Select Bus Service on Webster Ave. Could Feature Median Bus Lanes
By Daniel Beekman
The Bronx could become home to the first median bus lanes and bus stops in the city, transportation officials revealed at a public meeting this month.
The city plans to add Select Bus Service on Webster Ave. and one option for the project includes bus lanes with bus stops along the center of the road - somewhat like the trolley lines that crisscrossed New York many decades ago.
The express service could speed up bus travel on the clogged thoroughfare - and steal business from the livery cab drivers who ply the busy strip. The bus lanes that already exist elsewhere are located curbside or between lanes.
"The possibility of the city bringing Select Bus Service to Webster Ave. is really exciting...and putting bus lanes in the middle of the street would be totally new," said Noah Kazis, a transportation guru who writes for the website Streetsblog NYC.
The Transportation Department selected Webster Ave. to receive express service because the corridor desperately needs help.
More than 100,000 people live near Webster Ave. and 63% commute by public transportation.
But the 5.3-mile bus route that runs up and down Webster Ave. is the least reliable in the Bronx, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority data.
The trip from E. 161st St. to E. Gun Hill Road on the Bx41 can take up to 57 minutes and Bx41 buses spend more time stopped than they spend in motion.
Officials believe Select Bus Service is the answer. Travel times dropped 20% and ridership jumped 7% after it was installed on Fordham Road in 2008.
State Sen. Gustavo Rivera represents most of the Webster Ave. corridor and supports the plan. He worked with the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives to survey Select Bus Service riders on Fordham Road. "The results were overwhelmingly positive," he noted. "People are finding it clean, fast and effective."
Officials have yet to decide where to install the Webster Ave. bus lanes. But Kasiz said median lanes offer smooth sailing. Curbside bus lanes are sometimes blocked by delivery trucks and vehicles that are parked illegally.
Median and curbside bus lanes would require the city to eliminate parking, however.
The Transportation Department and the MTA plan to select a Webster Ave. bus lane option this summer or fall and implement the express service in 2013 or 2014.
Submitted by joseph on June 11, 2012 - 12:47. categories [ ]