Eyes on the Street: DOT Breaks Out the Terracotta for Third Ave Bus Lane

Photos: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
Photos: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Work is underway on updates to the Third Avenue bus lane. Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson and reader David Dartley tweeted these shots of what will eventually be an offset lane from 36th to 55th Street, a configuration designed to speed bus travel by shifting parking and loading to the curb [PDF].

The Third Avenue bus lane dates to 1982. Local bus routes on the street accommodate 59,000 riders a day, and 12 express routes also have stops on Third. Endorsed by Community Board 6 earlier this year, the DOT revamp also includes a center-boarding island between 56th and 57th Streets. The island will shorten crossing distances at Third and 57th, where DOT says drivers killed one pedestrian and injured 39 from 2008 to 2012. The plan does not include bus bulbs for other stops along the new offset lane.

Photo: David Dartley
Photo: David Dartley
  • Daphna

    The only chance a bus lane has of succeeding is if it is off-set, so this is a good change. Curbside bus lanes do not work because inevitably there is one person per block who does not obey the bus lane and parks in it, negating buses ability to use the lane, even if it is clear the rest of the block. There is also the conflict of the buses getting stuck behind turning vehicle in a curbside lane. An offset lane is much better.
    This new configuration takes away one travel lane and dedicates it to parking/loading/bus stops instead. If Third Avenue can afford to have one less travel lane, can other streets also have one less travel lane????? If it can be done here for this purpose, then why not do it on other streets too? If a travel lane is space re-purposed, sidewalks could be widened, or bike lanes could be created, or more dedicated bus lanes installed as needed.

  • AnoNYC

    The city should just physically block traffic from entering bus lanes with flexible post dilineators. And 2 of the lanes should be bus only to allow passing.

  • BBnet3000

    I don’t think its necessary for buses to pass each other, but a simple curb would help and is used around the world to keep bus lanes separated from other lanes.

    Not sure why New York has such a case of “not invented here syndrome” about bus lanes.

  • Bolwerk

    They probably do need passing opportunities (preferably near bus stops) if they share traffic at any point along the route that’s prone to congestion. That includes long boarding times.

    What doesn’t it have NIH syndrome about? They appointed a reinvention committee full of people who won’t tell them anything they need to hear. Buses are probably the wrong tool for the job when there are 59,000 riders/day period.

  • There should be a fine and reward for plate photos of vehicles driving in the red bus lanes, especially seen near High Line.

    People could already photo these red lane drivers and send them to the NYC 311 app, mayors office.

  • Also, does anyone know how police personal vehicles get to block sidewalks in droves near precincts?

    I made a Civilian complaint online and suggest we all do. It seems to be a violation of federal ADA law as well.

  • Ian Turner

    We really need a citizen summons law…


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