Home Asides DOT ‘might’ include separated lanes for East Side SBS

DOT ‘might’ include separated lanes for East Side SBS

by Benjamin Kabak

When we talked about the MTA/DOT plans for the 1st and 2nd Aves. Select Bus Service routes late last week, it was with dismay that we realized physically separated lanes were not a part of the original renderings. Today, the Department of Transportation provides us with a glimmer of hope for a sensible East Side solution. According to Janette Sadik-Kahn, Mayor Bloomberg’s transportation commissioner, her agency might, in the words of Pete Donohue, “place barriers along some stretches to keep cars and trucks from invading the bus-only lanes.” Although barriers along “some” stretches would be a start, this project will need physically separated lanes along the length of the entire route to truly speed up bus service.

In the meantime, we wait. The MTA has begun to purchase 62-foot buses with three doors in advance of this project, and the Department of Transportation will unveil final plans for the route next month. Only then can we judge the potential for reform at the surface level, and in the meantime, we should urge a sensible acceptance of separated lanes.

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AlexB November 18, 2009 - 1:19 pm

It seems pretty straightforward, no? Move the parking lane two lanes into the avenue and dedicate the curb side lane to buses and the next one over to bikes. You’d still have about three lanes of traffic. Alternately, you could move the parking on each side in and have buses on one side and bikes on the other. I really really hope the bike lane and the bus lane are not the same.

Woody November 18, 2009 - 2:43 pm

I love the bike lanes and use them all the time. But I’m beginning to think they aren’t working, at least in Midtown.

What we need is wider sidewalks too.

On the Broadway Boulevard, pedestrians have immediately seized on the notion that the space now without cars is theirs — not just for sitting the ‘park’ area, but also for walking in the bike lane. Let’s put bike lanes on 6th, 7th, and 8th Aves, and forgetaboutem on Broadway. And widen the sidewalks on those avenues as well.

In fact, over on 8th Avenue Rudy Giuliani put up fencing near the Port Authority to keep the (unimportant) pedestrians out of the street used by (important) vehicles. Talk about voting with your feet! From mid-afternoon until late evening thousands and thousands of pedestrians hurry to catch their buses home and now spill into the avenue — and the bike lane, alas — in a spirited repudiation of the Giuliani rules.

It’s high time that our sidewalks be widened where people are constantly walking in the streets.

rhywun November 18, 2009 - 9:18 pm

I’m still wondering if you would need TWO bus lanes to accommodate local buses, too.

Andrew November 18, 2009 - 11:25 pm

I would argue that, if the bus lanes are physically separated, there need to be at least two no matter what. Otherwise, if one bus gets delayed for whatever reason (breakdown, wheelchair, random long dwells, etc.), the next bus has to wait behind it. That’s one of the disadvantages of trains; I don’t see why it should be replicated with buses. Madison Avenue has a dual bus lane and it seems to work.

Also, if there’s a bike lane, putting it directly to the right of the bus lane is a bad idea. Pedestrians aren’t going to stop and wait for bicycles when stepping off the bus; cyclists aren’t going to yield to bus riders.

How are turns across the bus lane going to be handled?

AlexB November 20, 2009 - 11:45 am

I think 1st/2nd avenues work a bit different from the 5th/Madision avenues bus lanes. On 5th/Madison, there are limited stop, express, local, regional, and tourist buses. Each has a different stopping pattern meaning they have to pass each other all the time. On 1st and 2nd, the only service in the lane will be the Select Bus Service, no? Or will that have to share the lane with local buses also? In that case, a physically separated lane cannot work.

Politicians call for separated bus lanes along 1st and 2nd Aves. :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog December 17, 2009 - 11:51 am

[…] physically separated from regular auto traffic. A few days later, DOT backtracked, saying that they might place barriers along some parts of the bus routes. It was hardly a ringing endorsement of a much-needed element of any effective […]


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