Working Families Party Wants More Street Space for BRT

bx12sign.jpgPhoto: Brad Aaron.

Spotted in the Working Families Party candidate questionnaire (hat tip to Liz Benjamin) — the influential third party is asking 2009 City Council hopefuls to support dedicated lanes and automated enforcement for Bus Rapid Transit:

Expanded Public Transportation through Bus Rapid Transit

Due to a mass transportation system that leaves many City neighborhoods without access to fast, reliable service, today 750,000 New Yorkers travel over an hour to work (with two thirds of them on their way to jobs that pay less than $35,000). Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) dedicates lanes on existing streets and coordinates traffic lights to provide high-speed bus service to underserved neighborhoods — a far cheaper and quicker alternative to building new subway lines. Will you support the following actions to expand the City’s BRT network:

Calling on NYDOT to increase dedicated lane space, create the necessary bus stops, and plan for other capital improvements necessary to BRT expansion?

Passing a resolution in support of State legislation to install enforcement cameras on City streets?

Setting aside dedicated lanes is probably the toughest political lift for effective BRT implementation. Optimally, on a one-way corridor like First Avenue, two traffic lanes plus some portion of the parking lane would transfer from car traffic and storage to BRT service and stations. Meanwhile, enforcement cameras — a necessity for BRT corridors that lack physical separation — have already met stiff resistance from Assembly transportation chair David Gantt.

The party’s other transit planks don’t set the bar very high. (Candidates are asked to support "broad-based revenues" for the MTA — a demand that, like Albany’s latest transit-funding package, lets car commuters off the hook.) With the second phase of the city’s BRT roll-out gaining steam, and federal funding for future corridors looking likely, it helps to have the Working Families Party line up behind BRT as an electoral issue. To speed all trips for bus riders, it would help even more to have a strong political advocate for fees on driving.

  • For southern Brooklyn, I’d make all the avenues one way. That could help make room for BRT lanes.

  • I \v/ NY

    having hours for bus lanes and carpools just complicates things. just make it 24/7.

    it doesnt really mean you have to patrol & ticket any more (not that they do now) just monitor it at peak times and if cop cars notice any blatant misuse at other times while they are passing thru the area.

  • having hours for bus lanes and carpools just complicates things. just make it 24/7.

    At the very least, bus lanes that are not 24/7 should not get the “terra cotta” paint. The message of the paint should be that this is a bus lane and nobody else is ever allowed in it. If you get things like, well, postal trucks are allowed from 1:30 to 3PM on Tuesdays, and anyone can drive in it from midnight to 3AM, people start to think of it as a lane for “buses and important people,” and you know where they fit.

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