Last Thursday, MTA and NYCDOT officials released a first look at the design for the M15 “Select Bus Service” on First and Second Avenue in Manhattan, winning praise from advocates. The plan would revamp First and Second Avenues by adding a physically separated bike lane along much of the length of both avenues and on-street bus lanes. Riders would pay before boarding, and below Houston Street M15 buses would get signal priority, with traffic lights changing to keep buses on schedule. The bus improvements are expected to cut travel time by 25%, while the bike lane and traffic islands will create a safer cycling experience and reduce crossing distance for walkers. The agencies want to begin upgraded service this October.
At the community meeting where the design was announced, the Pratt Center for Community Development’s Elena Conte noted the large number of older residents along the corridor who would benefit from safety improvements. Advocates including TSTC, the Straphangers Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, AARP, and others applauded the plan in a release, calling it “a sea change in ‘complete street’ design, with huge benefits for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as bus riders.”
Elected officials along the corridor also responded positively, but suggested that the plan could be improved to further speed bus service. A public open house is planned for next month.
NYCDOT currently plans to switch between these designs depending on road width and traffic conditions, as follows. No changes will be made to the street in the Second Avenue Subway Phase I construction zone until construction is finished: