Planned Bus Priority With Improved Bus Lanes, Busways To Assist Commuters Navigating To Manhattan’s Soon-To-Be-Tolled Central Business District

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CONNECTING THE CORE: ADAMS ADMINISTRATION DETAILS AMBITIOUS EFFORTS TO HELP NEW YORKERS ACCESS MANHATTAN’S CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

 

Ahead of New York State’s Central Business District tolling program, NYC DOT issues new report detailing projects – both new and existing—that will make it easier for New Yorkers to travel car-free to and through Manhattan’s core

 

Agency to begin community outreach for new bus priority, bike lane, and pedestrian projects


 Editor’s note: Staten Island is the only borough in New York City that does not have a train system throughout the borough.  This makes it almost necessary for people looking to get to places in a timely fashion to have a car.  

With regard to congestion pricing, there are several lawsuits pending, along with legislation recently introduced.  The lawsuit spearheaded by BP Fossella was recently joined by the NYC Teacher’s Union, then later by the NAACP and local churches, and is working its way through the court system.  Staten Islander News has requested comment, and will update this article regarding the status of the lawsuit. Additionally, this program is expected to have a disproportionate negative economic impact on local communities, particularly Staten Island.  

NEW YORK – New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today announced new efforts to improve car-free access to and through Manhattan’s Central Business District (CBD) to prepare for the implementation of congestion pricing by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including 37 new projects in development for 2024 and 2025. A report detailing this work, titled Connecting the Core: Safer, Greener and More Convenient Access to the Manhattan Central Business Districtalso highlights 47 bus, bike, and pedestrian projects implemented since 2019 to make travel to and around the Central Business District faster, safer, and more convenient.

“Reducing traffic and expanding transportation options are key to improving quality of life for New Yorkers and this administration remains focused on enhancing access to Manhattan’s central business district for everyone who lives and visits our city,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The projects outlined in this report will play a critical role in shaping the future of transit and cycling access on nearly every avenue in Manhattan — delivering safe, reliable, and environmentally-friendly ways to get around the borough.”

“For congestion pricing to succeed, New Yorkers need to see the proceeds working for them, and quickly. This is the beginning of a broad effort to ensure that the region’s residents and visitors can get around more seamlessly, with tangible operational and capital improvements to public transportation,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Ultimately, we must be able to get around in ways that are sustainable for our climate change future. This is just the start of a plan to achieve that.”

“Congestion pricing will reduce traffic, improve air quality in our communities, and raise critical funding for our subways and buses,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We have been preparing for this moment for over a decade, and with fewer cars entering the tolled zone, we can repropose street space to make commuting by bus, bike, or on foot safer, faster, and more reliable. We thank Mayor Eric Adams for his support and look forward to working with the MTA, Governor Hochul, and New Yorkers to craft new projects in and around Manhattan’s core.”

“Thanks to our partners in the City, who too understand congested streets need to be a thing of the past, buses in the congestion zone and throughout the city will be faster than ever with a series of bus priority projects moving forward,” said MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “We look forward to hearing from members of the public and are ready to welcome more riders to the system on buses and subways.”

The report outlines three dozen proposed or planned street redesigns to help New Yorkers get around more quickly and more reliably via environmentally friendly and efficient transportation options. These projects build on more than a decade of work to improve access to Manhattan’s core: the city has already delivered major redesigns for better transit and cycling access on nearly every avenue in the borough—including 100 miles of protected bike lanes.

NEW BUS PRIORITY PROPOSALS

 

Each day, more than 1 million people ride MTA buses, more daily passengers than any other municipal transit system in the country — and more people than the population of all but the 10 largest American cities. NYC DOT has created 12.8 miles of bus lanes within the Central Business District since 2008 and implemented traffic signal technology to prioritize buses at over 300 intersections. The technology, known as Transit Signal Priority (TSP), allows traffic signals to hold green signals for approaching buses, or more quickly cycle through red signals for waiting buses.

Connecting to the Core identifies multiple corridors for bus prioritization to enable New Yorkers to cut through gridlock, including new or improved bus lanes and busways.

NYC DOT will work with the community to develop a plan to get buses moving faster on 34th Street in the heart of the Central Business District. Other projects include:


Hillside Avenue bus priority from Queens Boulevard to Springfield Boulevard (Queens)

Grand Avenue bus priority from Union Avenue to Queens Boulevard (Brooklyn, Queens)

Richmond Avenue bus priority from Arthur Kill Road to Forest Avenue (Staten Island)

Bus priority connecting Allen Street, Pike Street and Madison Street (Manhattan)

The agency also plans to continue outreach for recently proposed bus projects that will improve commutes outside of Manhattan’s core, including bus priority projects for upper Broadway in northern Manhattan, Church Avenue in central Brooklyn, and Tremont Avenue in the Bronx.

NEW BIKE LANE PROPOSALS

NYC DOT has created over 140 miles of bike lanes in the CBD since 2008, including over 100 miles of protected lanes, to improve safety for cyclists and other micromobility users. These improvements helped fuel a dramatic, 20% increase in cycling to the CBD from 2019 to 2022. NYC DOT implemented a record number of bike lanes across the city in 2023, with more than 600,000 daily cycling trips completed that year- a new record.

To continue supporting this safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly commuting option, NYC DOT will propose projects to build new bike lanes and widen existing lanes to support the continued growth the city’s seen in cycling.

Manhattan:

  • 72nd Street: New Protected Bike Lane, from Riverside Drive to York Ave
  • Sixth Avenue: New Protected Bike Lane from Lispenard Street to W 8th Street
  • Sixth Avenue: Widened Protected Bike Lane from 8th Street to 33rd Street
  • Seventh Avenue: New Protected Bike Lane, from 42nd Street to 30th Street
  • Dyckman Street: New Protected Bike Lane from Seaman Avenue to Route 9A

Queens:

  • Thomson Avenue: New Protected Bike Lane 44 Drive to Van Dam Street

The agency will also continue outreach and installation plans for recently announced bike lanes, including:

  • Expanding the wider Third Avenue protected bike lane and bus lane both north and south on the corridor, from 23rd Street to 59th Street and from 96th Street to 128th Street;
  • Tenth Avenue, from 14th Street to 38th Street;
  • Sidewalk widening on Ninth Avenue, which will deliver both bike and pedestrian improvements from 42nd Street to 50th Street;
  • Queens Boulevard Great Streets redesign, from Skillman Avenue to Roosevelt Avenue;
  • Redesigning Delancey Street to improve traffic safety and completely reconstruct the cycling approach to the Williamsburg Bridge, New York City’s busiest bridge for cyclists.

“As congestion pricing comes to our Central Business District, we applaud DOT for presenting Connecting the Core: Safer, Greener and More Convenient Access to the Manhattan Central Business District,” said Ken Podziba, CEO of Bike New York. “This comprehensive report, which highlights DOT’s street redesigns that have made our city safer and more livable, as well as new proposed projects, will make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to travel car-free to and within Manhattan’s core.”

“Fast, reliable bus service saves riders’ precious time and gets more people on board,” said Riders Alliance Senior Organizer Jolyse Race. “With congestion pricing almost here, these urgent projects will help improve New Yorkers’ transit commutes in neighborhoods across the city. Riders look forward to working with the City and MTA to make the most of this unique opportunity to advance equity and climate resilience for all New Yorkers.”

“Congestion pricing itself is only half the equation – its success hinges on what we do with the space newly freed up by fewer cars,” said Sara Lind, co-executive director at Open Plans. “Optimizing it for people, buses, and bikes is the right move. These modes are essential for hardworking New Yorkers and very efficient at getting them to, from, and around the commercial business district; it’s only right that they receive our investment and attention. Making these improvements before the toll even begins will ensure our city is set up to reap congestion pricing’s benefits on day one.”

“Congestion pricing is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to truly transform our streets — and we’re glad to see new plans and promises from the City to complement the program,” said Elizabeth Adams, deputy executive director for public affairs at Transportation Alternatives. “We’ve been fighting for several of these projects for years, including a protected bike lane on 72nd Street and separate spaces for pedestrians and bike riders on the Queensboro Bridge — improvements like these are critical for New Yorkers getting around the city. We hope to see many more infrastructure improvements implemented soon in and around the central business district to make congestion pricing work for every New Yorker.”

“As the city approaches the beginning of congestion pricing, it’s a moment to not just re-imagine how our city streets can better serve us, it’s time to draw up the plans and get cracking,” said Alia Soomro, deputy director of NYC policy for the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We applaud the NYC DOT for their new report which envisions a city with more – and quicker – crosstown bus routes, more protected bike lanes through the Central Business District and across the five boroughs, and streets that are safer and more welcoming to scooters, e-bikes, and other micro-mobility vehicles.”

Banner Image: Keep NYC Green signs for a car free Earth Day 2024. Image Credit – NYC DOT 


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NYC DOT

The New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of our primary customers, City residents.

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