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Bus speeds to increase 25 percent by 2020, Mayor de Blasio vows

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Bus speeds to increase 25 percent by 2020, Mayor de Blasio vows

Among the nation's big cities, New York City has the slowest bus service.

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Faced with the slowest bus service among the nation's big cities in addition to sharply declining ridership in recent years, the administration vowed to expand bus priority on streets; ramp up police enforcement of bus lanes and push Albany for state-controlled measures, such as camera enforcement. Photo Credit: Getty Images/wdstock

By Vincent Baronevin.barone@amny.com  @vinbarone

Updated January 10, 2019 5:00 AM

Mayor Bill de Blasio will pledge during his State of the City address Thursday to drastically improve local bus speeds over the next two years to help revive the failing, unreliable service.

Faced with the slowest bus service among the nation’s big cities in addition to sharply declining ridership in recent years, the administration will vow to expand bus priority on streets; ramp up police enforcement of bus lanes and push Albany for state-controlled measures, such as camera enforcement.

With the combined efforts, the city aims to improve average bus speeds by 25 percent, from 7.44 miles per hour to 9.03 miles per hour by the end of 2020.

“Buses are a critical link in our public transportation system, and we’re doubling down on improvements to help get New Yorkers moving,” said de Blasio in a statement. “We look forward to working with the MTA to give our city the bus system it deserves.”

The state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority saw a drop of almost 60 million bus trips from 2010 to 2016 — down from 697 million annual trips to 638 million — as average speeds trended down, with the mayor bearing much of the blame for not doing enough to accommodate buses on city streets. The administration now plans to more aggressively implement current strategies and try some new techniques to accelerate buses to faster speeds than the city has seen in at least 18 years.

“It is an ambitious goal,” said Polly Trottenberg, the city’s Department of Transportation commissioner, who noted that many of the efforts draw from recommendations from transit advocates.

“We know the city has a big role to play in trying to get buses moving faster and trying to turn around the decline in ridership,” she continued. “And I think what you’re hearing . . . is a really big commitment to do that.”

On the streets themselves, the administration will markedly increase the miles of bus lanes it installs each year from seven to between 10 and 15 miles per year. Each year, it will also tweak five miles of existing bus lanes with new design elements in addition to extending hours during which other vehicles are restricted from access.

This year the city will launch a small pilot to install up to two miles of physically separated bus lanes to keep cars from unlawfully blocking service. Though Trottenberg wouldn’t elaborate as to what the city will use to separate the lanes or where the lanes would be located.

The city currently has 111 miles of dedicated bus lanes, which critics point out are often blocked by idling or parked vehicles. To help keep that network of lanes clear, the mayor will establish for the first time dedicated tow truck teams within the Police Department. There will be seven towing teams patrolling the city, starting immediately, according to the mayor’s office.

De Blasio’s DOT will also more quickly roll out a technology that allows for buses to more expeditiously move through signaled intersections, known as traffic-signal priority, or TSP. The technology allows buses to communicate with traffic signals, allowing the signals to hold green lights longer for approaching buses or end red lights sooner to get buses rolling.

The city now plans to activate TSP for buses at 1,200 intersections by the end of 2020, up from a commitment of 1,000 intersections before.

The mayor will also advocate for the reinstatement of Select Bus Service after the MTA nixed the rollout of new SBS routes as part of a money-saving effort in its next budget. 

Jon Orcutt, a spokesman for the advocacy group TransitCenter, welcomed the new commitments as “the best possible start to the new year for city bus riders” who “now have the mayor in their corner.”

Orcutt said it was critical to have new police enforcement, and appreciated that the mayor is making pledges with tangible goals.

“There’s a lot of measurable targets,” he said. “That, I think, speaks to the seriousness of what they’re proposing.”

Many of the initiatives the mayor is endorsing had also been called for in the MTA's own proposal to improve bus service, which the authority’s Transit president, Andy Byford, had unveiled in his Bus Plan from April of last year.

“I welcome the Mayor's support on initiatives we identified in our Bus Plan and Fast Forward Plan and have been working in close collaboration with our partners NYCDOT to implement,” Byford said in a statement. “We are also counting on the Mayor’s engagement for us to obtain the robust funding and community support we need to fully implement these plans which will bring benefits to millions of New Yorkers.”

Source: 

image.jpg By Vincent Baronevin.barone@amny.com  @vinbarone

Vin has been covering transportation at amNewYork since 2016. He first landed on the beat at his hometown newspaper, the Staten Island Advance, in 2014.

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2 minutes ago, Orion6025 said:

Lol good luck with that 🙄

Until they work more aggressively to tackle the for hire issue, I don't see much changing. The congestion was back this morning with a vengeance.

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Another phony program to get John Lindsay Jr. mentioned in the national media.

He is running for president along with everyone from here to Hawaii who think that they are the best candidate of the Democratic Party. 

He will promote this like his phony "vision zero" throughout the country to show that he accomplishes things in this city.

Bus service will continue to get worse as this is one of those fly by night programs designed to disappear a couple of weeks after the mainstream media fawned over this press release program.

The tooth fairy has more credibility then he does in my book. 

 

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This guy is just an anus. I love how much he tries to care about Transit when it comes to [distracting] the media from the crumbling NYCHA buildings which are in asinine conditions. This man as I have said before is nothing but corrupt, inept, despicable, and a complete lowlife. It's so excellent that he'd use the (MTA) as a curtain right now since he and his friend who is head of NYCHA have a deadline at the end of this month to comply with the Feds, but in the words of Maya Angelou, "You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been." Increasing signal priority is not something that he would be known as a savior for, when the project itself has been so slow that no one even has a clue that TSP is a thing, separated bus lanes should have been something that he should have invested on since day one in office back in 2014. This man talks so much shit out of his mouth that sometimes you think the farts are coming out of his mouth, it's just horrendous. Look at "Fair Fares" for example, day 10 and nothing has been issued, even his own administration is clueless on how the program works. The only way you can verify things in this administration is when things like these have ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED, but even that is a disaster to even predict. The protected Bus Lanes may be the only thing to make it on, but anything else has to be taken by the "Wait and see" approach. Instead of using this issue to hide the disaster that he is currently postulating at NYCHA in the guise of looking like a friendly mayor who is trying his best and needs help to move onto bigger things. This administration is nothing but an utter joke, zero f*cks are given to us by him, he is nothing but a condescending fascist who wants to push through their fascist agenda, putting out unrealistic and taboo like ideals just to please himself and inconvenience others as he usually does with pleasure. This mayor is the only mayor who shows a great example of how astonishingly amazing you can be at setting the bar in such a low position that it makes you want to give him a gold star for "effort-less" work. What a joke.

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With the combined efforts, the city aims to improve average bus speeds by 25 percent, from 7.44 miles per hour to 9.03 miles per hour by the end of 2020.

Just for shits & giggles, doing some very rough math, riders'll be sitting in traffic about 6 seconds less per manhattan "street" block (or about 20 seconds per manhattan "avenue" block)......

There's small victories, and then there's this crap.....

Unimpeded, I can WALK an average Manhattan "street" block about 25 seconds (the things you do out of boredom, I know).... Your average in shape runner runs faster than 9mph.... A bicyclist will piss his pants laughing at a f***ing bus going 9mph :lol:

The only thing I'll give them credit for, is giving context with that percentage... Usually, they'll just throw that 25% out there & have people eat it up as this grand accomplishment.

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First this vision zero thing, now you want buses to go 25% faster? Contradictory much, Mr Mayor?

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I wonder if there's a correlation between the bus going to crap, congestion getting worse, and BdB's lowering the speed limit to 25.

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6 hours ago, Deucey said:

I wonder if there's a correlation between the bus going to crap, congestion getting worse, and BdB's lowering the speed limit to 25.

Anecdotally speaking, the bus was going down the shitter way before any of that (though it certainly didn't help).

=====================================================================================================================

Didn't this man say he would get 20 SBS in at the end of his term or some shit? Regardless of how good of a goal that is, it hasn't happened. Don't trust him as far as I can throw him.

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14 hours ago, Deucey said:

I wonder if there's a correlation between the bus going to crap, congestion getting worse, and BdB's lowering the speed limit to 25.

I'm very much inclined to believe that the lowering of the speed limit, the induction of congestion, and the intentional declination of QoS with public transit in this city are all intertwined...

8 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Anecdotally speaking, the bus was going down the shitter way before any of that (though it certainly didn't help).

Before the fact, it was a slow burn.... The antics thereafter expedited the process.

Ah dem seh dame más gas-o-leee-naaahhhh for 1000 Alex....

8 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Didn't this man say he would get 20 SBS in at the end of his term or some shit? Regardless of how good of a goal that is, it hasn't happened. Don't trust him as far as I can throw him.

I don't trust any of these jokers.... I'll take it a step further than the false promise of an injection of that many SBS routes into the system in a relatively short amt. of time.... The way I see it, FWIW, when you look back at it, what has SBS really/ultimately done for bus service? The fad has died out.... People are still not satisfied with bus service..... Farebeating sure as hell is rampant though....

18 hours ago, Future ENY OP said:

I’ll believe it when I see it. 

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19 hours ago, Q43LTD said:

First this vision zero thing, now you want buses to go 25% faster? Contradictory much, Mr Mayor?

Nice summary of his tenure.

Edited by B35 via Church

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I'm surprised that Cuomo isn't sending state troopers or TBTA officers no longer minding toll plazas (since the MTA went fully to open road tolling) into Manhattan and to enforce bus stop rules. Allowing ticketing of parked vehicles in bus stops or bus lanes by photo  would also help (using the cameras on the front of buses that have them).

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1 hour ago, aemoreira81 said:

I'm surprised that Cuomo isn't sending state troopers or TBTA officers no longer minding toll plazas (since the MTA went fully to open road tolling) into Manhattan and to enforce bus stop rules. Allowing ticketing of parked vehicles in bus stops or bus lanes by photo  would also help (using the cameras on the front of buses that have them).

He would need to piss Deblasio in order for state troopers to cruise into Manhattan. Ive seen state trooper activity in Brooklyn recently.

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10 hours ago, Future ENY OP said:

He would need to piss Deblasio in order for state troopers to cruise into Manhattan. Ive seen state trooper activity in Brooklyn recently.

Andrew Cuomo doesn't seem afraid of doing that.

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While I think bus speeds need to go up, one of the few things that DeBlasio has done that I have strongly supported is the lowering to 25 mph.

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I would lower it to 20 MPH in all honesty. Consider my radical. This is what is needed for safer streets.

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Screen-Shot-2016-05-27-at-1.18.57-PM.png

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Yeah, we can always do without the Lewis Hamilton's & the Sebastian Vettel's on the road, but at the same time, lowering the speed limit as it pertains to increasing bus speeds is a moot point when much of nobody (buses, or much of any other vehicles on the road) is going anywhere fast in this city anyway.... FAR too many irresponsible drivers out here shouldn't even be on the roads to begin with, but that's another discussion for some other time.....

If we're to talk about increasing the avg, bus speeds in this city, the focus should be more on getting cars off the road.... Buses were moving at a better rate in this city before the influx of the for hire vehicles (among other things) came about.....

I mean, whatever rung on a hierarchy anyone wants to place/discern either of the issues at (getting somewhere quicker > getting somewhere safer, or vice versa), the fact of the matter is, is that they are separate.....

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5 hours ago, Union Tpke said:

While I think bus speeds need to go up, one of the few things that DeBlasio has done that I have strongly supported is the lowering to 25 mph.

 

I would lower it to 20 MPH in all honesty. Consider my radical. This is what is needed for safer streets.

 

 

@P3F Why do you object to my argument?

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11 hours ago, B35 via Church said:

Yeah, we can always do without the Lewis Hamilton's & the Sebastian Vettel's on the road, but at the same time, lowering the speed limit as it pertains to increasing bus speeds is a moot point when much of nobody (buses, or much of any other vehicles on the road) is going anywhere fast in this city anyway.... FAR too many irresponsible drivers out here shouldn't even be on the roads to begin with, but that's another discussion for some other time.....

If we're to talk about increasing the avg, bus speeds in this city, the focus should be more on getting cars off the road.... Buses were moving at a better rate in this city before the influx of the for hire vehicles (among other things) came about.....

I mean, whatever rung on a hierarchy anyone wants to place/discern either of the issues at (getting somewhere quicker > getting somewhere safer, or vice versa), the fact of the matter is, is that they are separate.....

You spelled Pastor Maldonado wrong 🤣🤣🤣🤣

In all seriousness though, I don't see the problem as cars on the road as much as regulations not being enforced. In Manhattan, this could be mandated by mandating all taxi pickups and dropoffs on one-way avenues be on the left side of the street, or in off-street carports, south of East 96 Street and Cathedral Parkway. Also, the state needs to advance legislation to allow the bus lanes on 5th and Madison to be photo-enforced both by fixed cameras and cameras on buses that have them.

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8 hours ago, Union Tpke said:

@P3F Why do you object to my argument?

Regarding the ridiculous 20 mph limit suggestion, I am a bus rider and I am not interested in buses getting even slower than they already are. Believe it or not, people who take transit actually want to get to places within a reasonable amount of time.

As for the blanket 25 mph limit, its execution was flawed in that it was applied without much discretion. 25 mph is fine for regular residential side streets. For very thin roads such as the east-west streets in Carroll Gardens, even 20 mph is appropriate. 

However, major thoroughfares such as Ocean Parkway, Kings Highway (east of Ocean Av), Queens Boulevard, and 4th Avenue (Brooklyn) have no business with a 25 mph limit. The lethargic speed causes the roads to be more inefficient at doing their job, which is to allow large amounts of vehicles to cover non-short distances. It's gotten to the point where taking Ocean Parkway is significantly slower than taking Coney Island Avenue for an equivalent distance, and the latter is a narrower road that is frequently marred by double parking. Because of all the traffic, the side streets (which were not designed for high capacity) are seeing significant increases in vehicular traffic, making pedestrians ever so slightly less safe. In other terms of pedestrian safety, I support the lengthening of crosswalk timers, and installing curb extensions where they do not interfere with road capacity.

Edited by P3F
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17 minutes ago, P3F said:

However, major thoroughfares such as Ocean Parkway, Kings Highway (east of Ocean Av), Queens Boulevard, and 4th Avenue (Brooklyn) have no business with a 25 mph limit. The lethargic speed causes the roads to be more inefficient at doing their job, which is to allow large amounts of vehicles to cover non-short distances. It's gotten to the point where taking Ocean Parkway is significantly slower than taking Coney Island Avenue for an equivalent distance, and the latter is a narrower road that is frequently marred by double parking. Because of all the traffic, the side streets (which were not designed for high capacity) are seeing significant increases in vehicular traffic, making pedestrians ever so slightly less safe. In other terms of pedestrian safety, I support the lengthening of crosswalk timers, and installing curb extensions where they do not interfere with road capacity.

In almost all of those cases, stochastic congestion inherent in NYC reduces speed on those to around 25 regardless of what the limit is. Making the limit 25 really then just makes the lights work better. 

Regardless, seeing transit speeds and road priority from a solely road speed perspective is reductive as hell. The issue with slow buses (and, if I dare say so, with traffic safety) has far more to do with there being too many cars around; fix that, and then your speeds will be improved by a much larger factor than raising limits to 30-35 -- a measure which increases the risk of pedestrian fatality, much more than any shift of traffic to a lower-cap road ever could. 

I also hate to be *that* guy, but I'm unsure as to whether we should be prioritizing road cap without question here. Yes, we need a functional road network, but the fact of the matter is that there will almost always be more pedestrians using a given intersection than drivers...which again brings us back to the 'reducing # of cars is most important' side of things -- if you have less stress on your road network, you can afford to reduce capacity. 

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I want to know what magical bus people were taking before Vision Zero that was regularly hitting 30MPH for long enough distances to even make a dent in their travel time. The average bus trip IIRC isn't even that long in the first place.

What needs to be done yesterday is towing and fining all the double parkers, especially delivery vehicles (I see you, FedEx, UPS, and all the other people like those Poland Spring water couriers.)

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1 hour ago, bobtehpanda said:

 

I want to know what magical bus people were taking before Vision Zero that was regularly hitting 30MPH for long enough distances to even make a dent in their travel time.

 

Less that than when BdB lowered it to 25, he likely didn't have DOT adjust signal timing to match, leading to buses and cars hitting more reds.

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