Eyes on the Street: Bus Bulbs on Broadway, Protected Lanes on Second Ave

Broadway Bus Bulb Grates_1.JPGWith drainage grates being installed, Broadway’s bus bulbs can lose their fences. All images: Clarence Eckerson.

Bus bulbs are one of the most versatile tools in the livable streets toolkit. By extending the sidewalk out into the street, you can send a calming signal to through traffic, spare buses the trouble of pulling to the curb every few blocks, and expand the amount of pedestrian space in one fell swoop.

But the bus bulbs along Lower Broadway haven’t been living up to their full potential. In order to allow water to flow normally into drains, DOT had to leave a gap between the old sidewalk and the new bus bulb. Then they had to put up a fence along the sidewalk side of the bus bulb, presumably so no one would fall into the gap. What that left you with was an island of cement cut off from the busy sidewalks of SoHo, a waste of pedestrian space. 

It looks like that’s a thing of the past, however. By installing a grate over the gutter, rain can fall where it needs to and pedestrians can safely cross between sidewalk and sidewalk extension. That means the fences are coming down and benches are going up.

Broadway_Bus_Bulb_Benches.JPGBenches ready to be installed on wider Broadway sidewalks.

Moving uptown, we’ve written about the disappointing plans for the Second Avenue, which will switch from a protected lane to a curbside lane between 14th and 23rd Streets. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting to see the protected portion get striped. Here’s your newest protected lane: 

Second_Ave_Parking_Protected.JPGSecond Avenue’s parking-protected lane.
Second_Ave_Stenciling.JPGHello from DOT employees, stenciling the bike lane.

After the treat of seeing protected lanes get installed, here’s an easy, visual explanation of why a curbside lane isn’t good enough. Taken yesterday on Second Avenue, between 13th and 14th Streets:

That block should be parking protected once striping is complete, but Red Bull will be able to park its flotilla just a block north. 

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