Mayor Bill de Blasio joined city agencies on Monday in praising the launch of New York City’s newest Select Bus Service (SBS) route along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards, as the Q52 and Q53 buses became the latest routes to be included in the project.
The Woodhaven/Cross Bay SBS route is the 15th of its kind in the city, and at 14.7 miles in length, is the longest corridor to offer customers SBS.
This SBS route also brings transformational Vision Zero safety improvements to one of the city’s widest and highest-crash streets.
“Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard are critical roads in Queens — and from the Rockaways to Elmhurst, residents deserve this first-class service,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We are committed to expanding Select Bus Service even further, as we know it not only brings increased reliability and reduced travel time for bus riders, the dramatic street improvements of SBS will also make our streets safer for pedestrians and motorists. Here in Queens, along a street that has been a Vision Zero Priority Corridor with far too many tragic crashes, we expect these changes to make a big difference.”
The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) partnered with the MTA to bring the more than 40,000 daily bus riders along the new SBS route from the communities of Elmhurst, Rego Park, Middle Village, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Rockaway Park and Arverne faster and more reliable bus service.
Across New York City, SBS has delivered between 10 to 30 percent increases in bus speeds and resulted in a 10 percent increase in ridership along these lines, and experts believe this route will see similar numbers.
“I am happy to announce the arrival of Woodhaven/Cross Bay SBS, which we know will bring faster, more convenient and more reliable bus service to so many Queens communities, most of them without subways,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “The new service follows a three-year process of community engagement, and we made many adjustments to our plans along the way. From planners and engineers to roadway crews and traffic signal installers, so many different DOT divisions deserve praise for their hard work here, the end result of which will not only be better bus service but significant safety benefits on one of New York City’s widest and most crash-prone roadways.”
With more than 3,000 traffic-related injuries and 24 fatalities on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards between 2011 and 2015, DOT and the MTA began outreach for the SBS route in 2014, creating the design concept to deal with community issues including: unreliable and slow bus service; long pedestrian crossings across as many as 10 lanes of traffic; varying road widths and configurations along the corridor; congestion; and the need for transit improvements for customers.
The Woodhaven/Cross Bay corridor contains eight Vision Zero Priority intersections — including Woodhaven Boulevard and Union Turnpike — and in all, more than 30 intersections are being upgraded for better pedestrian safety and traffic flow.
“This new SBS route will connect communities that previously had to rely a slow bus that was often caught in traffic. Now, the Q52/53 SBS will speed up commutes for tens of thousands of daily riders,” said Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “We’re glad that, after a comprehensive, multi-year community process, Mayor de Blasio and DOT have designed an SBS route that will speed up buses for riders, make roads safer for pedestrians, and improve commutes for everyone who uses Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards.”
Automated camera enforcement will be in effect to make sure motorists are adhering to the “Bus Lane Only” routes. Bus lanes will be in effect curbside in residential areas from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and curbside along Cross Bay Boulevard from 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Bus lanes offset from parking lane or in the main road will be in effect 24 hours, seven days a week, and curbside parking will be preserved.
New signage along each bus route will indicate the hours when bus lanes are operable, and during which they are camera-enforced.
Motorists found to be driving in the new red bus lanes along the Q52/Q53 route will be issued mailed warnings starting Sunday, Nov. 19. The warning period lasts for 60 days, after which violations will be issued.
Once in full effect in January 2018, bus lane violations will result in a Notice of Liability, which includes a photo of the violation and a fine between $115 and $150, mailed directly to the vehicle registrant’s address. Since violations are issued against the vehicle, not the driver, points are not deducted from motorists’ licenses.