Campaign for New York’s Future ▪ Environmental Defense Fund ▪ Pratt Center for Community Development ▪ New York League of Conservation Voters ▪ NYPIRG/Straphangers Campaign ▪ Transportation Alternatives ▪ Tri-State Transportation Campaign
For immediate release: June 23, 2010
Gene Russianoff, NYPIRG/Straphangers Campaign, 917-575-9434
Lindsey Lusher Shute, Transportation Alternatives, 646-873-6039
Veronica Vanterpool, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, 917-957-9748
BUSES WILL MOVE FASTER AND MORE RELIABLY; RIDERS WILL GET TO THEIR DESTINATIONS SOONER
Transportation and environmental advocates applauded the State Legislature for authorizing camera technology to enforce existing bus lane rules along major routes in all five boroughs, an important step to make service faster and more reliable for bus riders in these heavily-traveled corridors.
The cameras will aid the enforcement of existing bus lane rules, but will not penalize those motorists who use the lane to make an immediate right turn or stop briefly to discharge a passenger. Parking, standing and driving in the bus lane impede bus travel and are key factors in slow bus speeds. New York City’s buses move 2.7 million riders per day but are the slowest in the nation, travelling an average of 7.5 mph. Some buses, especially during rush hour, travel at 3 mph—the pace of an average person walking.
Cameras are to be installed along designated Select Bus Service routes including First and Second Avenues in Manhattan, Fordham Road in the Bronx, the Nostrand-Rogers Avenue route in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island and a route yet to be identified in Queens.
“We look forward to seeing great improvements in bus service as a result of today's decision by the legislature, right away for riders on Select Bus Service routes and perhaps eventually for bus riders throughout the city,” said Gene Russianoff, senior attorney for NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign.
“We applaud Senate Transportation Chair Martin Malave Dilan and Assembly member Jonathan Bing for championing in their respective houses this initiative to improve New York City’s mass transit as well as Governor Paterson for including the authorizing language in his original budget proposal,” said Michael O’Loughlin of the Campaign for New York’s Future.
“Keeping cars in car lanes and buses in bus lanes will help everyone get where they’re going on time,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Speedier and more reliable service is welcome news in an otherwise terrible year for transit.”
"State legislative approval for bus cameras allows bus lanes to be self-enforcing and enables the overburdened NYPD to focus on more urgent issues. Camera monitoring for bus lanes is an easy, cost-efficient method of improving service for thousands of daily bus riders," said Kate Slevin, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
“This is a victory for mass transit riders as well as for New York’s environment,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “New Yorkers have some of the longest commute times in the nation, and by clearing the way for buses, this legislation will make environmentally-friendly mass transit an even better option. We applaud Senator Dilan, Assembly Member Bing and the leadership in both houses of the legislature for today’s success.”
“This is a major step forward and hopefully is the beginning of a series of improvements that will eventually be extended citywide to improve service for NYC’s 2.7 million daily bus riders which include low-income residents, communities of color, the disabled and the elderly,” said Elena Conte of the Pratt Center for Community Development.
"This is an essential step towards unclogging bus service across New York City," said Mary Barber of the Environmental Defense Fund. "It allows us to envision a city where fast and comfortable bus service is an attractive alternative to being stuck in traffic."
Adding cameras as a tool to enforce existing bus lane rules, based on similar and successful policies in London, has been a high-priority for Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Jay Walder and for Mayor Bloomberg, who included a proposal for using the cameras among the 127 initiatives of PlaNYC, New York City’s long term plan for a greener and more livable city.
Enforcement under the law will be similar to that for red-light cameras, with tickets being issued to the vehicle’s registered owner but no points assigned for the violation. Lanes will be clearly marked with paint and signage, and the relevant agencies will conduct press outreach on the program. Tickets will not exceed $115.