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Tuesday’s Headlines: Another Day, Another Busway Edition

12:04 AM EDT on April 27, 2021

The 181st Street busway. Photo: Dave Colon

Washington Heights was seeing red on Monday as the Department of Transportation made good on its promise to help beleaguered bus riders by providing faster bus service on a street that the city had been grappling with for a decade. Yes, W. 181st Street got the Busway treatment.

We sent reporter Dave Colon uptown to a street where buses averaged an excruciating 3.7 miles per hour and he reported initial success: buses were flying down the once-clogged half-mile segment like big blue subway trains. From his perch at the corner of 181st and St. Nicholas Avenue, Colon said he counted six buses in 10 minutes and only one rogue car (which happened when a traffic cop had to leave the intersection for a minute).

Buses ran well on the first day of the W. 181st St. Busway. Photo: Dave Colon
Buses ran well on the first day of the W. 181st St. Busway. Photo: Dave Colon
The city says it will complete three more busways this year. Above, buses ran well on the first day of the W. 181st St. Busway. Photo: Dave Colon

It's unclear what will happen when the traffic officers pull out. "They're gonna have to keep us out here until people get used to it," said one officer — and the afternoon rush hour suggested that drivers will definitely need a few more days of officers in yellow vests telling them to stay out of the red paint. But overall, it was a smooth opening day for the city's newest bus priority street.

At this point, this is the ultimate dog bites man story: Get cars out of the way, buses speed up. We'll check back in a few weeks.

In other news:

    • Mayor de Blasio's nearly $100-billion budget proposal generated lots of ink yesterday, with the Post blasting it for being too big, Gothamist playing it straight and Streetsblog blasting it for being too small (in the open streets and bike boulevard departments).
    • New York State lost a seat in Congress due to post-Census reapportionment — and everyone blamed everyone else for the fact that we were 89 people short of retaining our 27 seats. In the Post, Mayor de Blasio blamed Gov. Cuomo. In the Times, former city census director Julie Menin blamed Gov. Cuomo. Our old man editor simply grumbled (rightly or wrongly) about all the rich people who fled the city for their country homes and didn't bother to fill out the census. The good news is that the redistricting will be controlled by the legislature (so losing a congressional seat couldn't happen to a nicer Stefanik).
    • Now the unions are calling for more cops in the subway, which excited the NY Post so much that it then did a same-day echo-chamber follow-up featuring New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg supporting the union demand. One story would have sufficed (you know, like amNY did).
    • Meanwhile, ridership is increasing finally. (amNY)
    • Andrew Yang released a fuller open space plan that includes backing the QueensWay rail trail. (amNY)
    • In case you missed it, we wrote a crackerjack story about how an Upper West Side community board couldn't even do the decent thing. It was our most-read story, so why not see for yourself what all the fuss is about?
    • An MIT study found once again that ride-hailing apps increase congestion and reduce transit use.
    • And, finally, a Pennsylvania police department got ratio'd hard when it asked citizens to submit photos and videos of "bicycle riders causing traffic issues." That's what happens when you ignore the 3,000-pound elephant in the room and worry about kids on bikes making drivers be more careful. (Twitter)

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