal in Manhattan.[23] Meanwhile, four Manhattan trolley routes from the New York Railways Company were extended across the bridge to Washington Plaza.[23][24] The Third Avenue Railway also operated streetcars from Manhattan to Washington Plaza.[10][24] In 1919, the plaza was renamed "Washington Plaza".[2] That year, New York Railway cars ceased operating to the plaza from Manhattan, while Third Avenue service continued to operate.[24]

On December 1, 1923, service on the now-Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) lines over the Williamsburg Bridge ended, due to decreasing profits and a dispute with the city over tolls. BMT service was truncated to Washington Plaza, and bridge service was replaced with municipal shuttle service.[1][22][25][26] To promote the new service, the city constructed a shed on the south side of the plaza.[27] On February 15, 1931, BMT streetcars once again began running to Manhattan after municipal shuttle service ended. Only the Nostrand, Ralph, Reid, and Tompkins lines resumed traveling over the bridge, while the remaining lines continued to terminate at Washington Plaza.[25][26][28] On January 20, 1932, bridge service from Third Avenue's Grand Street and Post Office Lines was discontinued due to the northern bridge tracks being deemed unsafe.[29] In Spring 1935, the northern portion of the trolley terminal was converted into LaGuardia Playground. Construction began on April 1, and the playground opened on July 2.[12][17][18]

On December 6, 1948, the last of the streetcar lines to run over the bridge, the "Williamsburg Bridge Local" shuttle between the Manhattan and Brooklyn trolley terminals, was converted into the B39 bus route which ran between the plaza and Lower Manhattan.[4][30][31][32] By 1951, the New York City Board of Transportation (later succeeded by the New York City Transit Authority) motorized all the trolley routes into bus routes and established the current bus terminal. The new lines included the B44 route which replaced the Nostrand Avenue line in 1951.[4][7][20][33][34]

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is planning to renovate this terminal. The project will bring new benches, a sleek, glass-paneled indoor waiting room, public restrooms and widened sidewalks to the eight bus lines serving in the terminal. The project was unveiled in October 2013, with NYCDOT officials planning to begin construction in spring 2014 and complete the project in summer 2015.[35][36][37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Linder, Bernard (April 2016). "Municipal Operations of Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Cars". New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 59 (4): 3–5. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Washington Plaza Is Formally Named: E.D. Residents Celebrate and Aldermanic Resolution Is Presented to Riegelmann". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 23, 1919. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  3. ^ a b Waite, Thomas L. (February 20, 1989). "About-Face for 'Valley Forge' Statue? Maybe.". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Report for the three and one-half years ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949. 
  5. ^ "Nostrand Ave. Trolley Makes Way for MTA New York City Transit Select Bus Service". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 10, 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Williamsburg & Bedford-Stuyvesant" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Williamsburg: More Than Just a Bridge: Community Crossroads". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. April 8, 1951. Retrieved 22 July 2015 – via Newspapers.com. 
  8. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1923). "Washington Plaza". Brooklyn Public Library. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Branford Electric Railway Association (29 September 2008). Brooklyn Streetcars. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4396-2045-8. 
  10. ^ a b Stephen L. Meyers (2005). Manhattan's Lost Streetcars. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 58, 113. ISBN 978-0-7385-3884-6. 
  11. ^ Randall Gabrielan (November 1999). Brooklyn: New York in Vintage Postcards. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 85, 88. ISBN 978-0-7385-8786-8. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c "CWA to Build Span Play Area: Site at Brooklyn End of Williamsburg Bridge Is to Be Converted". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 4, 1935. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  13. ^ "Extensive Improvements on the Williamsburg Bridge to be Ready Soon". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 9, 1908. p. 29. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  14. ^ "Washington Plaza trolley station". New York Transit Museum. February 12, 1940. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Metropolitan Street Railway - Fourth Avenue and Williamsburg Bridge Line". New York Transit Museum. 1905. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c "Busy Brooklyn". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. April 19, 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  17. ^ a b "LaGuardia Lauds Work of Moses After Bridge Tilf". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 2, 1935. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  18. ^ a b "LaGuardia Lauds Work of Moses After Bridge Tilf". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 2, 1935. p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  19. ^ Woodruff, Clinto Rogers (March 1905). "Notes on Municipal Government. The Activities of Civic Organizations for Municipal Improvement in the United States: A Symposium". Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 25 (City Life and Progress): 157–199. 
  20. ^ a b "Buses Replacing Nostrand Ave. Trolleys; Horsecars Opened Flatbush Line in 1882". nytimes.com. The New York Times. March 31, 1951. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Rush On New Bridge: Sunday Crowds Necessitated Extra Cars. Most Patrons Traveled to Brownsville". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 7, 1904. p. 2. Retrieved 19 January 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  22. ^ a b "Through Service on Bridge to End". The New York Times. November 22, 1923. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  23. ^ a b "How The Cars Will Run Across The New Bridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 16, 1904. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  24. ^ a b c Kahn, Alan Paul (1973). The Tracks of New York Number 1: Metropolitan Street Railway 1907 (PDF). Seymour Durst, Electric Railroaders' Association. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "Restores Bridge Service: B.M.T. Abolishes 2-Cent Fare Today on Through Traffic". The New York Times. February 15, 1931. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  26. ^ a b "Municipal Operation of Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Cars Began 80 Years Ago". New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders Association. 46 (12): 1, 4. December 2003. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  27. ^ "Whalen Builds Shed As Shelter Station" (PDF). Brooklyn Standard Union. Fultonhistory.com. December 5, 1923. p. 14. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  28. ^ "Through Trolley Service on Bridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 15, 1931. p. 16. Retrieved 19 January 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  29. ^ "Bans Trolley Lines on East River Span". The New York Times. January 21, 1932. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  30. ^ "Buses Take Over Williamsburg Run: Trolleys End Bridge Service-Old Underground Station No Longer in Use". The New York Times. December 6, 1948. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  31. ^ "Williamsburg Bridge Trolleys Bow to Buses After 44 Years". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. December 5, 1948. p. 5. Retrieved 21 October 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  32. ^ "City Buys Buses On No-Bid Basis: Emergency Approval Granted by Board-130 Vehicles to Cost $16,500". The New York Times. November 8, 1947. pp. 1, 2. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  33. ^ "Public Notices". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 21, 1949. Retrieved 22 July 2015 – via Newspapers.com. 
  34. ^ Rivera, Phelix (August 17, 1953). "Letters to the editor of the Eagle: Pleads for Fare Slash On Williamsburg Bridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Retrieved 22 July 2015 – via Newspapers.com. 
  35. ^ Meredith Hoffman (October 10, 2013). "Transit Hub by Williamsburg Bridge to Get New Restroom, Waiting Area". DNAinfo.com. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ Tanay Warerkar (October 11, 2013). "City unveils plans for bus plaza near Williamsburg Bridge". NY Daily News. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  37. ^ NYCDOT (June 19, 2012). "Nostrand Avenue / Rogers Avenue Select Bus Service" (PDF). nyc.gov. NYCDOT. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 

External links[edit]