WNYC: East Side Plans Feature Separate Lanes for Bikes, But Not Buses

WNYC’s Andrea Bernstein is reporting that plans for Bus Rapid Transit on First and Second Avenues include protected bike lanes but not physically separated bus lanes. Bernstein says the MTA would not allow the bus lanes to be separated from traffic:

The city and MTA are poised to unveil a proposal for BRT on these major
north/south arteries. But the MTA, expressing concern that trucks
parked illegally in bus lanes would stop traffic, vetoed the idea of
physically segregated lanes. The plans do include tighter enforcement
of bus-only lanes and off-board payment of fares, both of which make
buses move faster. And, according to those who have seen the plans,
transportation officials do envision hundreds of blocks of discreet
bike lanes on First and Second avenues.

The plans are being unveiled at the Hunter College School of Social Work tonight (129 E. 79th St., 10th Floor), at a meeting that’s currently in progress and scheduled to last until 8:30 p.m. We’ll have more on this development tomorrow. For now, it looks like big improvements in street safety are on the table, but officials at the MTA and DOT are counting on bus lane enforcement cameras to keep riders from getting slowed by traffic. Which means the effectiveness of this project will, to a significant extent, be determined by Albany.

  • I can’t wait to see the plans. I also can’t fathom how truck traffic would slow a bus, inside a separated lane. How would the truck get in there? (Isn’t that the point of the separation?)

    Standing by, abated breath. (Also, WNYC’s copy editors don’t know ‘discrete’ from ‘discreet’.)

  • Ian Turner

    Don’t cars get in the physically separated bike lanes all the time? Isn’t that what happened to Mr. Bengan? I can understand the MTA’s perspective here, though the benefits seem so great that I’d think it would at least be worth an experiment.

    –Ian

  • BicyclesOnly

    But what a mistake by Port Authority to reject proctected bus lanes. Afriad of trucks blocking the lanes? You have the force the issue. Separate the lane and put up signage stating “$500 hundred fine + immobilization and tow for vehicles parking, standing or unloading in the bike lane.” Do an enforcement blitz when the lanes are rolled out. The truckers will catch on quickly. Once people learn to take the protected lane seriously, they won’t unlearn it. With an unprotected lane, the path will only be as clear as the enforcement is good.

    Reliance instead on increased enforcement to keeps unprotected bus lanes clear? Here’s how NYPD enforces unprotected bus lanes now. I’ll believe it when I see it. Big, big mistake.

  • Geck

    I think the MTA is really off on this. The instance of a truck parked in a physically separated bus lane is going to be rare (and could be made rarer with very high fines and quick towing). Trucks and cars parked in non-separated bus lanes, I fear will be all too common.

  • Red

    BicyclesOnly, but why do you think the NYPD would do any better of a job enforcing a separated bus lane?

  • J

    This is a HUGE missed opportunity. Elsewhere in the city there just isn’t the density to really get a mandate for physical separation. We already saw Brooklyn politicians campaigning against BRT. Yet, here we have 19 pols pushing for the most robust BRT possible. If we could show it working in the UES, it could spread elsewhere. Ugh.

    On a side note, has anyone seen the BRT plans? Glen? Michael Auerbach?

  • J
  • protecting bikes instead of buses? i think i’ve died and gone to heaven.

  • Rob B.

    Not sure I understand the MTA’s objections. Are they afraid that trucks will stop in the bus lane to make deliveries? If so, there needs to be some way to manage deliveries to stores. How are deliveries made to stores on public squares that are closed to vehicular traffic? Maybe that should be the new standard to allow for a segregated bus lane.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Electeds React: East Side Plan Should Do More for Buses

|
Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, and State Senator Liz Krueger want to see the MTA and DOT take their plan for First and Second Avenues further. Elected officials gave plans for redesigning First and Second Avenues positive reviews today, tempered by the desire to improve the initial outline presented by the MTA […]

Webster Avenue SBS Will Not Have Center-Running Bus Lanes

|
This spring, there was a glimmer of hope that Webster Avenue in the Bronx would get the first center-running bus-only lanes in New York. With NYC DOT and the MTA bringing Select Bus Service to Webster Avenue, the center-running option would have been the city’s boldest effort yet to implement high-quality bus rapid transit. While […]

The New York City Bus Lane Blues: Paint Is Not Enough

|
Separated bus lanes. Elected officials are calling for them. The next version of enhanced bus service on 34th Street may include them. Why does New York City need them? Well, take a look at how the city’s current crop of bus lanes are working out for riders. Streetfilms’ Robin Urban Smith went on a couple […]