Press Release #21-020
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Contact: Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (212) 839-4850
Better Buses: NYC DOT Launches Bus Priority Along Battery Place in Lower Manhattan, Aiding Brooklyn & Staten Island Commuters
Battery Place connection to Hugh L. Carey Tunnel serves over 12,000 daily bus passengers, mostly riding Staten Island Express Buses; Project expedites afternoon rush-hour trips through Lower Manhattan, previously the site of notorious traffic bottleneck
NEW YORK – The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the completion of new bus-priority treatments along Battery Place in Lower Manhattan. This improvement will speed up MTA Brooklyn and Staten Island-bound Express Bus service that serves over 12,000 daily riders. The improvements are part of the de Blasio Administration’s Better Buses initiative, an effort to improve bus travel times and reliability citywide.
In addition to a new dedicated curbside bus lane from Broadway to West Street, an exclusive bus-only signal now helps westbound buses turn right onto West Street to enter the Hugh L. Carey Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. The project incorporated signal work, red bus lane paint, markings, new signage and vertical delineators to keep cars out of the bus lane approaching the bus-only signal. DOT began its transformation of Battery Place following a request from Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo, who had noted the need to relieve the notorious back-ups Express Bus commuters regularly faced as their trips home left Manhattan.
“Improving bus service is a top priority for the Administration,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “Bus improvements at Battery Place will save valuable time for Staten Island bus riders -- in a year’s time, each commuter will have gotten more than a full day of their lives back. We thank the Borough President for his support and leadership.”
"The redesign of the express bus system for Staten Island has been one of the most challenging endeavors of my career,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “But through this arduous process of creating and iterating a new SIM network, opportunities have arisen to collaborate with the MTA and city agencies such as the NYC DOT to address long standing bottlenecks and obstacles to the most expeditious commutes possible. Today is another step in that journey, and I am grateful to our governmental partners. Moving 30,000+ Staten Islanders to and from Manhattan every day will never be easy. That's why it is that much more important to aggressively correct and improve everything in our control."
“If BP Oddo is pushing for something, it’s probably a good idea,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Congratulations to DOT on following through on another meaningful bus improvement in Manhattan. I look forward to seeing more red paint on the borough’s streets throughout the rest of the year.”
“The City that never sleeps needs a reliable and efficient transportation system that will keep up with New Yorkers. The project will improve our bus signals, red bus lane paint, and markings reducing wait times and increasing bus speeds,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman, Speaker Johnson, my colleagues at the Council, and advocates to ensure we continue improving our public transportation system throughout the 5 boroughs, especially in underserved communities”
"I have lost count of all the times I have worked with NYPD Traffic to provide officers near Battery Place to help unsnarl the tunnel congestion that constantly delays express buses returning to Staten Island,” said City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo. “I am cautiously optimistic these new bus priority measures will help alleviate some of those problems. Anything that can be done to shorten some of the longest commutes in the country is certainly welcome."
"Staten Island bus riders suffer through some of the longest commutes in the nation. Putting riders first on Battery Place will save 5,000 people precious time, improve reliability and relieve aggravation every day,” said Jolyse Race, Riders Alliance Senior Organizer. “Thanks to the investment and commitment of the DOT, Battery Place will now be a fairer, greener, more efficient public space. Better Buses Restart is quickly becoming a progressive highlight of Mayor de Blasio's legacy. It should serve as a powerful example to the next mayor and administration."
"Staten Island residents have some of the longest commutes in the entire country, and we need to be doing everything we can to speed this up, especially for residents who use public transit,” said Rose Uscianowski, Staten Island Organizer at Transportation Alternatives. “The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is an essential part of Staten Island's express bus system, but for too long has been a congested chokepoint. I welcome these overdue improvements that will benefit thousands of commuters each day. We will continue to work with our partners in government to improve bus service for Staten Islanders.”
"We commend NYC DOT for continuing to make great progress toward reaching the goals of the Better Buses plan," said Liam Blank, a spokesman for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "New York City buses move hundreds of thousands of riders each day, and service reliability is becoming increasingly important as the economy shifts back into high gear. Fortunately, the new bus priority treatments along Battery Place will have an immediate positive impact on Staten Island bus commuters returning to work in Manhattan."
In 2021, DOT will build or improve 28 miles of Better Buses projects, serving 951,000 bus riders a day, to get essential workers to jobs, minimize congestion and pollution from private automobiles, and support the city's economic recovery. Last year, the Mayor’s Better Buses Restart created more than 16 miles of new bus lanes and busways across all five boroughs – the most ever in one year. Completed projects include Jay Street and Malcolm X Blvd in Brooklyn, 14th Street extension and 181st Street in Manhattan, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island, E.L. Grant Highway, University Ave and 149th Street in the Bronx and Merrick Blvd and Main Street in Queens.