New lanes set to roll for 1st, 2nd Aves. in fall


By Lilly O’Donnell

Congested traffic might just be a part of city life, something that New Yorkers will never escape. But the Department of Transportation is still fighting the good fight, attempting to make commutes faster and safer and cut emissions from vehicles. Two new projects for this year are the Select Bus Service and protected bike lanes along First and Second Aves. between Houston and 125th Sts.

The Select Buses differ from Express Buses in that they run along the same lines as regular buses, as an improvement rather than a supplement. Express Buses usually serve as faster ride between boroughs whereas Select Buses will replace regular buses along lines where heavy traffic has reduced their speed, at many times, to that of a snail’s pace. The S.B.S. is expected to be up and running in Manhattan by October, with construction, including resurfacing and painting of the streets, ongoing throughout the summer.

The new system will mean some drastic changes for Manhattan bus riders, including — as out of place as they might seem in New York City — tickets that rely on an honor system. Everything about the Select Buses is based on the need for speed, so rather than have riders take a few extra seconds of the buses’ time to pull out a MetroCard, they will be able to buy tickets (the same price as regular buses) at kiosks in bus shelters, which they will only have to present to drivers upon request, rather than while boarding.

The buses will also have their own dedicated lanes, freeing them from even the worst rush hour traffic. Other drivers will be ticketed if they use the lanes for anything other than right turns or quick drop-offs and pickups.

Merchants are often opposed to dedicated bike lanes, fearing they will interfere with truck deliveries and customer parking. But Monty Dean, a Department of Transportation spokesperson, told The Villager that the concerns of local businesses have been taken into account throughout the process of planning these developments.

“We have worked with local communities to see what their needs are,” Dean assured.

In fact, the bus lanes will not be in effect from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a recent article in The New York Times. This will accommodate the busiest hours of truck deliveries, while also making sure that the buses are rolling rapidly during peak rush hours.