Tonight: Give DOT Your Ideas for the Future of 34th Street

buslane.jpgWill NYPD cruisers and other bus lane blockers steer clear of the next transit improvement on 34th Street? Photo: Chris O’Leary.

Last September DOT and the MTA launched the 34th Street bus lane, New York City’s second Select Bus Service route. You could say it’s had some growing pains. Bus riders aren’t getting the speedy, reliable trips they should be getting out of an exclusive transit route, because other vehicles, especially ones belonging to the NYPD, it seems, constantly block the way. The good news is that the terra cotta curbside lanes on 34th are just the first phase of the project. At a Manhattan Community Board 4 meeting tonight, DOT will be seeking feedback on the next phase.

DOT and the MTA released concept plans for a physically-separated, river-to-river busway on 34th Street last April. That idea, or something like it, is one of the options on the table as the project enters the "alternatives analysis" stage — a standard stop on the route to implementing most transit projects. The DOT presentation [PDF] lists "Bus Rapid Transit" among seven options under consideration. Of the five options that change the status quo significantly, BRT is by far the most affordable to build.

CB4 transportation committee co-chair Christine Berthet expects the question of commercial deliveries to come up at tonight’s meeting. Several businesses on 34th, she said, would like to have direct access to the curb restored. While local support for the transit project remains strong, she added, "maybe a center median option is much better. It relieves the issue of how do you do these deliveries."

We’ll have more details for you tomorrow. To get the latest information from DOT and give your feedback, head to the Piano Room at Holland House, 351 West 42nd Street, at 6:30 tonight.

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