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.