Quinn Proposes Triboro BRT Line With Separated Bus Lanes

Since Scott Stringer left the mayoral field for the comptroller race, the mayoral candidates haven’t spoken much about the Triboro RX, a plan to bring circumferential rail service to Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx using existing tracks and rights of way. But they have spoken highly, if not very specifically, of Bus Rapid Transit. And a few have zeroed in on the transit needs of outer-borough communities, where job growth is outpacing Manhattan, but commute times are lengthening.

Quinn would build a Bus Rapid Transit line instead of rail along the Triboro RX route. Image: Quinn campaign via ##http://capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2013/07/8532287/substitute-three-borough-x-line-proposed-christine-quinn##Capital NY##

Today, Christine Quinn came forward with a proposal that merges the Triboro transit concept and her campaign’s emphasis on speedier bus routes. Her proposal would link the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn with a more robust version of Select Bus Service.

Dana Rubinstein at Capital New York reports:

Quinn said that her Triboro line would differ from the city’s existing and relatively ineffective Select Bus Service lines, because it would have real, protected bus lanes, allowing buses to move in rapid succession like street-level subway cars.

The route overlaps part of a plan from the MTA and DOT to extend SBS to LaGuardia Airport. In a policy book released earlier this month, Quinn said her first priority for BRT would be a primarily physically-separated line on the North Shore of Staten Island that is already being planned by the MTA.

Joan Byron of the Pratt Center for Community Development told Rubinstein that the general concept of linking the three boroughs is sound, but said it might make more sense to provide some of this service as separate routes. (The Quinn campaign’s map shows several zigzagging turns in Brooklyn.)

Quinn’s proposal comes the day after Council Member Brad Lander introduced a bill that would require DOT to create a comprehensive plan for citywide BRT. When asked about the potential of local political opposition to derail efforts for dedicated bus lanes on city streets, Quinn didn’t exactly strike a politically fearless tone, saying the city should do a better job involving communities in planning the system.

  • Quinn proposes really laughable bus route and pulls rail cost numbers out of thin air.

  • Well, on the plus side, if she’s on the record supporting separated bus lanes for a route that doesn’t make much sense, it should be easier for her (and/or other candidates) to go on the record supporting separated bus lanes for a route that does make sense.

  • Anonymous

    Just another half-assed proposal from someone with no willingness to invest in rail transit. The existing rail line offers a straight-shot between all these locations; even with physical separation, any on-street route would have to slowly zig and zag through residential neighborhoods and would get steamrolled by opposition.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Your logic is sound, the question is will these other candidates take advantage of that in order to push for a more feasible plan.

  • carma

    is it just me or are ALL of this year’s democratic front-runners a big laughable joke.

    im voting for Lhota. At least he has transit experience.

  • That said, anyone and everyone should be on-record supporting the current doable, very-smart SBS routes on 34th and 125th Streets right now. Otherwise they deserve no credit for promoting better transit, they should be seen as enemies of smart growth and as indulgent in fantasies as lame as Catsamatidis’ monorail

  • Bolwerk

    Most of them are strong supporters of buses on paper. The only question is whether they will be in practice. The next mayor faces a potential debt crisis, so who knows?

    I bet the key reason it’s a campaign issue is TWU pandering. There is no better way to increase TWU rent than to hire more bus drivers. Comparing peak load needs, a back of the envelope calculation is a minimum of 17 bus operators are needed for every fully loaded IND train (crew size: 2, with one body arguably extraneous). Stuff like this is why trains are usually cheaper in the long run, despite a higher upfront capital expense.

  • kevd

    As silly as this is, the portion from New Lots Ave to Flatbush/Brooklyn College actually make a lot of sense. Lots of people there, not a lot of trains.

  • Bolwerk

    I bet she supports this too.
    ‘Cause that’s really how dumb her idea is. There might be no bottom to
    her ineptitude, and for the first time I feel like I would
    non-ambivalently break for Weiner over her if I were a Demokrat.

    And Weiner may be the biggest clown in this era of NYC politics.

  • carma

    so rather than to create this huge BRT transit line. wouldnt it make much more sense to do a smaller scaled Select Bus service line.

    To further improve Bus/Subway service. start looking into replacing the metrocard with true tap cards so you dont have to “dip” into any machine.

  • Bolwerk

    If you broke this up in many routes, and proposed it as a bunch of SBS feeders to the rail version of Triborough RX, it might actually be a good idea. For real.

    But SBS Triborough TX isn’t even penny-wise and pound-foolish. This is penny-retarded and pound-outrageous.

  • Reader

    One gets the sense that none of the candidates have advisors with any background in transportation. This, in a city with transportation needs as complex as New York’s, is a tragedy.

  • carma

    forget about just transportation. i dont think any of these candidates have a clue to even how to run any part of NYC.

    never thought id be saying this, but im gonna miss that nanny of a mayor bloomberg.

  • Bolwerk

    That probably nails it. I think Lander sincerely means well, despite my comment yesterday, but it’s like nobody has any perspective. NYC hasn’t had good surface transit in over 70 years, and doesn’t even have an institutional memory about how to do it right. But, still, do these people ever leave the United States? Because it’s not hard to make good decisions by analogy either.

    Hell, even Philadelphia does things right that we don’t, however subtly.

  • If the TWU is so gung-ho about SBS, why aren’t they making problems for Bill Perkins?

  • Ridgewoodian

    Wow. This would be a great subway line. Maybe now that this is on the table we can push for that.

  • SBS is relatively ineffective compared to the JETPACKS that I’ll provide to New Yorkers when I’m mayor.

  • Bolwerk

    I don’t think the TWU is gung-ho about anything but making sure it doesn’t lose anything, to be honest. But I don’t think politicians talking about massive transit expansions are going to miss the fact that a lot of new bus drivers would need to be hired to provide this service. Hundreds, from the looks of it, just for Busborough RX. and the TWU is not a bad union to have an endorsement from.

    Mind you: there is no riders’ union offering an endorsement!

  • kevd

    No argument there.
    TriBoroRX makes sense, AND feeder SBS lines make sense.

  • kevd

    As a BRT line, it is clearly idiotic.

    That weird double back from Brooklyn College to Newkirk Plaza then NORTH to Church (B/Q) then over to other church (F/G) to go back SOUTH is just assine.
    It is as if she and a staffer just took a sharpie to a subway map and said “voila! a plan!”

  • Reader

    The good news about jetpacks is that motorists don’t have to sacrifice any parking! No risk of offending NYC’s most offendable political class.

  • Anonymous

    Lhota also supports MSG staying where it is.

  • JBS

    If you follow this route, you will see it go under (for long stretches) TWO different elevated lines. Yeah, THAT will work BRILLIANTLY!

  • Charles_Siegel

    Yes, the route as a whole doesn’t make sense, but I am intrigued by the fact that part of it runs on Ocean Parkway. Maybe taking a lane from cars by adding an exclusive bus lane on Ocean Parkway would help tame the traffic there and make it a more livable street.

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