New bus lanes coming to Woodhaven Boulevard

By Gabriel Rom

New bus lanes are being added to both sides of Woodhaven Boulevard , between Dry Harbor Road and Metropolitan Avenue, a stretch that covers approximately 1.3 miles. Implementation of the lanes—which consists primarily of redrawing the street lines—began in mid-July, according to the MTA.

The bus lanes will be in effect Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parking spaces and regulations will not be affected by the new lanes.

The new bus lanes, which overlap with Select Bus Service lanes, are part of a separate project, first alluded to in the city Department of Transportation 2009 “Congested Corridors” study. The study identified both short-term and long-term improvements to help reduce congestion and vehicular emissions, and to improve mobility in the Woodhaven area. A 2014 follow-up study found Woodhaven Boulevard to be one of the most dangerous corridors in the city for drivers and pedestrians.

The bus lanes, for the time being, will not be monitored by cameras, though that may change if Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs a bill passed by the state Senate to continue New York City’s bus lane camera enforcement program.

The new lanes are a precursor to a much larger redesign of Woodhaven Boulevard as part of the Select Bus Service program. SBS, which has met opposition from area civic organizations, promises to add pedestrian safety improvements, limited stop service, off-board fare collection, and more bus lanes. Local transportation advocates worry that the bus lanes, SBS or otherwise, will both take up valuable parking spaces and depress neighborhood businesses during the construction process.

According to the city Department of Transportation, construction for the SBS service is expected to end in 2018.

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.