Chicago’s Ashland Ave. BRT is looking to replicate center median-aligned exlusive bus lanes, similar to Cleveland’s Healthline BRT. Woodhaven Blvd.’s 10-lane width can easily accommodate similar features. Image: transitchicago.com
All seven of New York City’s Select Bus Service (SBS) lines have proven to be successful, demonstrating improved service, increased ridership, street safety improvements, as well as economic and environmental benefits. Adding to the pile of success stories, the New York City Department of Transportation and the MTA recently released a progress report on the Bx41 SBS line along Webster Avenue in the Bronx, which, like all other SBS routes, has yielded significant improvements for neighborhoods along the line.
Thanks to changes such as off-board fare collection, signal timing improvements and dedicated bus lanes, the Bx41 SBS is operating up to 23 percent faster than the Bx41 Limited route that it replaced. Faster bus travel times have also led to decreased bus delays, with an average time savings of 8.5 minutes per trip. Additionally, total Bx41 ridership has increased nearly 25 percent since it was upgraded to SBS in June 2013. Unsurprisingly, all these improvements led to 97 percent of riders reporting as “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the service.
As NYC DOT and the MTA take steps toward achieving Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious call for a “world-class” bus rapid transit network of 20 routes, all eyes are now on Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens for the next roll out of enhanced bus service.
Though it will be Queens’ first SBS route, its story is familiar: according to feedback from recent community workshops and a 2008 NYC DOT Woodhaven Boulevard Congested Corridors study, the boulevard is plagued with slow and unreliable buses, traffic congestion and dangerous conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.
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There’s talk of bringing the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, and to make sure delegates can get between Manhattan hotels and the Barclay’s Center, City officials are planning for an exclusive bus lane on the Manhattan Bridge.
This wouldn’t be the first time exclusive lanes for buses were used during a [...]
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill at the Javits Center in Manhattan Saturday. | Photo: Joseph Cutrufo/TSTC
This morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an historic piece of legislation: a bill that gives New York City the authority to lower its default speed limit from 30 miles per hour, to 25 miles per hour. Statement from TSTC Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool below:
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Do drivers speed, run red lights, or double-park in your neighborhood? Do pedestrian signals provide enough time to cross the street safely?
If you live or work in New York City and face traffic safety challenges like these, speak up!
As part of the Vision Zero campaign to eliminate traffic fatalities, the City is seeking [...]
Community members envision a transformed Woodhaven Boulevard at a design workshop hosted by NYC DOT and MTA Bus. Photo: Kathi Ko
In late June, the New York City Department of Transportation and the MTA returned to Queens for a second round of workshops to solicit ideas for the Woodhaven Boulevard Select Bus Service (SBS) route — the first of its kind for the borough. Residents and community groups gathered for a design charrette to submit their visions for a transformed Woodhaven Boulevard. Amid some concerns, participants were eager to share their ideas on how to speed up bus service, ease congestion, and improve walkability along the corridor.
Most workshop participants agreed that something needs to be done to relieve the infamously congested and dangerous corridor. At the first meeting back in April, participants discussed how and where they live, work and play along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, as well as their choices of and experiences with various commute modes. The feedback revealed local concerns including very slow and unreliable buses, dangerous and difficult pedestrian crossings, and traffic congestion.
During last week’s design charrette, participants engaged in a streetscape redesign envisioning process using elements of SBS and bus rapid transit (BRT) — similar to what MTR envisioned — as well as complete streets elements. The room was abuzz with a mix of proponents for big and bold ideas; others who were open to SBS, and even full-fledged BRT, but with some reservations about how SBS might affect congestion, parking and local bus service; as well as those who were seemingly opposed to any changes to the status quo.
Since city-wide SBS routes currently in service show that these concerns do not necessarily materialize, MTR decided to take a stab at addressing some of these concerns:
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State legislators voted in favor of allowing New York City to lower its default speed limit to 25 miles per hour in the 2014 legislative session. | Photo: AP via legislativegazette.com
It was an action-packed end-of-session for transportation advocates in Albany, with some squeaker wins as well as some disappointing losses which will no doubt be on next year’s sustainable transportation wish list.
A key victory this year came when the State Senate laid politics aside and granted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a key component of his Vision Zero plan: the authority to lower the default speed limit to 25 mph throughout the five boroughs.
Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell was an early and effective champion in the Assembly, but in the Senate, passage was less certain when election year politics entered into the negotiations.
After a concerted campaign from Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, the first positive sign of forward progress for the bill came with three days left in the legislative session when Senator Jeffrey Klein introduced an amended bill (S.7892) that included input from community boards. Passage was certainly not assured especially as it became clear that Senator Dean Skelos was prepared to block the bill for personal reasons, and when Senator Andrew Lanza also indicated he was not inclined to support the legislation. Ultimately, consensus was reached and the bill is expected to be signed by Governor Cuomo. The City has already begun to discuss how to implement its new local control.
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New York City Department of Transportation Policy Director Jon Orcutt announced today that he will leave his post after seven years with the department. Orcutt was with Tri-State for 13 years before joining NYC DOT, first as associate director from 1994 until 2003, and executive director from 2003 until 2007. Over the past 25 years, Jon has [...]