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Bus Rapid Transit

Despite NY Post Report to Contrary, Stringer Supports BRT for 34th Street

11:18 AM EST on March 2, 2011

The Post's unhinged crusade against the 34th Street Transitway appears to be bleeding over from the editorial page into news content. The paper ran a story yesterday strongly implying that Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer opposes plans for separated bus lanes along 34th Street (headline: "Beep blasts 34th St. plan"), while in reality, Stringer seems to support the basic idea of the plan, urging mainly that DOT proceed with care. Here's Stringer's statement to us, in full:

The sluggish pace of vehicular traffic on 34th Street makes it a worthy candidate for Bus Rapid Transit service. BRT has the potential to significantly cut down on harmful traffic congestion -- we’ve already seen bus travel times reduced by 20 percent along the new First and Second Avenue routes.

But before we redesign this crucial thoroughfare, we need to engage in an environmental review that will clarify potential impacts on the residents, workers and visitors of 34th Street. Loss of curbside access could hurt local businesses and many residents worry that major traffic reconfigurations could block emergency vehicle access to the East Side Hospital corridor.

I look forward to seeing the design that the Department of Transportation will present at the March 14th Community Advisory Committee meeting, and will continue to engage with DOT and the local community to encourage a plan that works for all.

The Post used a Stringer quote about slow speeds on 34th Street to suggest he thinks the street is too congested for improved bus service. In context, Stringer clearly says the opposite, that slow speeds are a reason to support Bus Rapid Transit.

Stringer's comments obviously don't offer unconditional support for DOT's plans, and he does not explicitly endorse a physically separated busway. (It's worth noting in response to his concerns that DOT is already proceeding with the environmental review process, and that Dan Biederman, the head of the 34th Street Partnership, thinks the businesses he represents will benefit from the plan if it meets some basic conditions.) But in general, this is the statement of someone who wants to see Bus Rapid Transit advance beyond Manhattan's first taste of Select Bus Service on the East Side. The Post owes its readers a correction.

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