Busway and Bus Lane Projects Announced

A dedicated bus lane. Image Credit: NYC DOT

The nine projects will benefit almost 750,000 daily riders. On June 8, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced nine busway and dedicated bus lane projects across the City. As the City begins to reopen, and commuters return to work, the new bus options are intended to increase bus speeds and address vehicular traffic concerns. 

Last October, the City launched a pilot program with the 14th Street busway, which limited traffic on 14th Street from 9th Avenue to 1st Avenue to buses, trucks, and emergency vehicles, with limited access to for-hire vehicles for drop-offs and pickups. By limiting access to 14th Street, bus speeds increased by as much as 24 percent and ridership grew by 30 percent. 

Given the success of the 14th Street Busway pilot program, the City looked to expand bus priority lanes around the City to increase bus speeds, reduce traffic, and provide an alternative transportation option for commuters as the City enters Phase One of its reopening. As a result, the 14th Street Busway will be permanent and expanded. The City also announced the addition or expansion of eight other bus priority corridors. Some corridors will be busways, which are streets with restricted access for cars, and other corridors will be dedicated bus lanes.

The following busway projects have been announced:

Main Street/Kissena Boulevard (Queens) from Sanford to Northern Boulevard (0.3 miles); Daily ridership of 150,000.

Jamaica Avenue (Queens) from Sutphin Boulevard to 168th Street (0.9 miles); Daily ridership of 225,000.

5th Avenue (Manhattan) from 57th Street to 34th Street (1.1 miles); Daily ridership of 75,000.

Jay Street (Brooklyn) from Fulton Street to Tillary Street (0.6 miles); Daily ridership of 35,000.

181st Street (Manhattan) from Amsterdam Avenue to Broadway (0.6 miles); Daily ridership of 111,000. 

The following bus lane projects have been announced:

14th Street (Manhattan) from 1st Avenue to Avenue C (0.8 miles); Daily ridership of 28,000. This bus lane is in addition to the permanency of the busway from 9th Avenue to 1st Avenue.

149th Street (Bronx) from Southern Boulevard to River Avenue (2.7 miles); Daily ridership of 55,000.

Merrick Boulevard (Queens) from Hillside Avenue to Springfield Boulevard (6.4 miles); Daily ridership of 35,000. 

Hylan Boulevard (Staten Island) from Lincoln Avenue to Nelson Avenue (6.6 miles); Daily ridership of 30,000. 

The 14th Street Busway expansion, Main Street Busway, and 149th Street bus lane projects will all begin this month. The other projects are expected to occur throughout 2020. The projects are expected to benefit almost 750,000 daily riders. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “As New Yorkers head back to work, they’ll be relying on the bus more than ever – and I’m proud to offer them faster and more reliable options. By replicating the 14th Street success story in other congested corridors, we can reduce traffic, increase mass transit service, and build a fairer and better New York.”

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stated, “As New York City emerges from the difficult days of COVID-19, our commitment to faster and more reliable bus service has never been more important, as buses serve a critical role — both in communities hit hard from the pandemic and by essential front-line workers. We are proud to undertake transformational work on some of the busiest bus corridors in the city, including 149th Street in the Bronx and on 14th Street in Manhattan, where the busway has been such a tremendous success.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer praised the permanency of the 14th Street Busway, stating, “A permanent and expanded 14th Street Busway is the kind of forward-thinking transportation policy that our city needs as we re-open. The 14th Street Busway has increased bus ridership and decreased travel time, and so this news is something that makes me proud, as the first elected official to publicly support the Busway. I am also encouraged to see that bus improvements are coming to 5th Avenue, and I am happy to see that my call to implement a busway for 181st Street been heeded.”


By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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