The 14th Street Busway in Manhattan, which was created as a pilot program last October, will be made permanent and extended eastward. Bus speeds improved by as much as 24 percent and ridership went up by 30 percent, according to the city.
This month, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will implement a bus lane along 149th Street in the Bronx and a busway for a 0.3-mile stretch of Main Street in Flushing.
The busy thoroughfare and transportation hub currently features bus and truck priority, which has resulted in a 23 percent increase in bus speeds between 2017 and 2018. The busway will run along Main Street and Kissena Boulevard and continue to Northern Boulevard.
“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,” de Blasio said in a statement. “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.”
The DOT and MTA will implement bus priority improvements on seven other corridors this year, including bus lanes or busways along Jamaica Avenue, Merrick Boulevard and Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
The Jamaica Avenue busway will run 0.9 miles from Sutphin Boulevard to 168th Street. It will serve 225,000 daily riders. The Merrick Boulevard bus lane will operate from Hillside Avenue to Springfield Boulevard in southeast Queens, a 6.4-mile stretch.
The Jay Street busway will cover 0.6 miles from Fulton Street to Tillary Street. That corridor serves 35,000 daily riders, according to the city.
Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, who represents parts of southeast Queens, including Laurelton, said in a statement that she is pleased about the improvements.
“Well known as a transportation desert, our busy hubs of Merrick Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue carry our community to and from home,” she said. “I look forward to working together to increase the reliable service in the area.”
Nick Sifuentes, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said in a statement that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates saw buses crowded with essential workers traveling to and from hospitals, warehouses and grocery stores.
“We owe it to them to keep buses moving quickly, and bus lanes are the most important part of improving bus service and reducing crowding,” he said. “As millions of New Yokers start returning to work, we cannot cram more cars onto our already congested streets.”
Altogether, the nine major bus speed projects total 20 miles, serving 744,000 commuters.
Jaqi Cohen, campaign director for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, said in a statement that adding 20 miles of bus lanes, including five new busways, will help drive the city’s recovery.
“We are still counting on the city to commit to an additional 20 to 40 miles this year to meet its goal of improving bus speeds citywide 25 percent by the end of the year,” Cohen said, “and it’s more important than ever that the MTA match these efforts by improving frequency of service along these corridors.”