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Bus Lane Rehab and Utica Ave SBS Win Federal Transit Grants

3:57 PM EDT on July 23, 2012

The bus lanes on Fordham Road, some of the first in the city to be painted red, have been worn away. A federal grant would help repair city bus lanes, including by using a longer-lasting paint job. Image: WNYC

New York City was awarded nearly $50 million in federal grants to improve its bus service, the Federal Transit Administration announced today. The money will go toward both the basics, like a new radio system for buses, and new and improved bus lanes to speed service further.

The planned Select Bus Service improvements on Utica Avenue got a $3.4 million boost from the feds. According to the FTA, the project will not only attempt to speed up bus service, but also improve connections to the bus with better sidewalks, lighting, subway staircases, and wayfinding. The city Department of Transportation is also studying traffic safety on Utica with the intent of integrating safety features into the bus project, though its study is behind schedule (it was supposed to be completed this spring).

Riders on existing bus lanes would also see smoother trips. The city won around $14.7 million to repair 20 miles worth of bus lanes, both by resurfacing the pavement and repainting the lanes. This work would use a new, longer-lasting method of applying red paint to the lanes. Lanes already painted red would be repainted where the coloring has worn away and some bare lanes would be colored in, according to a city DOT spokesperson. DOT has found that the colored lanes more effectively signal to drivers that bus lanes are for buses only.

The MTA won two grants. $24 million would go toward a new radio system and command center for buses, which the FTA believes will make service more reliable and safe. Another $5.6 million would help the MTA do a better job of managing its bus fleet as vehicles age and are repaired or replaced.

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