Press Releases

Press Release #21-017
Friday, April 23, 2021
Contact: Scott Gastel/Brian Zumhagen (212) 839-4850

181st Street Busway to Launch Monday, Bringing Faster Buses to 66,000 Daily Riders in Washington Heights

Project to bring transit and truck priority between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave in the eastbound direction, and Amsterdam Ave to Wadsworth Ave in the westbound direction

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) is reminding New Yorkers that the 181st Street Busway will launch on Monday, April 26th, 2021. The 0.5-mile busway, which builds on the success of similar projects on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn, 14th Street in Manhattan, and Flushing-Main Street in Queens, will bring faster bus speeds to 66,000 daily riders in Washington Heights, in the latest project in Mayor de Blasio’s Better Buses initiative announced last June.

181st Street is one of the busiest and most congested corridors in Manhattan, resulting in average bus speeds of less than 4mph. These slow bus speeds have led to unreliable service for bus riders making connections to the A and 1 trains; any of the six MTA bus routes traveling on the north-south avenues; and the Port Authority’s George Washington Bridge bus terminal. This project will increase bus speed and reliability, calm traffic, and improve truck travel and loading and unloading, while maintaining local access to support businesses and services.

The busway in Washington Heights will bring transit and truck priority to 181st Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in the eastbound direction, and Amsterdam Avenue to Wadsworth Avenue in the westbound direction. Through traffic will be limited to buses, trucks, and emergency vehicles. Cars, taxis, and vans must make the next available right turn off the busway. Local access and parking are allowed, with improved truck loading and parking meter regulations.

NYPD will provide traffic enforcement and inform motorists about the new regulations with the launch of the busway. In the coming weeks, DOT will also install bus lane cameras, which for the first 60 days following their installation will issue warning letters to registered vehicle owners who violate the new regulations, before beginning to mail out violations with fines.

DOT formed a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to guide the project before, during, and after implementation. DOT also met with Community Board 12, the Washington Heights BID, local elected officials, and small businesses.

The Mayor’s record-setting Better Buses Restart plan has increased bus speeds and reliability along major corridors in all five boroughs. Since June 2020, DOT implemented 16.9 miles of new bus lanes and busways, the largest one-year effort in New York City history. Completed projects Jay Street in Brooklyn (0.8 miles), Malcolm X Blvd in Brooklyn (0.1 miles), 14th Street extension in Manhattan (0.8 miles), Hylan Boulevard (4.7 miles) on Staten Island, E.L. Grant Highway (1.2 miles), University Ave (0.1 miles) and 149th Street (2.7 miles) in the Bronx and Merrick Blvd (5.9 miles) and Main Street (0.6 miles) in Queens.