Sunday, March 21, 2021



Two months after launch of Flushing-Main Street busway, DOT announces speeds up 13-31%

 Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the 181st Street Busway, which will bring faster bus speeds to 66,000 daily riders in Washington Heights, will launch on April 26th, 2021. The 0.5-mile busway, which builds on the success of similar projects on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn, 14th Street in Manhattan, and Flushing-Main Street in Queens, is the latest promise kept in Mayor de Blasio’s transformational Better Buses initiative, announced last June. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) also announced today that two months after its launch, the Flushing-Main Street busway is already providing faster and more reliable bus service for 155,000 daily riders in Queens. Data from MTA/New York City Transit show that bus speeds along the Main Street corridor have been significantly faster since January 19th. Bus speeds in the northbound direction are on average 15%-24% faster during the day, and 13%- 31% faster during the PM peak.
“Washington Heights deserves faster, safer, more reliable bus transit. The 181st Street busway will help this iconic neighborhood come back stronger than ever,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Busways have transformed transportation across the city – most recently in Flushing, where the new busway has dramatically increased speeds in just two months – and I look forward to bringing these changes to even more neighborhoods citywide.”
"We have seen across this city the benefits of faster, more reliable bus service, and the early success of the Flushing-Main Street busway is just the latest example," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. "Washington Heights is up next in our continued expansion of busways, and we are looking forward to the positive impact this project will have on the more than 60,000 daily riders."
“Next month, DOT will continue our great Better Buses work by speeding up commutes across Washington Heights,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “We have already worked closely with our partners at MTA New York City Transit to deliver busways with faster and more reliable bus service, including in Flushing, downtown Brooklyn and of course on 14th Street in Manhattan. In all of these locations, busways are successfully connecting New Yorkers, including essential workers, to employment as well as to dynamic commercial hubs, where local business owners are working hard to emerge from the COVID crisis. We expect similar great results along 181st Street – and I for one cannot wait to ride.”
“The key to an effective bus system is well-enforced bus priority.  We’re thrilled that the Main Street Busway is improving commutes for thousands of customers with up to 31% speed increases, and are excited to bring improvements to our customers on 181st Street and in other parts of the city,” said Craig Cipriano, President of the MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President for Buses, MTA New York City Transit.
181st Street is one of the busiest and most congested corridors in Manhattan, resulting in average bus speeds of less than 4mph. These slow bus speeds create unreliable service for bus riders making connections to the A and 1 trains; any of the six MTA bus routes traveling on the north-south avenues; and the Port Authority’s George Washington Bridge bus terminal. This project will increase bus speed and reliability, calm traffic, and improve truck travel and loading and unloading, while maintaining local access to support businesses and services.
The busway in Washington Heights will bring transit and truck priority to 181st St between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in the eastbound direction, and Amsterdam Ave to Wadsworth Avenue in the westbound direction. Through traffic would be limited to buses, trucks, and emergency vehicles. Cars, taxis, and vans must make next available right turn off busway. Local access and parking are allowed, with improved truck loading and parking meter regulations.
NYPD will provide traffic enforcement and inform motorists about the new regulations with the launch of the busway. DOT will also install bus lane cameras, which for the first 60 days will issue warning letters to registered vehicle owners who violate the new regulations, before beginning to mail out violations with fines.
DOT formed a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to guide the project before, during, and after implementation. DOT also met with Community Board 12, the Washington Heights BID, local elected officials, and small businesses.

The Mayor’s record-setting Better Buses Restart plan has increased bus speeds and reliability along major corridors in all five boroughs. Since June 2020, DOT implemented 16.9 miles of new bus lanes and busways, the largest one-year effort in New York City history. Completed projects Jay Street in Brooklyn (0.8 miles), Malcolm X Blvd in Brooklyn (0.1 miles), 14th Street extension in Manhattan (0.8 miles), Hylan Boulevard (4.7 miles) on Staten Island, E.L. Grant Highway (1.2 miles), University Ave (0.1 miles) and 149th Street (2.7 miles) in the Bronx and Merrick Blvd (5.9 miles) and Main Street (0.6 miles) in Queens.

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