Considering Staten Island’s lukewarm embrace of Select Bus Services and the fits SI politicians threw over flashing blue lights, the news that camera enforcement is coming to SBS bus lanes should raise an eyebrow or two. As the Staten Island Advance reported yesterday, DOT crews are installing cameras along the bus lane on Hylan Boulevard and expect to activate them by month’s end. Those drivers found cruising down the SBS lanes during certain hours will receive a $115 summons in the mail.
According to the Advance, drivers can make only an immediate right-hand turn or pick up and drop off passengers, but continued travel in the dedicated lane will result in a fine. Already, Staten Islanders are concerned that “drivers unfamiliar wth the area could be at a disadvantage,” but these residents recognize the benefits. “I think overall, for the intention that they are trying to do in keeping motorists out of the lanes, it will work,” Michael Reilly said to the paper.
Lane enforcement is the next step in improving the bus system. Without it, SBS lanes are nothing but painted strips of asphalt, and the cameras will help clear the lanes of cars while keeping the buses moving. DOT plans to add signal prioritization to Staten Island later this year, and by then, we’ll know how accepting the prickly borough has been of camera lane enforcement efforts.
The comments on The Advance website are hysterical. Staten Islanders don’t seem to have enough brains to figure out how to get around a bus lane, which most cities in the US have had for years. Or more likely that Islanders have been breaking traffic laws and getting away with it for generations, and are now pissed that they have to follow a modicum of rules.
In SI there are people like the liquor store owner with NJ firefighter plates who parks in front of his store about once a week. That spot also happens to be my bus stop and has a fire hydrant as well. Between the lack of enforcement and placard culture, these people don’t even know what a parking/traffic ticket is.
One would think, at least a (retired) firefighter should know not to block the fire hydrant. Nah.
On every M15 +SBS+ trip that I’ve taken, Midtown and south, about 8 so far, the buses rarely use the bus lanes for travel, and that is during the hours when the lanes are operational.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen them avoid using the lanes, but there doesn’t seem to be great enforcement. Often enough a truck is loading in the lanes or something.
Still, they did it wrong. The dedicated lane should be in the center of the avenue. That would have dodged the loading issue.
Right – unless traffic is bad, the bus lane/the rightmost lane isn’t necessarily the ideal lane for a bus to travel in. Too many pedestrians stepping away from curbs or standing right on the edge of the curb. And you have to merge left, into a busy lane, if there’s something blocking the bus lane. If I was a bus driver and it was possible to travel around the same speed in the middle lanes, I’d prefer the middle lanes, too.
Unfamiliar with area -> forgiveness of transgressions? I love how incompetence behind the wheel is always rationalized away. Auto advocates need to learn to drive.
Wish they’d install these cameras on 34th St. Oh wait, most of the cars blocking the bus lane there are cop cars anyway.
I drove on Hylan Blvd at Friday at around 4PM in the westbound direction. I don’t know how traffic was moving befor the SBS but te day I was there it was at an absolute standstill taking about 5 minutes per block. I got off at the first opportunity and switched to Richmond Road which was moving well. Anyone using Hylan Blvd for more than three blocks has to be nuts under these conditions. So I don’t really blame the drivers for having a fit, but there does seem to be viable alternatives for them from what I could see.
They can take the SBS bus instead of driving alng Hylan at 4pm on a Friday. Or take the Staten Island Railway, which runs parallel to Hylan/Amboy for most of its length. Or wait until 6pm to make that trip to CVS, instead of riding all alone in their huge SUV during rush hour.
You are correct, there are plenty of options available, and Hylan Blvd is no more immune to traffic delays than Second Ave or any other major thoroughfare in America’s largest city.
I was going to Jersey. Anyone doing that could not use the options you mentioned.
The reason Staten Island roads are so congested are the buildings that were built in mapped rights of way. If you look at a map of SI you will see a number of streets ending abruptly in a back yard or garage. The few major streets that are still through streets, like Richmond Terrace, are as little as one third of their mapped width due to the waivers (which made the construction in the right of way nominally legal) or illegal takings of public property.
What portion of Hylan Blvd were you driving on? The portion in New Dorp & Grant City has always been really bad. (North of there would still be pretty bad, especially at that time and direction) Actually, I’m surprised you didn’t hit much traffic along Richmond/Arthur Kill Road, because that can get jammed up too on Friday afternoons.
Just wait. Elderly people won’t be able to get to their doctors. House fires will burn out of control. Children will die. 😉
Cats and dogs will start mauling each other, and another World War will ensue!
Seriously, some of the Advance comments are downright silly. “What if i’m forced into a bus lane because of _____?” Well, then get out of the bus lane quick. You wont get a ticket for driving 15 feet in a bus lane; you WILL get a ticket for driving 15 blocks in a bus lane.
These are the same idiot drivers who routinely blow thru red lights, but will sit at an intersection and not move an inch when there’s an emergency vehicle with sirens wailing behind them trying to get by. Then all of a sudden drivers can’t seem to move slowly thru the red signal even though they are allowed to do so. Guess it’s only fun when it’s illegal.