Bus Priority Falling to Local Political Opposition in New York City

An ambitious program to add 20 miles of bus lanes and protected bus ways in the city of New York has been diminished by political opposition in parts of the city.

August 20, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Manhattan Bus Transit

rblfmr / Shutterstock

The New York City Department of Transportation has bowed to Staten Island car owners who objected to a bus lane project, reports Gersh Kuntzman.

The scaled back proposal originally called for dedicated bus lanes in both directions on a 3.3-mile stretch of Hylan Boulevard, according to Kuntzman. "Instead of bus lanes on both side of Hylan between Lincoln and Nelson avenues, the plan now calls for a 1.4-mile bus lane on the south side of Hylan, between Lincoln and Guyon avenues."

Kuntzman notes that the scaled back version of the Staten Island bus lane project is "the second high-profile pullback from a supposed commitment to help long-suffering transit riders in as many weeks." The first: a car-free .3-mile stretch in Flushing that has been suspended indefinitely "after Council Member Peter Koo claimed, in racially supercharged language, that the busway would hurt local businesses, explains Kuntzman. Kuntzman makes sure to point out that the idea that bus lanes hurt local businesses is a myth, "dispelled by DOT’s own statistics."

Councilmembers Steven Matteo and Joe Borelli of Staten Island were responsible for the revised plan for the Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island, according to Kuntzman, who cites an article by the Staten Island Advance for the original news about this particular bus project's demise.

In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to roll out an ambitious program of new bus lanes and protected busways around the city to assist transit riders during and after the pandemic, but as reported recently, much of that promise has stalled or, as in the case of these two projects, been scaled back or suspended entirely.

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