34th Street Select Bus Service

M34/M34A Select Bus Service began on November 13, 2011

Overview | Updates | Design | Community Outreach and Reports | Timeline

M34/M34A Select Bus Service began

Overview

The 34th Street (M34/M34A) Select Bus Service project was undertaken to address three major issues facing the two-mile corridor: slow bus service, crowded sidewalks, and a projected population and employment growth of 750,000 workers and 20,000 residents resulting from developments like the Hudson Yards and Moynihan Station.

Prior to the 34th Street Select Bus Service, the corridor, which extends from the 34th Street Ferry Terminal on the East River to Twelfth Avenue, was served by two lines: the M16 and the M34. Combined the two lines carried over 17,000 passengers daily but travelled at an average speed of just 4.5 miles per hour, only slightly faster than walking. With over 100 transit buses per hour travelling the corridor, commuter buses carrying over 16,000 passengers daily, and hundreds of tour buses navigating 34th Street throughout the course of the day, the corridor experienced consistent traffic with especially heavy traffic during peak hours. In addition, the corridor serves the Javits Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, Penn Station, and other key destinations.

The 34th Street Select Bus Service project provided the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and New York City Transit (NYCT) the opportunity to engage with residents and businesses along the two-mile corridor. Together, they were able to establish ways to improve traffic conditions, transit speeds, and pedestrian safety, and to expand curb access and loading along 34th Street.

Updates

The 34th Street Select Bus Service project is being built in three parts: the West Section, Middle Section, and East Section

West Section:This section includes two bus bulbs between Eleventh and Tenth Avenues. This section will also be repaved and remarked with a new bus lane. The bus bulbs have been incorporated into the larger Hudson Yards park and boulevard capital project, which is being managed by the Hudson Yards Development Corporation.

Construction started in the summer of 2012 and, as of early 2014, has been mostly completed. The bus bulbs will open concurrently with the NYC Subway 7 Line Extension.

Middle Section: This section includes eight bus bulbs between Tenth and Lexington Avenues as well as new bus lanes and loading zones. Construction in this section is being managed by MTA New York City Transit and will be completed in 2014.

East Section: Construction for the east section will begin in spring 2014 and is managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction. Construction is expected to last 30 months and will begin with the installation of a new sewer and a distribution water main between First and Third Avenues. This work is related to the City Water Tunnel No. 3 project.

Additionally, this section will include three bus bulbs between Lexington Avenue and the FDR Service Road and will be repaved and remarked with a new bus lanes and loading zones. DDC will provide more information and schedule updates to the community as it becomes available.

Design

The design of the 34th Street Select Bus Service is based on DOT's analysis of the traffic, transit, and curbside access needs on the corridor. It was developed after extensive community outreach, including discussions with local residents, businesses, and institutions, and a rigorous traffic analysis.

34th Street Design Renderings

34th Street Design Renderings

34th Street Design Renderings

Traffic Analysis

DOT conducted a comprehensive traffic analysis for the project that analyzed 34th Street as well as surrounding streets. The results of the analysis were presented to the public in September and October of 2011. Overall, DOT found that traffic congestion will remain roughly the same with the addition of the project, while increasing bus speed and reliability.

Alternatives Analysis

The proposed set of improvements was identified by the 34th Street Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis study.

Community Outreach and Reports

Community involvement was and still is a central part of the planning for the project. DOT and NYCT regularly consulted a Community Advisory Committee, holding public forums, and directly reaching out to key stakeholders along the corridor.

Community Advisory Committee

DOT and NYCT convened a Community Advisory Committee to provide guidance for the 34th Street Select Bus Service project. The committee met throughout the project planning phase and was comprised of a broad range of stakeholders, including elected officials, Community Boards, community groups, and major area institutions.

June 15, 2010

September 21, 2010

January 18, 2011

March 14, 2011

September 27, 2011

March 28, 2012

Community Board Meetings

DOT and NYCT presented to Manhattan Community Boards 4, 5, and 6 on multiple occasions throughout the project's planning stages.

Community Board 4
April 16 and Dec 17, 2009
Presentation to the Transportation Committee

April 18, 2012

Community Board 5
April 21, 2008

March 31, 2010

June 21, 2010
Presentation to the Transportation Committee and review of next steps

September 15, 2010 Community Board 6

May 5, 2008
Presentation to full board

May 3, 2010

January 3, 2011
Presentation to full board

November 7, 2011

May 7, 2012
Presentation to full board

Public Open Houses

Public open houses take place at key points to involve the larger public. The open house format allows the public to have one-on-one conversations with project principals and review and comment on preliminary design plans for 34th Street. DOT and NYCT held five open houses throughout the course of the project.

Community Forums on Curbside Access

To learn about the block-by-block curb use needs of 34th Street, DOT and NYCT hosted a series of forums in October and November 2010. These forums provided the building owners and managers, residents, and businesses of 34th Street a chance to learn about the 34th Street project and provide information on their individual curb use needs. DOT and NYCT also encouraged stakeholders of 34th Street who could not attend a forum to take an online survey to provide information on curb use activity. DOT also reached out directly to building owners and building managers to learn about specific curb access needs.

Community Feedback Summary

In addition to these meetings, DOT and NYCT met with a number of project stakeholders, including local elected officials, building owners, and community groups, to solicit further feedback. Read the report summarizing the comments, questions, and suggestions that we received from community residents, business and building owners, local organizations, elected officials, and others.

Environmental Review

The 34th Street Select Bus Service project, as a recipient of federal funding, is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and is required to undergo a federal environmental review. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is overseeing the federal environmental review for the project, initially directed DOT to prepare an Environmental Assessment. An Environmental Assessment evaluates whether or not a project will have significant environmental impacts and typically examines a wide range of environmental, social, and economic topics. Under NEPA rules, an agency that is proposing a project is required to release an Environmental Assessment for public review and comment.

After further review during fall 2011, the FTA determined that the 34th Street Select Bus Service project qualified for a Categorical Exclusion (CE) instead of an Environmental Assessment. A CE is issued when a project includes elements that the agency routinely constructs as part of its normal operations. The FTA made this change based on the revisions to the scope and design of the project that resulted from community input. The project includes standard Select Bus Service elements such as sidewalk extensions and offset bus lanes, and the analysis showed that the project would not have any significant traffic impacts. The FTA approved the CE on December 29, 2011, concluding the federal environmental review for the project. The FTA does not issue an environmental review document as part of the CE process.

DOT has a long standing pledge to share with the public the detailed analysis of the project, including the transportation and air quality analysis. Therefore, DOT prepared a Project Analysis Report on the 34th Street project. This report covers a wide range of topics, including transportation, social, and other environmental impacts. In preparing this document, DOT followed the methodologies of the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Technical Manual, the same guidelines that were followed in the preparation of the Categorical Exclusion. However, this document is not an official environmental impact study under NEPA or CEQR.

Timeline

2008
Meetings with Community Boards and organization of multiple open house to discuss 34th Street bus issues

Implementation of extended bus lanes between Ninth Avenue and First Avenue, and upgrading of existing bus lanes between Eleventh Avenue and Ninth Avenue

2009
Beginning of community discussion and evaluation of alternatives for further improvements along 34th Street

Pilot of real time bus arrival information

2010
Continued community participation efforts by DOT and NYCT, including reaching out to residents, business owners, building managers, and institutions to convene community forums

Development of a comprehensive traffic model to analyze potential traffic impacts

Environmental review and traffic analysis initiated

2011
Development of a preliminary corridor design based on community feedback

Comprehensive traffic analysis completed and Project Analysis Report released

Convening of Community Advisory Committee and community forums to present the preliminary design and traffic analysis and solicit feedback

November 13, 2011: Service began, including fare pre-payment, on the M34/M34A Select Bus Service

2012
Community Advisory Committee convened to discuss proposed curb regulations on 34th Street and the project construction schedule

Completion of final design for the capital elements of the project

2013
Bus bulb construction began at:
  • Eleventh Avenue (two bulbs)
  • Tenth Avenue
  • Ninth Avenue
  • Eighth Avenue (two bulbs)
  • Seventh Avenue
  • Sixth Avenue

2014
Completion of 2013 bulbs

Beginning and completion of bulbs at:
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Park Avenue

Beginning of DDC water/sewer/bus bulb project from Third Ave to First Ave

Repaving of road from Twelfth Avenue to Lexington Avenue

Implementation of offset bus lanes from Eleventh Avenue to Lexington Avenue

Addition of parking/loading space from Eleventh Avenue to Lexington Avenue

2015 and 2016
Completion of East Section (Lexington Avenue to FDR Service Road) managed by DDC