As part of the deal to reinstate student metrocards, Albany is giving a thumbs up to camera enforcement of 50 miles of bus lanes along Select Bus Service / Bus Rapid Transit routes, for which Nostrand Avenue is slated for conversion.
Dedicated bus lanes are a key component of the MTA’s SBS service, which aims to make commuting by bus speedier and efficientto increase ridership. But even advocates note that without proper enforcement to keep them clear of idling cars, bus lanes will amount to little time saved. In the MTA’s Select Bus Service FAQ, the agency says cameras monitoring the bus lanes “would automate the enforcement process by issuing violation notices to vehicles that illegally drive or park in the bus lane.” Camera enforcement requires approval from State legislators.
According to Streetsblog, “If the MTA would eat the cost of student fares, Albany would allow it to keep its bus lanes free of traffic.” With the MTA’s part of the bargain fulfilled, the State has worked the following language into a budget bill:
WITHIN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, SUCH BUS LANE PHOTO DEVICES SHALL ONLY BE OPERATED ON DESIGNATED BUS LANES THAT ARE SELECT BUS SERVICE LANES WITHIN THE BUS RAPID TRANSIT DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM AND ONLY DURING WEEKDAYS FROM 7:00 A.M. TO 7:00 P.M.
Down in our neck of the woods, this may affect the stretch of Nostrand Avenue from Emmons Avenue to Avenue X, where dedicated bus lanes are planned for a Select Bus Service route replacing the B44, according to the MTA’s website. From Avenue X to Flatbush Avenue, buses will travel in mixed traffic, before returning to dedicated lanes for the remainder of the trip.
The MTA/DOT proposal to replace the B44 has already received a thumbs down from Community Board 15, which says the elimination of parking is not worth the six minutes saved. They also found the agency to be unresponsive to their questions, despite six years of study.