A new reversible lane — the first of its kind on any MTA bridge or tunnel — will connect existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the Staten Island Expressway with those on the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn beginning in 2017. The MTA has not disclosed, however, what type of HOV lane it will be. Currently, the HOV lane on the Gowanus Expressway is designated for buses and vehicles with three or more passengers (Bus/HOV 3+). The existing HOV configuration on the SIE is Bus/HOV 2+, but is projected to be operating as Bus/HOV 3+ in 2013 – something that TSTC has been calling for since 2009.
The MTA and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) must agree to operate the reversible lane on the Verrazano as Bus/HOV 3+. Bus/HOV 2+ lanes do not provide the congestion mitigation or level of public transit service that Bus/HOV 3+ lanes provide. Designating the reversible lane Bus/HOV 3+ would create a real traffic and transit enhancement along the I-278 corridor for very little cost.