It’s no physically separated transitway, but bus riders can still get excited about the launch of Select Bus Service along 34th Street this Sunday.
Additional SBS features should significantly speed trips along.34th Street, which already has dedicated lanes for the heavy crosstown bus traffic. By taking care of fare payment before riders board and allowing them to enter and exit using all doors, SBS should cut the time buses sit at the curb and keep people in motion, especially at super-crowded stops like Penn Station. Also going into effect this weekend is an expanded camera enforcement program to ensure that the bus lanes stay clear of traffic.
Additional bus improvements are scheduled to be installed in 2012, including transit signal priority to give buses more green time. Bus bulbs installed next year will improve pedestrian safety, add some room to 34th Street’s packed sidewalks, and keep bus drivers from needing to pull over to the curb.
Plans for a more robust transit and pedestrian redesign, which would have physically separated buses from traffic and built a pedestrian plaza across between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, was scuttled due to opposition from major property owners along the street.