Friday, December 3, 2021
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First Dedicated Bus Lanes in Soundview to Begin Serving 45,000 Daily Riders
Three miles of new bus lanes now giving priority to MTA buses serving 45,000 riders; Project also includes major pedestrian safety improvements and transit-signal priority
Images of the new bus lane are available DOT’s Flikr page
THE BRONX -- The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today that it has completed the conversion of major thoroughfares in the Soundview neighborhood of the South Bronx into bus-priority corridors. New bus lanes and other improvements along three miles of major Soundview streets -- including Story Avenue, Bronx River Avenue and White Plains Road – will speed 45,000 daily riders on MTA buses. Prior to this conversion, service on these streets was notoriously unreliable and slow, with average peak-period speeds at about 5 MPH. The conversion comes with other major improvements, including the addition of Vision Zero pedestrian safety changes as well as transit-signal priority technology to speed buses through traffic lights. All told, bus lanes and busways installed this year are speeding up the commutes of over half a million daily riders.
"We're giving the Bronx a win-win: faster buses and safer streets," said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. "These new bus lanes and street safety improvements are the result of close consultation with the community, from bus-rider surveys to community-board meetings. Working with the MTA and across the entire de Blasio Administration, we're delivering results as we aim to improve bus service citywide."
"New Yorkers depend on safe, reliable public transportation travel to home, work, school and other destinations and busways are vital in this mission," said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster. "Buses have always been an important component of Vision Zero. The NYPD will continue to keep our buses, as well as overall traffic, moving safely while protecting pedestrians and cyclist who use our city streets."
"The completion of these major bus lanes in the Bronx will undoubtedly improve bus speeds for thousands of commuters across the borough," said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. "The riders who use these routes will benefit from dedicated bus lanes that will help people get to their destination at a much quicker pace, with improved traffic signaling and increased safety measures along the way. Residents of the Bronx can depend on MTA New York City Transit buses to get them where they need to go more seamlessly than ever before, and the MTA is excited to continue partnering with the DOT to improve transportation and quality of life for Bronx residents."
"Thousands of Soundview residents will now be able to take advantage of the MTA's vast bus network at much faster speeds than before with the introduction of these new bus lanes," said MTA Bus Company President Acting President and New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. "The MTA is committed to continuing the work to improve our transit system by increasing bus speeds with dedicated lanes, promoting public transportation ridership, and bringing New Yorkers back to the system. Our riders rely on safety and efficiency and these bus lanes help work towards that mission."
DOT has added seven new bus lane miles in the Bronx since 2020, which includes this project along with 149th Street, Edward L Grant Hwy. and University Avenue.
DOT has worked cooperatively with the MTA for its planned Bronx Bus Network Redesign. The redesign had identified these major Soundview corridors serving the MTA's Bx5, Bx36 and Bx39 routes as especially congested, with slow and unreliable service – with previous daytime bus speeds averaging as low as 5 MPH. The new curbside bus lanes on Story Avenue and White Plains Road are now in effect Monday-Friday, 7am and 7pm. The new bus lane in the traffic lane along Bronx River Avenue is in effect at all times.
The Vision Zero pedestrian improvements that are part of this project are also expected to reduce crashes. Major improvements include:
- Painted curb extensions to calm traffic and improve safety for pedestrians at five intersections.
- Transit Signal Priority, a smart-signal system that speeds up bus service by holding green lights and making red lights shorter when a bus is approaching.
- Updated daytime parking regulations to accommodate bus lanes, which reduced parking along the bus routes during daytime hours on weekdays. Angled parking was added on adjacent side streets at community request, including along Boynton, Soundview and Taylor Avenues.
The bus lanes will be enforced by the NYPD, alongside DOT automated enforcement cameras. Bus lane cameras will be activated beginning today with warnings being issued for the first 60-days. After the 60-day warning period, bus lane cameras will issue fines starting at $50 and progressively increasing to $250 for subsequent violations within a one-year period.
"I applaud the DOT and MTA for working together to ensure that riders have access to faster buses by implementing bus-priority corridors across my district," said State Senator Luis R. Sepulveda. "As a representative with a high concentration of riders, I understand the need for constituents to be able to rely on dependable bus service, which this plan aims to do."
"The conversion of major thoroughfares in Soundview into bus-priority lanes is a game-changer for the Bronx, providing tens of thousands of Bronxites access to the efficient, reliable, and safe public transportation that they deserve," said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. "I am grateful to the Department of Transportation for their commitment to improving public transit in the Bronx, and their dedication to efficiency and pedestrian safety. We must continue to make such improvements, and I look forward to working with the DOT and the community to better the lives of hundreds of thousands of riders in the Bronx."
"My constituents in the Soundview neighborhood of my Bronx district rely on public transportation each day for their commutes. The addition of these new bus lanes and Vision Zero pedestrian improvements will go a long way towards providing safety and reliability for these residents. I applaud the NYC DOT for their tireless work in making the lives of my constituents much easier and safer," said Assembly Member Kenny Burgos.
"Bronx riders stood up and demanded better buses and our leaders in City Hall listened," said Riders Alliance Senior Organizer Jolyse Race. "These new bus lanes will restore precious time in the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, time to devote to family, work, education, and more. Bus lanes bring our city together and make it work more effectively for everybody. Thanks as always to the hardworking folks at NYC DOT, who did the heavy lifting and stuck it out in the face of NIMBY opposition, and to the elected officials who came around and supported their constituents who have been left behind, stuck in stalled traffic, for far too long."
"NYCDOT's addition of bus priority treatments along Story Avenue, Bronx River Avenue and White Plains Road will have significant impact for Bronx riders who depend on buses to get where they need to go. The Soundview treatments also represent a win for cooperation between the MTA and NYCDOT in bus network redesign planning. We look forward to further expansion of these bus priority treatments across the city, bringing faster, more dependable trips to all New Yorkers," said Ashley Pryce, Senior Advocacy Associate, TransitCenter.
"The new bus priority corridors in Soundview will ease the commutes of thousands of daily bus riders, and we are thrilled that DOT has added 7 miles of dedicated bus lanes in the Bronx since 2020," said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "With traffic congestion on the rise, and average bus speeds cratering as a result, targeted investments, including bus lanes and transit signal priority, will produce significant benefits for bus riders. We truly applaud Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Gutman for continuing to prioritize sustainable and equitable transit on the city's streets, particularly in bus-dependent communities."
"The Bronx Bus Network Redesign is a critical step to reduce commute times for tens of thousands of residents and support the reduction of transportation-related emissions, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York. We need efficient, reliable, clean transportation options, and we applaud the MTA and Department of Transportation for implementing this conversion in a major corridor that needs it," said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.