125th Street Riders: Bus Lanes Should Go All the Way to Morningside

None of the bus riders Streetsblog interviewed yesterday afternoon were happy that Bill Perkins had cowed the city into trimming its plan for bus lanes on 125th Street. Photo: Stephen Miller

Yesterday we reported that State Senator Bill Perkins’ office has finally expressed satisfaction with the 125th Street bus improvement project, now that DOT has watered it down by shortening the dedicated bus lanes. Previously,  Perkins had called on the city to “slow down” the plan to bring Select Bus Service to 125th Street due to what he claimed was insufficient community input, even though DOT and the MTA had been holding public workshops since last September. Streetsblog hit the streets yesterday afternoon to see what bus riders on 125th Street had to say about the situation.

None of the riders I talked to over the course of 45 minutes had heard about the plan to bring bus lanes to 125th Street, nor had they heard of Perkins’ “emergency” town hall meeting last week. They were all disappointed that, under pressure from Perkins, the city had decided to shorten the bus lanes by half, ending at Lenox Avenue instead of Morningside Avenue.

“I think they should go to Morningside,” Margaret Fernandez said while waiting for the bus at St. Nicholas Avenue.

Other bus riders agreed. “You need it all the way over,” Disney Aaron said. “It’d be better for people, man. Better for traffic, too.”

A major feature of the camera-enforced bus lanes is that they would cut down on illegal double-parking, which slows down buses stuck in traffic. Streetsblog spotted an NYPD officer ticketing a delivery truck that had parked in a bus stop on 125th Street at Frederick Douglass Boulevard. “It’s mostly double-parking. There’s plenty of it,” she said. “It causes so much traffic.”

  • Anonymous

    This is really sad. You have all the ingredients to make a good thing happen: a well-funded organization dedicated to better transit (WE-ACT); a community with one of the lowest car-ownership rates in the country; and a highly successful transit program (SBS) that has everyone clamoring for it.

    And it still fails. Unbelievable.

  • 147th Street resident

    You raise a good point. What has WE-ACT actually done since our local politicos and their friends started agitating against this? Where were the protests in front of Bill Perkins office? The strategy of melting away as soon as the project hit some political resistance seems to be an abject failure. If WE-ACT is well-funded, I don’t really see a reason for that to continue to be the case.

  • dave “paco” abraham

    If Bill Perkins actually cared, he would have at least made an effort to inform people of the ’emergency’ meeting with some signs at the bus stops in question. The way his actions seem now are just obstructionist and will continue to leave straphangers waiting.

  • Thanks Stephen for going up there and getting some community perspectives. What a difference from the bogus quotes gathered from ax-grinders that the tabloids manufacture for their “reports” on transportation issues.

  • Excellent reporting hear. Making a call myself to Perkin’s office.

  • JK

    The double parked delivery truck probably had nowhere to park because the curb on 125th is either unmetered or metered at an artificially low $1/hour. (Compare to South of 96th St. where meters are $3.50/hour. ) Meter prices on 125th are based on politics, not smart curb management. Until that changes, and meter prices are set high enough to create more available curb spaces, 125th is going to remain the dysfunctional traffic hellhole it has been for decades.

  • Andrew

    Bus riders? Why on earth would you ask bus riders for their opinions on bus service? Everybody knows that bus riders don’t count!

  • Ben Kintisch

    I don’t think it’s over. Folks who want a decent bus service for uptown should contact Perkins directly and let him know that the sub-par SBS is not good enough for the good people of Harlem!

  • Andrew

    I emailed the good Senator, expressing my dismay. His response:

    not true! i support select bus service and public transportation in
    general…actually i am a monthly metro card user and do not have a car or car service if you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call 2122227315

    So I pointed out that he had gotten negative press here and elsewhere, and suggested that he clarify his position in the comments. I also asked him to explain his letter to Sadik-Khan. His response:

    My letter is clear and I standby the process and results of the latest DOT proposal and look forward to working on additional improvements for public transportation in this district. Obviously your opinions and concerns are welcomed and important. I look forward to your views and participation in additional efforts that my office will be undertaking. Stay in touch. Keep The Faith…

  • Andrew

    I emailed the good Senator, expressing my dismay. His response:

    not true! i support select bus service and public transportation in
    general…actually i am a monthly metro card user and do not have a car or car service if you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call 2122227315

    So I pointed out that he had gotten negative press here and elsewhere, and suggested that he clarify his position in the comments. I also asked him to explain his letter to Sadik-Khan. His response:

    My letter is clear and I standby the process and results of the latest DOT proposal and look forward to working on additional improvements for public transportation in this district. Obviously your opinions and concerns are welcomed and important. I look forward to your views and participation in additional efforts that my office will be undertaking. Stay in touch. Keep The Faith…

  • Andrew

    I emailed the good Senator, expressing my dismay. His response:

    not true! i support select bus service and public transportation in
    general…actually i am a monthly metro card user and do not have a car or car service if you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call 2122227315

    So I pointed out that he had gotten negative press here and elsewhere, and suggested that he clarify his position in the comments. I also asked him to explain his letter to Sadik-Khan. His response:

    My letter is clear and I standby the process and results of the latest DOT proposal and look forward to working on additional improvements for public transportation in this district. Obviously your opinions and concerns are welcomed and important. I look forward to your views and participation in additional efforts that my office will be undertaking. Stay in touch. Keep The Faith…

  • Matthew

    I wouldn’t say Senator Bill Perkins office has expressed satisfaction with the project, they are still fighting to kill it. I was at the CB 9 transportation committee yesterday, and Bill Perkins’ rep was still trying to get it reduced further, and she kept deflecting everyone’s opposition to reduction and anytime anyone questioned whether it made sense to cut it down she would try to change the topic.

  • Matthew

    I wouldn’t say Senator Bill Perkins office has expressed satisfaction with the project, they are still fighting to kill it. I was at the CB 9 transportation committee yesterday, and Bill Perkins’ rep was still trying to get it reduced further, and she kept deflecting everyone’s opposition to reduction and anytime anyone questioned whether it made sense to cut it down she would try to change the topic.

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