TSTC Issues Lincoln Tunnel Emancipation Proclamation

jersey_bound_bus.jpgWhen it comes to reducing traffic in New York City, improving transit performance over river crossings is a no-brainer. Faster buses lure people out of their cars and take traffic off the streets, which is why the Tri-State Transportation Campaign is advocating for a New Jersey-bound express bus lane through the Lincoln Tunnel.

In a post on Mobilizing the Region yesterday, TSTC says it’s time to build on the success of the much traveled Manhattan-bound express bus lane:

The Lincoln Tunnel’s Manhattan-bound XBL is the busiest bus lane in
the country, carrying 1,700 buses with over 62,000 passengers on
weekday mornings. In fact, it is so popular that it is now congested at
times, though it still speeds bus times by 15-20 minutes according to
the Port Authority. This has prompted the Authority to study the creation of a bus/high occupancy toll (HOT) lane in the tunnel to alleviate gridlock on the bus priority route.

However, there has been less discussion on how to improve evening
rush hour traffic into NJ, which is actually worse. During the average
evening peak period (4-7 pm), nearly 15,000 cars travel westbound into
NJ; by comparison, around 13,900 cars enter NYC during the morning rush
(7-10am). Usage of a Jersey-bound XBL (which would either replace an
NJ-bound general purpose lane or be a contraflow lane carved out of
NY-bound traffic) would almost certainly rival that of the morning XBL,
providing real benefits for the largest share of trans-Hudson commuters
and creating further incentives to commute by mass transit.

A Jersey-bound XBL would also help to alleviate some of the problems that the new blocking-the-box crackdown is meant to address. Some of the worst box-blocking hotspots are in Hell’s Kitchen, where cars line up for block after block on their way out of Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel.

For more ideas about improving bus service on bridges and tunnels, see Cap’n Transit’s series on the topic.

Photo of NJTransit bus leaving Manhattan via Lincoln Tunnel: Jumpy/Wikimedia Commons/MTR

  • rlb

    While these are very attractive arguments, it’s pretty easy to understand why there is a certain amount of reluctance towards implementing this:
    Coming from New Jersey, the car traffic that would otherwise enter through the XBL backs up into the expanses of New Jersey.
    Going towards New Jersey, the car traffic that would otherwise enter through the XBL contributes to the amazing nastiness that is ninth avenue north of the Lincoln tunnel.

  • I thought buses from the PABT already had a direct passage into the Lincoln Tunnel. Whenever I go to Jersey or Nyack it always seems that they never hit Manhattan streets. Have I been only riding the privileged bus lines?

  • bob

    digamma – yes, that’s true, but once in the tunnel they mix with general traffic. they don’t have a dedicated tunnel lane like on the way in.

  • ChrisCo

    Did this ever happen?

    Why hasn’t there been a NJ-bound express lane for all these years? What’s the point of having a Manhattan-bound lane in the morning, and no NJ-bound lane in the afternoon? I don’t get it. All the people going into the city in the morning are leaving the city in the evening.

    There actually SHOULD be a 24/7 lane into Manhattan, and another 24/7 lane leaving Manhattan.

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