For a little while now, the Department of Transportation has considered installing Select Bus Service along Woodhaven Boulevard, an initiative to reduce travel time by creating dedicated bus lanes. But over the weekend the Daily News reported that the DOT is also considering a Bus Rapid Transit route, a bus-only lane separated from traffic by landscaped medians or other barriers. While BRT corridors exist in cities like LA and San Francisco, it has not yet been implemented in New York. (Select Bus Service may provide “dedicated” bus lanes, but they are unprotected, meaning that cars and trucks often drive in.) The DOT hopes to present a conceptual plan for the corridor, which stretches from Roosevelt Avenue all the way to the Rockaways, by the end of the year. The whole process would take four years total.
Second Avenue Sagas has this to say about the news: “This is certainly optimistic news for anyone who’s been hoping for better bus service. Woodhaven is a key artery with very high bus ridership figures, and reallocating street space would benefit the many in this instance. New Yorkers could finally see that real BRT can happen here, and such a move could set the stage for future bus lanes.” There’s also skepticism, though, as the plan would require the approval from a number of community boards and is asking to completely take away a lane or two of traffic. As Second Avenue Sagas points out, we are still a year or two away from the upcoming battles.