BRT Battlegrounds: Hylan BoulevardBy
From the MTA press office:
MTA New York City Transit and the New York City Department of Transportation invite the public to discuss transit service, traffic conditions and pedestrian safety on Staten Island’s Hylan Boulevard during an Open House that will be held on Wednesday, June 8, at The Renaissance Conference Center in the Grant City section of Staten Island beginning at 7 p.m.
The study will examine ways to improve safety, traffic flow and ease congestion along this major thoroughfare. The scope of the study will extend from the Staten Island Mall on Richmond Avenue to the 86th Street (R) subway station in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It carries several express bus routes and is served by the S78 and S79 with a combined average weekday bus ridership of more than 30,000.
The MTA and NYC DOT have already started to work on bringing Select Bus Service to Hylan Boulevard following its successful introduction in the Bronx (Bx12) and Manhattan (M15). In addition to concepts for Select Bus Service, the Hylan Boulevard Transportation study team will develop two or three different proposals for transportation improvements to be evaluated and discussed with the community.
The public is invited to learn more about the objectives of the study, examine display boards, and offer comments regarding transit, traffic and curb use on Hylan Boulevard with project team members. The event begins with a formal presentation at 7:15 p.m. but the general public may stop by any time between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Regency Room of The Renaissance at 2131 Hylan Boulevard (at Bedford Avenue) in Staten Island.
For more on the Hylan Boulevard proposal, check out NYC DOT’s project page.
So why does Hylan Boulevard matter? Well, lately, the MTA and DOT’s joint Select Bus Service efforts have not been met with arms wide open. The plan to turn 34th Street into a Transitway that would have benefited commuters, pedestrians and businesses alike was shot down by a small but stridently vocal group of NIMBYs. Hylan Boulevard, though, is the perfect place for a bus lane.
Staten Island is a tricky area for transit improvements. Because it has so long been disconnected from the subway map and enjoys some express bus service, it is by far the most car-dependent area of the city, and its residents are skeptical of anything that takes road space away from autos. Yet, this SBS proposal — which connects to the R train in Bay Ridge but should continue deeper into Brooklyn if not Manhattan — could be the first step in speeding up bus service and improving transit in and out of Staten Island.
I won’t be able to make the meeting tomorrow, but hopefully, Staten Islanders will take this chance to voice their support for better bus service and more transit options in an underserved borough.