Anyone who has traveled on 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan knows just how much of a nightmare bus service is. Unfortunately walking does not offer much relief as the sidewalks are just as pack as the street itself. It has been long known that NYC wants to change the layout of this busy thoroughfare via a pedestrian plan calling for more open space & dedicated bus lanes.
Although the plan is not yet finalized, it received a nice financial boost courtesy of a $18M grant. Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has more:
An ambitious city effort to speed up buses along 34th St. won an $18 million federal grant, officials announced Thursday.
The design for the 34th St. Transitway isn’t finalized, but the federal government still tapped it for the largest bus grant from a pool of $293 million being distributed for mass transit upgrades nationwide.
The Transitway will include several features for speeding up sluggish bus traffic, including technology that extends green lights for approaching buses and creates barriers to keep cars out of bus-only lanes.
Wider sidewalks and center islands will make it safer for pedestrians, who number more than 5,000 an hour on 34th St. during during peak times, officials said.
“Eighteen million dollars is a great vote of confidence in 34th St. and shows the importance of this project,” city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said. “New York City continues to pave the way with bold ideas to improve transportation.”
The goal on 34th St. and other city streets is to create bus corridors similar to stretches of the subway. Buses will get top priority to run with as little interference as possible, Sadik-Khan said, speeding up travel by up to 35 % and shaving about 10 minutes off each trip.
The city has some of the slowest bus speeds in the nation. The average bus speed on 34th St. is 4.5 mph, which is barely faster than walking.
One design possibility under consideration would ban cars between 5th and 6th Aves., officials have said.
Pedestrians and bus riders far outnumber drivers along 34th St., which is used by 17,000 local bus riders and 16,000 express riders every day, many from Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
At Herald Square, 90% of people are riding mass transit or walking, according to the city DOT, with the remainder taking private vehicles.
The federal grant will cover about half of the construction, planning and other costs for the project, a joint effort of the DOT and the MTA.
Click here for the complete report.
I have to admit I have not kept up to date with all of the proposed plans for this project. I am curious as to the plans to speed up bus service as something needs to be done about that disaster zone between 5th & 9th Aves.
As far as bike lanes & walking areas are concerned, I can’t say I am the biggest fan of that. This obsession with bike lanes can border on ridiculous sometimes as money is earmarked for such projects when they are a small minority even as it grows in popularity within New York City. I am more interested in the money being spent purely to improve conditions for bus riders who are more important than bicycle riders.
xoxo Transit Blogger