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

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer supports the idea of BRT along 34th Street, though you'd think quite the opposite from reading the Post. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbpo/5445184385/##BP's Office via Flickr.##

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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A Transit Miracle on 34th Street

|
NYC DOT is proposing to turn Manhattan’s 34th Street into a river-to-river "transitway." In what she half-jokingly called "probably the first-ever co-presentation" between their two agencies, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan stood with New York City Transit President Howard Roberts earlier this week to unveil the city’s current Bus Rapid Transit program in its […]

City Scraps Pedestrian Plaza Option for 34th Street Transitway

|
Pedestrians who navigate Midtown’s crowded sidewalks won’t get as much as they could have from the proposed 34th Street Transitway. The Times reported last night that NYC DOT will not pursue plans for a pedestrian plaza between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue as part of the project. The plaza was the focus of serialized attacks […]

DOT Plans to Bring NYC’s First Separated Busway to 34th Street

|
What the 34th Street transitway might look like between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Image: NYCDOT When DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan hinted last Tuesday that bolder ideas were on the way for bus rapid transit in New York City, she apparently meant "next week." The DOT website now displays an updated plan for the next phase […]

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 […]

Stringer: Bus Lane Blocking Rampant, NYPD Nowhere to Be Found

|
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is calling for a crackdown on bus lane-blocking drivers after a survey conducted by his office found that offending motorists have little chance of receiving a ticket. A truck driver enjoys the convenience of the 34th Street SBS lane. Photo: Brad Aaron Stringer staffers observed more than 350 drivers parked […]

BRT, Rail, and New York City: A Conversation With Walter Hook

|
Perhaps no one knows the ins and outs of BRT better than Walter Hook. As director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Hook has advised cities on four continents about BRT implementation, including Jakarta's seven-corridor network, the first full-fledged BRT system in Asia. Streetsblog caught up with Hook -- in between trips to Cape Town and Mexico City -- for an email Q&A about why New York City needs Bus Rapid Transit, common misconceptions of BRT in America, and what will make BRT succeed here.