DOT’s Design for Woodhaven Blvd Raises the Standard for Select Bus Service

Image: NYC DOT

NYC DOT has selected a design for Select Bus Service on Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, and it goes further than previous SBS projects to keep bus lanes clear of cars.

Under the proposal, buses would run in dedicated lanes set off from local traffic by concrete medians. While the bus lanes wouldn’t be physically separated from through traffic, the design avoids conflicts that have limited the performance of other SBS routes. In the Woodhaven design, buses won’t operate in a lane that attracts drivers trying to access the curb. Turning conflicts at intersections will also be minimized, with motorists turning right from Woodhaven merging across the bus lane mid-block to access the service road.

DOT said it expects the project to improve travel times 25 to 35 percent for the 30,000 daily bus passengers on the corridor.

“This is the kind of ambitious overhaul New York City’s bus riders deserve. This project means faster trips for tens of thousands of riders,” Mayor de Blasio said in a press release. “It means safer streets that save lives. And it means that communities from the Rockaways to Elmhurst that have long been underserved by public transit will see real improvements in their daily commute.”

The design is the same as “Concept 2” revealed at public workshops last fall, where bus riders and advocates gave it high marks, along with “Concept 3,” which called for a center-running busway [PDF]. The city says the central 6 miles of the 14-mile Woodhaven/Cross Bay project will have the Concept 2 configuration, according to the Daily News. The project will also feature standard SBS ingredients like off-board fare collection and traffic signals that hold green lights for buses. More details may be revealed at a Queens Community Board 5 meeting scheduled for tonight.

Image: NYC DOT

Several elected officials along the corridor — including Republican Eric Ulrich and Democrat Donovan Richards — have called on DOT and the MTA to act boldly to prioritize transit and safety on Woodhaven, where crosswalks in some sections are 160 feet wide. Since 2010, dozens of people were seriously injured or killed on the Woodhaven/Cross Bay corridor, which runs from the Rockaways to Woodside. The design calls for substantial pedestrian medians at intersections to break up the daunting crossing distances.

The project will involve a full reconstruction of the street. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told the Daily News the project is expected to cost $200 million, and the city will be seeking federal support. Construction would begin in 2017 (when Mayor de Blasio is up for reelection) and wrap about a year later.

Without physical separation from through-traffic, one crucial missing element for the 30,000 daily passengers on Woodhaven buses will be camera enforcement of the bus lanes. State legislation currently limits the number of routes where bus lane cameras can operate, so an update to the law will be needed to get bus cams on Woodhaven.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Ulrich Back on Board With Woodhaven SBS After DOT Waters Down Turn Bans

|
DOT has halved the number of left-turn restrictions and cut about a mile of bus lanes from its plan to enhance bus service on Woodhaven Boulevard. The changes will dampen the expected improvements in bus speeds and pedestrian safety but have won over Council Member Eric Ulrich, who’s back on board supporting Woodhaven Select Bus Service. Most of the street […]

First Look: Woodhaven BRT Could Set New Standard for NYC Busways

|
NYC DOT and the MTA have developed three design concepts for Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard in southeast Queens, and two of them go further than previous SBS routes to keep cars from slowing down buses [PDF]. All of the options include some measures to shorten crossing distances for pedestrians […]

DOT: Full Woodhaven Boulevard Upgrades Coming Sometime Next Decade

|
DOT and the MTA will roll out enhanced bus service on Woodhaven Boulevard in 2017, but several miles of the promised bus lanes won’t come until the 2020s, agency representatives said yesterday. While DOT says the Woodhaven overhaul will be built, the city is providing no certainty as to when the Department of Design and Construction will complete the street […]

Woodhaven Select Bus Service May Get Physical Separation in Some Areas

|
After unveiling the preferred design for six miles of the Woodhaven Boulevard Select Bus Service project earlier this week, DOT and MTA met yesterday with advocates, elected officials, and community board members to go into greater detail. The agencies are considering physical separation for bus lanes at key locations on Woodhaven, and they showed potential designs for the southern stretch of the project on Cross […]
The new center roadway bus lane and SBS station on Woodhaven Boulevard just south of Jamaica Avenue. Photo: David Meyer

Select Bus Service Launches on Woodhaven Boulevard

|
Select Bus Service is live on Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens. As of Sunday, the SBS package - off-board fare collection, camera-enforced bus lanes, and other transit-priority treatments - is speeding trips for tens of thousands of people who ride the Q52 and Q53 each day.