Streetfilms: Hey Port Authority, How About More Room for Buses?

Over 315,000 bus riders cross the Hudson River each weekday. More
than half of these bus riders travel through the Lincoln Tunnel, but the
exclusive bus lane, which only operates during the morning rush hour, is
at capacity.

This Streetfilm, produced in collaboration with the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and with animation by Hugh Gran and Carly Clark, offers recommendations on what the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey can do to improve these bus crossings. You can also download TSTC’s full May 2009 report on area bus service [PDF] for more info.

  • that is a fantastic film! so clear and easy to understand. the facts are simple and so are the graphics. in just 2 minutes it made me angry the Port Authority hasn’t increased capacity in decades. Come on PA, snap to it!

  • P

    My guess is that the Port Authority doesn’t want to forego the tolls from the cars currently using those lanes. Pressure needs to be put on the PA from elected officials and advocacy groups that see a larger vision than just the PA’s bottom line.

  • BB

    Wow that was fantastic.

  • Trinia

    This is gorgeous and fun to watch!

  • A great short–congrats and thanks to SF and TSTC.

    Is there any evidence to suggest that P (#2) is correct? Has Port Authority ever given reasons for not increasing the number and hours of dedicated bus lanes at the Tunnels?

    There may have been a temporary increase in dedicated bus lanes at the tunnels following 9/11–does anyone know if that was the case, and whether there are statistics from that experiment that can be used to bring pressure for more dedicated bus lanes?

  • Kate Slevin

    BicylesOnly,

    The Port Authority does have a study to increase the bus capacity on the Lincoln Tunnel approach in the morning. That study is here:

    http://www.panynj.gov/CommutingTravel/tunnels/pdfs/XBLnwslttr9-06R1.pdf

    The study seems to recommend “operational improvement 1”, which would designate an eastbound regular traffic lane in the morning to buses and HOVs. The study is moving very slowly however (2002, 2003?), and Port Authority officials say the agency has budget constraints. Also, that improving bus capacity depends on having a new place in Manhattan to park, load, and unload buses.

    Yes, there were post 9/11 HOV2+ restrictions but they were removed in April 2002 for no apparent reason. Some history of that is here:

    http://www.tstc.org/bulletin/20020422/mtr36201.htm

  • flp

    beeee-yootiful!

    unless i’m mistaken, i think there is talk of renovating the gwb terminal which may increase bus capacity. should that become a reality, i don’t know if there will be any accommodations made on the bridge itself. i would add that for this to work, the mta would have to improve it service on the A line dramatically because, as it is is, its not going to be able to handle the extra load of folks crossing over the bridge and needing a way to get downtown.

  • Shemp

    #2 is wrong. The hold-up is that kicking a bunch of New Jersey car commuters out of the tunnel, which is what will happen if additional lanes are dedicated to buses, will obviously cause political problems for Governor Corzine (or whoever is gov. of NJ), one of the two ultimate bosses of the Port Authority.

  • I agree that this is a good video. I think Shemp is probably right that Corzine is afraid of complaints from New Jersey drivers, so we need to put pressure on him so that in response to the complaints he can say, “I had to open another lane! Those environmentalists would have eaten me alive!”

    The Port Authority’s board includes six members appointed by the governor of New York, and six appointed by the governor of New Jersey. You can contact Governor Corzine at this web page, and Governor Paterson here.

    More than that, though, I think that it would help for Corzine to hear from organizations in NJ and their membership. Every environmentalist or anti-sprawl organization in the northern half of the state should be in favor of discouraging people to drive to Manhattan. Letters from them to the Governor and local papers would be a big help. The same for Orange and Rockland counties in NY, which is where any potential opposition on this side would come from.

  • I think somewhere down the road (maybe in early Sept when everyone is back from vacation) we are gonna try to get some gritty footage of buses inching along and cars clogging up the tunnel. Then try to interview some commuters as they get off buses.

    Frankly, can you imagine if Corzine heard it from all those bus riders? The ones that make up an entire city of Cincinatti? If he did, this would be the easiest decision he’d ever have to make.

  • Thanks, Kate!

  • zach

    Where is the constantly slow and stalled tunnel traffic? To me pollution and economy and Cincinnati here are distractions from the main issue: more people on the roads mean more congestion; more people on buses mean everyone, cars included, get where they are going faster. This is about getting traffic moving. Great video, just not focused enough.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Port Authority Bus Terminal and Our Glaring Lack of Transit Leadership

|
The effort to replace the aging and overcrowded Port Authority Bus Terminal continues to suffer from the New York region’s inability to coordinate its transit mega-projects. The bus terminal already handles more than 225,000 passengers per weekday and cannot accommodate all the bus traffic that crosses the Hudson in Midtown. Demand is expected to increase about 50 percent by 2040, […]

Silver, Assembly Dems Reject Better NYC Bus Service

|
Sheldon Silver’s office just announced the outlines of the Assembly’s budget resolution. On a day when transit riders saw subway and bus cuts start to loom a whole lot closer, the speaker and his conference have piled on. Here’s the final line item under "Metropolitan Transportation Authority" in the summary of the Assembly’s budget [PDF]: […]

The Trans-Hudson Transit Crunch Keeps Getting Tougher to Fix

|
When news broke earlier this week that replacing the Port Authority Bus Terminal would cost $11 billion, advocates were skeptical. At a board meeting today, many Port Authority commissioners, while recognizing the need to replace and expand the terminal, joined in that skepticism. Over the past 18 months, Port Authority staff, working with consultants from […]