|D.O.T Commissioner Gutman: Asshole|
A “Better Buses” busway pilot will continue on schedule in
Downtown Jamaica despite backlash from a previous initiative on Merrick
Boulevard that was implemented last year and led to a recent
modification of bus enforcement times as a result of a petition and
complaints from community leaders and elected officials.
“I saw [the announcement],” said Candace Prince-Modeste, the Southeast Queens activist who created a Change.org
petition for a modified enforcement period of the bus lane on Merrick
Boulevard. “It feels like they’ve moved onto the next project without
fully bringing the Merrick one to a resolution. And I don’t believe that
enough residents are aware of these proposed changes to the Downtown
The city’s Department of Transportation,
however, said it launched a community outreach process with a series of
open houses and nearly 20 events with community advisory board to gather
feedback on its proposal throughout 2020 and 2021, according to the
Sept. 15 announcement.
“Demand Rush Hour Only Bus Lanes on Merrick” petition, has 875
signatures out of its target goal of 1,000 as of Sept. 16 and brought
enough attention to the Springfield Gardens and surrounding Southeast
area of the bus lane that elected officials have chosen not to support
similar changes in Downtown Jamaica on Jamaica and Archer avenues and
the DOT modified its 24/7 bus lane enforcement, which led to excessive
ticketing and lack of foot traffic to small businesses in the area.
Instead, there will be a 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. enforcement period.
vocal opposition from the Southeast Queens community against the
Merrick Boulevard bus lane, the DOT implemented it anyway,” said
Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) to the Chronicle via email. “The
agency has once again ignored the voices of our community, leading to
numerous issues and worsening traffic conditions along this busy
Adams also feels that the DOT should have
addressed problems with poor street lighting, ill-fitted two-way streets
in dire need of one-way conversion and washed out or missing street
signs throughout City Council District 28 and surrounding districts
I must oppose the new busway pilots on Jamaica Avenue and Archer
Avenue,” said Adams. “Until the DOT can truly address our community’s
concerns, we stand against this ill-advised pilot program.”
DOT, however, said that is committed to installing new and improved bus
lanes by fall to improve bus speeds for thousands of riders in
New Yorkers moving is essential to getting our friends and neighbors
back to work as New York City’s recovery continues, and these new
busways will speed the commutes of 250,000 daily riders through downtown
Jamaica,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman in a prepared statement.
Drivers who find themselves behind or ahead of the Q4, Q5, Q84, N4 or
the N4X buses on Merrick Boulevard between Hillside Avenue and
Springfield Boulevard have a 60-day warning period for bus lane
violations starting Sept. 21.
The specified bus lanes are a part
of Mayor de Blasio’s Better Buses initiative to improve bus speeds by
expanding automated camera enforcement, according to the city Department
Initially, the DOT intended on having 24/7
enforcement, but after pushback from the Community Advisory Board and
members who live along the Southeast Queens area, the hours were
adjusted to 6 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday to Friday, according to the agency.
With the activation of bus lane cameras, the mayor’s 30th Better Buses
corridor will have signage indicating that the bus lanes are
camera-enforced to inform drivers about the program. Since violations
will be issued against the vehicle, not the driver, points are not added
to motorists’ licenses.
a single violation will cost drivers $50 and fines will increase for
bus lane violations incurred in a single year to upwards of $250 after a
fifth offense, according to the agency. The DOT will work with the NYPD
to enforce bus lanes citywide and will add additional camera-enforced
routes over time.
”Community residents and I remain up in arms
about DOT’s woefully inadequate efforts and blatant disregard for course
correction,” said state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans). “DOT’s
wrongheaded policy has made it nigh impossible for a full flow of
traffic along Merrick Boulevard particularly between Baisley Boulevard
and Liberty Avenue where there are illegally long-term parked vehicles
stored by auto body and repair shops.”
said that he understands that the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and
motorists are paramount, but he finds the measure to be unnecessarily
punitive and that it fails to reimagine public transit granularly.
drivers and anyone trying to travel along the corridor are frustrated
at the now lengthy time that it takes to get from one point to the next
because of this unwanted restriction,” said Comrie. “Despite the
adjustments made after the recently conducted review of the 24/7 Merrick
Boulevard bus lane, DOT has still not made a reasonable move to peak
hour traffic enforcement as suggested by many local advocates. It is
truly unfair to residential drivers to have to suffer through
overreaching enforcement when the bad actors are not being regulated