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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dara and the NYC DOT meeting

Tonight, I attended my first public hearing, or as I was told, a "meeting." I arrived there a little after 6pm but the meeting didn't start until 6:30pm. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted this meeting to propose a new selected bus service along 34th street. This service will create an easier and faster way to ride the bus on one of Midtown's busiest streets. There was a PowerPoint presentation by Will Carry, a MTA project manager. He stated that the DOT  wants to address the current M34 bus service because it's slow and only goes 4.5mph. This selected bus service will increase the time it would take to get from one avenue to another, reduce crowding, add 18,000 sq. ft. of sidewalk space for pedestrians, expand loading zones, maintain 2-way traffic, and utilize the standard bus/pedestrian design for emergency vehicles. Mr. Carry said these improvements will build "future growth," bringing more residents to 34th Street.

This project has been in effect since 2008 and had over 60 community meetings. Mr. Carry said it is important to "keep the community involved," and "each improvement should be fully evaluated."

So what does the future hold for this selected bus service?
  • The M34 and M16 will run express along 34th Street.
  • Metro card vending machines will be placed outside every bus stop so commuters can pay before boarding the bus
  • create an off-set bus lane: lanes will be away from curb so it won't block parking
  • have a "bus bulb" which is an extended sidewalk for pedestrians to wait for buses only. This will leave free space for sidewalks and won't block traffic.
  • Proposed bus bulbs may be placed along East of 3rd Ave, West of 9th Ave, 3rd to 9th Ave, and 10th to 9th Ave., near the Lincoln Tunnel underpass.
The DOT predicts they will have the results of a "traffic analysis" (TA) by this Fall, following a public review of those results, and a project update by early 2012.

After the presentation, we were allowed to view maps of the project, and talk to MTA representatives. Eric Beaton, another MTA representative, lead a discussion about the 9th to 12th Avenue section of the selected bus service. Residents were concerned about the bus bulbs affecting parking, specific loading zones, bicycle lanes, and Dyer Ave. which is close to the Lincoln Tunnel. They are also concerned that having a bus bulb near the Lincoln Tunnel will affect traffic and pedestrian safety. The concerns became so intense that Mr. Carry stepped in to answer questions.

After the meeting, I had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Carry (right) about this project and how it'll affect current bike lanes. He stated that the current bike lanes near 34th Street will remain, but bikers can use smaller "commercial" lanes, because "they're easier to move about." When I asked him about a similar project in Brooklyn, he said "We are working on something on Nostrand and Rogers Ave." and "we're also focusing on Utica Ave." Mr. Carry continued to say that it's possible Brooklyn will have a select bus service, but it's still "being talked about." For more information about the 34th Street project or upcoming meetings, go to

1 comment:

  1. That's my Professor :) on her trail of something different. Keep up the good work Dara. :)