New York City has big plans for speeding up buses, seeking to build on the success of the Select Bus Service on Fordham Road in the Bronx with new projects on 34th Street and First and Second Avenues in Manhattan, Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, and elsewhere. But their impact will be limited as long as drivers continue to use new bus lanes for loading and parking. One bill could lead to faster rides and better quality of life for the 2.4 million New Yorkers who ride buses daily — legislation authorizing cities to use cameras to ticket drivers who block them.
There are two ways a bus lane enforcement camera program could pass Albany. Governor Paterson included the measure in the executive budget, and Assm. Jonathan Bing (D-Manhattan) and Senate Transportation Chair Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) have introduced a bill (A00862C/S2709D) that would do the same thing.
There is strong support for the proposal (the Bing/Dilan bill has 31 co- and multi-sponsors in the Assembly and 6 in the Senate, and the NYC Council passed a resolution in favor of bus lane cameras two years ago). But one obstacle may be Assembly Transportation Committee Chair David Gantt (D-Rochester), who killed a similar 2008 bill due to privacy concerns, even though the New York Civil Liberties Union helped draft and signed off on the bill language.
Advocates from Tri-State and other organizations were in Albany earlier this week to push for the proposal. Readers who want to support the bill can send faxes to Gantt through Transportation Alternatives’ website.