Transit Sam


By Sam Schwartz

Drivers are allowed in the Broadway bus lane between Spring and Broome Sts. if they are making a right since this sign specifically allows it, top. This cylinder near a subway entrance is not for subway equipment, it is an exhaust stack used by the owner of One Liberty Plaza.

Dear Transit Sam,

Are you allowed to enter the Broadway bus lane after Prince St. for making a right onto Broome St. since Spring St. flows the opposite way, or must you wait to enter the bus lane till after Spring St? I’ve heard conflicting answers.

Veronica, Noho

Dear Veronica,

After inquiring with numerous sources at N.Y.P.D. and N.Y.C. D.O.T., I got a yes, no and maybe to your question. I always believed you can enter a bus lane as long as you make the first available right turn based on my reading of Traffic Rule Section 4-12 which states, “When signs are erected giving notice of bus lane restrictions, no person shall drive a vehicle other than a bus within a designated bus lane during the hours specified, except that a person may use such bus lane in order to make the first available right hand turn where permitted.” The underline is mine.  But, N.Y.C. D.O.T.’s ex-Traffic Bureau Chief Mike Primeggia says read the overhead signs carefully.  The overhead bus lane sign between Prince and Spring St. does not include the phrase “and right turns,” while the block between Spring and Broome Sts. does include the phrase.  So, he says you can only enter on the block between Spring and Broome.  If there is a conflict between a law and a sign, the sign usually takes precedence so listen to Mike.

Transit Sam

Dear Transit Sam,

At the top of the staircase of the subway entrance at the Fulton-Broadway and Fulton-Church St. station, I noticed two large black cylinders, probably 12 feet in diameter, that people navigate around in order to move up and down the stairs. What purpose do these cylinders serve? Are they part of the subway?

Dan, Financial District

Dear Dan,

Your guess is cold, but the answer is both hot and cold! Surprisingly enough, these cylinders have nothing to do with the subway or M.T.A. infrastructure. These cylinders are operated by the management at One Liberty Plaza. Their spokeswoman told me that the one on Broadway is the Thomson-Reuters cooling tower exhaust stack and the one on Church St. is the building’s house generator exhaust stack, otherwise known as H-VAC or heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Transit Sam

Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy commissioner of city transportation, is president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, a traffic engineering consulting firm to private and public entities including the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site. Email your questions to TransitSam@DowntownExpress.com