Friday, November 5, 2021
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Better Buses: DOT Announces Dedicated Mid-island Bus Lanes Along Hylan Boulevard Are Now Complete
An average of 33,000 daily Staten Island bus commuters seeing 28-71% faster travel times; Red paint now marks a lane in each direction for most of Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island’s busiest bus-lane corridor
Staten Island – The Department of Transportation today announced that the bus priority improvements along Hylan Boulevard were complete, with the addition of red paint on the corridor over the last several weeks. As part of the Better Buses Restart plan in 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio had announced that the existing bus lanes along Hylan Boulevard, from Steuben Street to Lincoln Avenue, would be extended further south to give 33,000 more commuters faster travel times. Red paint increases the awareness, reliability, and effectiveness of the bus lanes.
Comparing bus speeds from October 2019 to October 2020 after the bus lane extension was implemented, bus speeds increased 28% in the northbound direction and 71% in the southbound direction during peak periods. After the installation of the S79 Select Bus Service (SBS) in 2012, bus speeds increased by 13%-19% and ridership increased by 10.8% on the S79 and by 6.6% on the combined S59/78/79 routes, while other Staten Island routes saw a 1.2% increase.
"33,000 of my fellow Staten Islanders are getting where they need to go faster than ever, connecting them to jobs and opportunities while giving them more time with their family and friends," said DOT Staten Island Borough Commissioner Roseann Caruana. "I have already heard from countless grateful bus riders who tell me how much faster their trips are now that they aren't stuck in traffic. We are proud to announce the completion of this critically important work along Hylan Boulevard."
"The completion of bus lanes along Hylan Boulevard will benefit local and express bus customers to get to their destination at a much faster pace than before," said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. "A well enforced, dedicated bus lane is exactly the kind of smart public transit tool that will increase bus speeds, promote the use of public transportation, and ensure riders get to their destination on time. Many of the MTA's customers rely on these routes every single day to get to where they need to go and I am excited to partner with the DOT to improve the riding experience and quality of life for Staten Island residents."
"The bus system is a critical lifeline for more than a million New Yorkers," said MTA Bus Company President Acting President and New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. "More dedicated bus lanes is a simple yet transformative way to alleviate traffic, increase bus speeds, and ensure riders can get to where they need to go efficiently. Bus riders will be able to get around Staten Island much quicker as more projects like this are finished across the city in the months ahead."
Hylan Boulevard is Staten Island's busiest bus corridor, with eleven different routes including MTA Express buses to Manhattan, local bus routes, and the S79 Select Bus Service route to Brooklyn. Under the changes announced last year, northbound buses along Hylan Boulevard now use a new dedicated bus lane for an added 3.3-mile length of Hylan Boulevard, from Nelson Avenue north to Lincoln Avenue (the previous dedicated lanes began at Lincoln Avenue). After consultation with the community and its elected officials, DOT amended its plans in 2020 for the southbound lane to cover a smaller portion of Hylan Boulevard, spanning 1.4 miles from Lincoln Avenue south to Guyon Avenue.
The bus lanes are in effect from 6 to 9 a.m. northbound, and from 3 to 7 p.m. southbound. While driving in the bus lane is prohibited, drivers are reminded that vehicles are allowed in the bus lane to make the next available right turn. Drivers who violate bus lane regulations are subject to automated enforcement – stepped fines range for $50 for a first violation to $250 for the fifth violation in a one-year period.
"A little red paint goes a very long way in the lives of New Yorkers," said Riders Alliance Policy & Communications Director Danny Pearlstein. "Now that Hylan Boulevard buses travel nearly twice as fast as before, bus lanes are delivering major time savings for tens of thousands of riders. With some of the longest commutes in the nation made significantly shorter, Staten Islanders are getting transformative attention from transportation officials and City Hall."
"Rolling out the red carpet for bus riders on Hylan Boulevard is great news for Staten Island's biggest transit street," said TransitCenter Communications Director Ben Fried. "By sending a clear visual signal, the red pavement will help motorists steer clear of transit-only lanes and speed up trips for tens of thousands of bus riders each day."
"As the least transit-connected borough in New York City, Staten Island desperately needs greater investment in its bus network," said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "The new bus lanes on Hylan Boulevard will improve the commutes of 33,000 daily bus riders, helping to roll back car dependence, and reducing the city's carbon footprint. We commend the MTA and DOT for their commitment to speed up bus service, and we look forward to seeing more bus lanes implemented along busy corridors throughout the five boroughs."