Albany to Consider Bus Lane Enforcement Legislation

bus_cam.jpg
Bus-ted! In London, automated enforcement has led to significant improvements in bus service.

A package of legislation recently introduced in the state legislature would help speed New York City buses and enable traffic agents to cite drivers for blocking the box. Members of the Campaign for New York’s Future, the same coalition that fought for congestion pricing, are meeting with elected officials in Albany today. Streetsbloggers can lend support by contacting your representatives in the Senate and Assembly.

Here’s what’s on the table, as noted in the Campaign’s press release:

  • Bus camera legislation (S7229 Golden / A10233 Bing), which would
    allow for the installation of enforcement cameras on buses to deter
    cars from using bus-only lanes.
  • “Block the Box” legislation (S6811 Lanza / A10071 Kavanagh), which would reclassify blocking the box infractions as parking violations, thereby allowing traffic enforcement agents (and not only police officers) to issue tickets and enhance enforcement.

Given that New York City DOT and the MTA are, for the most part, not creating physically-separated bus lanes as is done in cities like Bogota, Colombia and Paris, France, bus-mounted cameras will be essential to keep lanes clear and make BRT routes truly rapid. In a statement, Tri-State Tranportation Campaign director Kate Slevin said, "The Campaign strongly supports photo devices that capture violators in bus lanes because they will enable speedier commutes for bus riders even when police officers are not able to be present."

In addition to calling, you can urge support for these bills online through the New York League of Conservation Voters.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Interesting to see if anyone dares to oppose these measures after the CP turndown, or if they can be quietly tabled with everyone claiming to be in favor after the fact.

  • Even if they pass this, the question has to be asked: “what took you so long?”

  • Re: blocking the box:

    The “box” must be expanded to include ped crosswalks.

  • Everyone, please contact Kavanagh (my Assembly rep, incidentally), Lanza, and all the cosponsors of S6811 and A10071, and ask them to make sure that the bill covers *crosswalks* too, not just the usual “box.”

    Here’s a bit of what I just wrote to Assemblyman Kavanagh; am about to follow up with others:

    “…pedestrians all over Manhattan constantly put up with motorists endangering them by stopping and standing in crosswalks. This forces thousands of pedestrians every minute to cross streets dangerously.”

    They deserve praise for this bill, but please remind Lanza, Kavanagh, and the co-sponsors that it’s way past time to make this tiny, yet hugely important fix!

    (sorry for sort of double-posting. Coffee.)

  • the video screen shot dates is over 10 years ago. stinks that its taking our streets so long to catch up to what seems like a simple and smart solution. anyone know if there are prominent electeds against this bill for any strange reasons like privacy issues or will this pass quickly?

  • Here’s the State Legislature’s bill lookup tool. Unfortunately it’s not very customizable, but it does allow you to make a link with the bill to show status:

    http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi?QUERYDATA=S7229
    http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi?QUERYDATA=A10233

    I’m pleased to see my Assemblymember (Markey) as a co-sponsor, but am I right that bills will go nowhere in the Senate without a Republican co-sponsor? The bus-lane camera bill has no Republican co-sponsor. I’m guessing that Senator Padavan has a ton of constituents who have no option but to take the bus and would love this legislation. Which routes in his district would get cameras? My suggestion is Northern Boulevard and Hillside Avenue.

  • Okay, turns out that Golden is a Republican! My mistake. Now, that about stretched my knowledge of State Senate strategy. Who else needs to be brought in to make sure the bill passes the Senate?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I’m guessing that Senator Padavan has a ton of constituents who have no option but to take the bus and would love this legislation.”

    In reality, Mr. Padavan’s real “constituents” are people with placards who do not send their kids to regular NYC schools, not bus riders with schoolchildren.

  • Spud Spudly

    Sounds fine to me. But as a pratical matter, is it possible for Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs) to ticket moving vehicles? Stopping and ticketing an occupied vehicles is one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement as you never know who or what is in the vehicle. Can you really ask TEAs to do this without the proper training and equipment or is this something only real cops can do? And would the TEA union stand for it?

  • Ace

    I don’t want to put anyone out of a job but couldn’t we replace TEAs with cameras? Or, as someone suggested previously, why don’t we “arm” the TEAs with cameras?

  • Eric

    I’ve only been on the Staten Island Expressway maybe four times in the past six months, but each time, a number of drivers too important and too impatient to sit in traffic like the rest of us law-abiding suckers took to the buses-only lane to get to wherever they were going more quickly.

    Short of being permitted to mount a guided missile launcher on my hood, I sure would like to see these jerks ticketed via cameras.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Funny you mention the SI Bus lane.

    “Beginning Monday evening, January 14, 2008, the Staten Island Expressway westbound express bus lane will be opened to high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs). All vehicles with two or more occupants will be able to use the lane from its eastern terminus at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge toll plaza to its western terminus at Exit 12, Slosson Avenue. The hours of operation for HOV use will be from 3 pm to 7 pm weekdays. At all other times, the lane will be restricted to buses.”

    Well guess what, whenever I am on the SIE I have two or more people, generally four people, in the car. But I take transit to work, and do not drive at rush hour. Why are private vehicles allowed in the lane at rush hour, when it is full of buses, and not on the weekend, when there are very few buses?

  • Mark Walker

    Gee, if private cars are allowed in the bus lane with two occupans, do you think a lot of drivers will try to squeeze in with one? Nah!

  • Spud, it seems to me that TEAs are some of the only officials willing to issue summonses steadily, constantly, and reliably.

    And if the box-blocking bill does get expanded to include cars standing in crosswalks, those cars are not dangerous to approach; thousands of pedestrians every minute already have to walk all over them. Should be easy for TEAs to summons those vehicles. They’re stopped, usually at red lights, while they force nearby peds to walk into the intersection, or behind.

  • Car Free Nation

    I just drove through that same area with 5 in the car. There were so many HOV’s that the lane moved slowly. They should switch it to 3+, it they’re going to slow the buses.

  • Geck

    The City should creating bike enforcement agents who cruse the City’s bike lanes on bikes with video cameras to to ticket cars and trucks blocking the lanes.

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