Mayor de Blasio admitted on Friday that the Division of Transportation received’t meet its goal of putting in 20 miles of devoted bus lanes and car-free busways this yr — itself a far-less-ambitious purpose than the 60 miles of bus lanes the MTA wished town to put in to hurry the restoration from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two instances in as many weeks, fed-up straphangers have requested the mayor in regards to the busways he promised again in June — and each instances, de Blasio’s solutions had been embarrassing. Final week, a bus rider named Natasha referred to as in to Brian Lehrer’s “Ask The Mayor” section on WNYC and requested if all 20 miles would certainly be painted by Nov. 1, the top of the striping season. The mayor admitted he had not adopted up on his personal proposal and wanted to be briefed earlier than he might reply.
Positive sufficient, one week later, it appears Hizzoner did get that replace — and revealed that he received’t full the 20 miles this yr, and even ever.
“We wished to do 20 miles by the top of the yr. It appears to be like prefer it’ll be nearer to 17, which is an efficient achievement,” de Blasio stated throughout his weekly section. He attributed the lacking three miles to “that situation in Flushing with neighborhood organizations and leaders and companies that we’re addressing,” a reference to the administration’s months-long delay in finishing only a .3-mile stretch of car-free busway on Most important Road in Queens after native Council Member Peter Koo led a racially insensitive campaign against it.
The mayor is getting one other query in regards to the buses on Ask The Mayor, two weeks in a row child
— Good Thought Dave (@DaveCoIon) October 23, 2020
However the mayor was ill-informed; the .3-mile busway in Flushing can be accomplished this yr, the Division of Transportation quietly introduced shortly after the mayor’s feedback.
“After finishing some further evaluations and outreach, NYC DOT plans to begin implementation within the subsequent two weeks for the Most important Road Busway. This work will embody road marking modifications, signal installations in addition to parking mitigation,” Andrew Arcese, a planner in DOT’s Queens Borough Commissioner’s Workplace, stated in an e mail to a Streetsblog supply who shared it with town’s prime transportation outlet.
So what’s the mayor speaking about? We’re not even certain if he is aware of (and DOT didn’t reply to a request for remark), however right here’s Streetsblog’s breakdown of the unique 16.5 miles bus lanes and three.5 miles of car-free busways that town promised:
- The bus lane on Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island, which was put in in September, was chopped from 6.6 miles to 4.7 miles this summer season — a lack of 1.9 miles.
- The proposed 1.1-mile Fifth Avenue busway was redesigned from a car-free busway to merely a properly designed road.
In order that’s the lacking three miles proper there. Apart from one downside: It’s not clear that town will end all of the remaining 17 miles by the top of the yr. Of the 5 unique busway initiatives, just one — on Jay Street in Brooklyn — has been applied. If Fifth Avenue is nixed and Flushing will get carried out within the subsequent two weeks, that also leaves Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to 168th Road, which is delayed after native elected officers referred to as on DOT to as a substitute set up one on Archer Avenue; and 181st Street from Amsterdam Avenue to Broadway, which is slated to be put in in November, one month delayed.
And the remaining 14.6 miles of devoted bus lanes embody:
- 14th Road between First Avenue and Avenue C, which was put in in July
- 149th Road within the Bronx from Southern Boulevard to River Avenue, which was installed this month
- Merrick Boulevard in Queens from Hillside Avenue to Springfield Boulevard, which is delayed
- Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island from Lincoln Avenue and Guyon avenues, which was reduce from its unique proposal, however was installed in September
However regardless of all the delays, one bus advocate says that town lastly pushing via the Most important Road busway within the face of intense opposition is an efficient signal, and will pave the way in which for future bus enchancment initiatives — ones that would hopefully match the MTA’s bold purpose of 60 miles.
“It’s an indication that bus rider prevailed over native opposition. Subsequent yr much more is feasible, the mayor has an actual alternative to cement a legacy for main enhancements for bus riders,” stated Danny Pearlstein of Riders Alliance. “What this yr proves is that DOT doesn’t want money and time to make a giant distinction, it simply want political will. It might level the way in which in direction of a actual progressive legacy if he doubles down on bus lanes and matches his 20 miles by about 40 subsequent yr.”