Press Releases

Press Release #07-73

Contact: Molly Gordy (212) 442-7033

DOT Paints Bus Lanes to Increase Visibility

New Red Bus Lanes in Midtown and the Bronx will help deter unauthorized use

New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the beginning of a trial period for new colored bus lanes in the City. Existing bus lanes on 57th Street from 2nd to 5th Avenue in Manhattan and on Fordham Road from University Avenue/ Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the Grand Concourse in the Bronx are being painted a “brick” color red. The painting on 57th Street should be complete by September 1st. Other cities around the world have seen an increased level of compliance with bus lane rules when they are painted to increase their visibility.

“As we encourage New Yorkers to use mass transit we are continuing to look for new ways to make that service quicker and more reliable,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Painted bus lanes have proven effective in other cities around the world and we hope it is effective in New York as well.”

“The act of physically segregating buses from other vehicles is a critical step in helping us improve bus service for our 2.5 million daily bus customers,” said Howard H. Roberts, Jr., President of MTA New York City Transit. “NYC DOT's coloring of the bus lanes should not only serve as a strong reminder to motorists that these are bus only lanes but also aid the City in effectively enforcing these laws.”

With approval from the Federal Highway Administration New York City will be the first locality in the United States to test painted bus lanes. Solid-color bus lanes have been used extensively in other countries such as England (London), Scotland (Edinburgh), France (Rouen), Korea (Seoul), and Australia (Melbourne). A variety of colors have been used, including green and yellow, but red is the most common. The color being used here is called “terracotta”, and is very similar to the color of bricks.

As part of this test, two different lane treatments are being evaluated. One option involves adding color to the entire bus lane, while the other option involves applying the color only down the center of the lane. A five-foot wide strip down the center may be more cost effective and more durable, since the strip will experience less wear from bus tires than a full lane striping would. However, this treatment may not be as effective as the full lane striping at reducing unauthorized use.

Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 calls for a reduction in vehicle traffic and increased bus service Citywide. Part of that plan includes developing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). BRT is a faster bus service that could include colored bus lanes, off-board fare collection, bus stops further apart and traffic signal prioritization. This trial period is being conducted in coordination with the ongoing development of the first BRT corridors.

This test does not change the current bus lane rules. Drivers should follow the rules designated on traffic signs at the curb or overhead. Vehicles other than buses may not drive in any bus lanes during the hours that they are in operation, except to make the next legal right turn. On both 57th Street and Fordham Road, bus lanes operate Monday-Friday from 7:00 am - 10:00 am and 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm.

The painted lanes will be evaluated for their effectiveness in reducing unauthorized use, as well as for the durability of the materials and the cost of installation and maintenance. The results of the test will help determine whether painted bus lanes will be used throughout New York City.