Thursday, April 18, 2019


The City has identified locations to implement its Bus Action Plan to increase bus speeds 25% by 2020, help more businesses receive off-hour deliveries, and explore new pedestrian zones in Lower Manhattan

  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced dramatic measures to increase mobility on our streets that will be part of the 2019 OneNYC strategic plan. The package announced today includes: a detailed plan on how DOT will implement the Bus Action Plan with the goal of increasing bus speeds 25% by 2020; a plan to triple the number of businesses switching to off-hour deliveries; and pursue the creation of new pedestrian priority zones around Lower Manhattan. These measures will help New Yorkers get around and complement the implementation of congestion pricing in early 2021. The Mayor made the announcement along Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side, among the corridors that will see major bus improvements this year.

“Making it easier to get around our city means New Yorkers have more time for what matters most – for their family and themselves,” said Mayor de Blasio. “These measures are part of our OneNYC strategy to build a fairer, better city for all. They complement congestion pricing, helping us fix our subways and reduce traffic delays to get our city moving.”

Today’s mobility announcement consists of three elements, all part of 2019 OneNYC, the strategic plan for the City: the Better Buses Action Plan, increasing off-hour deliveries and pursuing the creation of new pedestrian spaces in Lower Manhattan.

Better Buses Action Plan

In his 2019 State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio announced a citywide goal of improving bus speeds by 25% by 2020. The Better Buses Action Plan released today (see report here), identifies the specific routes and projects the City will undertake in 2019 to increase bus speeds in all five boroughs. These projects include:

Manhattan: 42nd Street, 12th Avenue to FDR Drive; 2 miles
Total daily ridership: 16,000

Potential Improvements:
· Upgrade curbside bus lane to offset lane in at least one direction
· Update curb management along the corridor to prioritize transit priority, pedestrian space, and loading needs
· Extend/install turn bays at select locations and install turn bans at select locations to benefit the flow of buses and other traffic
· Adjust signal timing to improve crosstown travel

Bronx: Webster Avenue, 176th Street to 174th Street; .25 miles
Total daily ridership: 21,000

Potential Improvements:
·  Add southbound offset bus lane between E 176th St and E 174th St
·  Add physical barrier to separate bus and right turning movements
·  Adjust signal timing to improve safety and vehicle flow

Queens: Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Beach 116th Street to Beach 73rd Street; 3.7 miles
Total daily ridership: 36,000

Potential Improvements:
· Implement pedestrian safety improvements at intersections along the corridor
· Construct sidewalks to make bus stops at Beach 73rd St and Beach 67th St accessible
· Install offset and curbside bus lanes on portions of the corridor

Brooklyn: Livingston Street, Boerum Place to Flatbush Avenue
Total daily ridership: 63,000

Potential Improvements:
· Add dedicated westbound right turn arrow and signal phase to help buses turning right from westbound Livingston St onto Boerum Pl
·  Refresh existing bus lanes and extend bus lane hours
· Upgrade bus lanes to protected bus lanes with physical barriers to prevent illegal parking and standing

Staten Island: Narrows Road at Hylan Boulevard
Total daily ridership: 33,000

Potential Improvements:
· Relocate the northbound S78 bus stop from the south side of Narrows Rd S to the north side to improve bus operations and safety
· Reverse direction of Hylan Blvd (east leg) from northbound to southbound, from Narrows Rd S to Olga Pl, to reduce congestion and make it easier for buses and other traffic on Narrows Rd S to merge onto the Staten Island Expressway on-ramp
· Investigate a leading pedestrian signal (LPI) for the east crosswalk to give pedestrians a head start on crossing the street to reach the S78 bus stop
· Coordinate with NYSDOT to move the existing bus stop on the south side of Narrows Rd S/Hylan Blvd one block to the west to improve safety, to better position buses to merge onto the Staten Island Expy and alleviate traffic congestion

Increasing Off-Hour Deliveries

The de Blasio administration will work with MTA and the Port Authority to encourage efficient deliveries and support continued growth in freight activity, specifically by encouraging more businesses to accept off-hour deliveries in the Central Business District. Under the initiative this year, the number of business locations enrolled in the Overnight/Off-hour Delivery (OHD) program will triple -- from just over 500 to 1500.

DOT directs the OHD program, helping businesses make this transition by working with distributors. Currently, 119 businesses at 524 off-hour delivery locations are now involved in the program – the majority in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with a small number in other boroughs.

The OHD program (more info here) includes businesses that ship large amounts of goods into the Central Business District, like Just Salad, Liberty Coca Cola and ABI (Anheuser Busch-Inbev), as well as companies that receive deliveries, including Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, Pret-a-Manger, Lush, Rite Aid, and Whole Foods.

Increasing freight efficiency with an expanded OHD program promotes sustainable business practices with multiple benefits – from the reduction of daytime roadway congestion and double parking in active bus lanes to advancing the City’s Vision Zero goals with fewer truck-pedestrian conflicts.  The city plans to spend $1 million on outreach to all businesses in areas of Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn to make the case for OHD or invite them to participate in the program.

New Pedestrian Spaces

In light of recent community based pedestrianization studies, the City is examining options for creating new pedestrian priority streets in Lower Manhattan, where streets are narrow and sidewalks often overcrowded. DOT will work with communities, including within the Financial District, to identify locations.

As part of pedestrianizing streets in Lower Manhattan, DOT will look at using its existing toolbox – including potential changes to street-parking regulations and daytime events.  DOT is also examining shared-street options. DOT is also examining shared-street options building off a summer Lower Manhattan neighborhood-wide shared street event that took place on an August Saturday in 2017, sponsored by DOT and community groups.

DOT will look to install treatments this year following a community engagement process, including with Manhattan Community Board One and the Alliance for Downtown NY. The formal study of the area will kick off this summer.

“As New York City prepares to implement Congestion Pricing, we need to use this moment to set the right policies into motion,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, we will have a Better Buses Action Plan, off-hour delivery assistance programs, and new pedestrian zones that will help us get the most out of our streets and other public space.”

“Public transportation is the lifeblood of our city, but congested streets and crowded sidewalks negatively impact safety and accessibility in our communities. That’s why we’re thrilled that the City, through OneNYC, is taking steps to speed up buses and better manage delivery times,” said Daniel Zarrilli, NYC’s OneNYC Director and Chief Climate Policy Advisor. “These measures announced today, including a bold experiment to prioritize pedestrians in Lower Manhattan, send a message to the globe and help to make our city safer and easier to get around while ensuring efficient mobility for all.”

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