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Mark Levine Launches Petition to Bring 125th Street Bus Lanes West of Lenox

4:02 PM EST on March 3, 2015

You don't see this level of political commitment to repurposing street space that often.

Council Member Mark Levine.

Council Member Mark Levine has launched a petition calling on NYC DOT and the MTA to extend bus lanes on 125th Street west of Lenox Avenue. Select Bus Service on 125th was originally envisioned with river-to-river dedicated bus lanes, but neighborhood power brokers got the city to scale it back. The SBS route debuted last year with a bus lane east of Lenox

In January, DOT and the MTA reported that on the section of 125th Street with bus lanes, SBS is running 32 to 34 percent faster than the service it replaced, while local routes the M100 and Bx15 run 7 to 20 percent faster.

Levine campaigned for a full bus lane when he was elected in 2013, and he's following through on that now:

125th Street is a vital artery for all uptown, and tens of thousands of local residents rely on bus travel on the M100, M101, Bx15, M60 and M104 lines each and every day.

Since May, 2014 bus riders on 125th Street have benefited from a bus-only lane east of Lenox Avenue only. Those traveling along this stretch have enjoyed bus speeds as much as 30 percent faster than before the lane was installed. GPS data from taxis show that cars traveling east of Lenox Avenue are also moving faster.

West of Lenox ave is a very different story. Buses on this stretch creep along at little more than 3 miles per hours on average -- barely as fast as walking speed.

There are bus-only lanes in wealthier parts of Manhattan, like the Upper East Side and Midtown. Why not along the whole length of 125th Street?

It is time to give Central and West Harlem the benefit of faster service on the M100, M101, Bx15, M60 and M104 lines by extending the 125th Street bus-only lane west to at least Amsterdam Avenue.

Shades of Melissa Mark-Viverito on the steps of City Hall, clutching a stack of petitions for complete streets in East Harlem back in 2010.

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