Advocates and City Council members celebrated new bus lanes being rolled out by the city Thursday — but they said the corridors will do little good if they’re not better enforced
“Cars can’t be in the bus lanes,” Council member Gale Brewer said at a press conference near City Hall. “We need security cameras on the buses to take pictures of license plates if there’s some yo-yo driver who insists on parking in the bus lanes.”
Mayor Eric Adams has pledged to build 150 miles of new bus lanes and busways by the end of his current term in 2025. On Thursday afternoon, city officials announced they’ll place 20 additional miles of bus lanes throughout the city.
Cecilia Ellis, a campaign coordinator for New York Public Interest Research Group urged the city to hurry — bus lanes can only be painted during the warm weather months, she said.
“New bus lanes and busways are one of the quickest ways Adams can deliver better bus service for all New Yorkers,” Ellis said in front of a subway station outside the gates of City Hall.
The group painted in red over a long roll of brown paper where cars were drawn impinging on bus lanes — a visual representation of their complaint.
Low-income riders and older populations who do not have cars are primarily the ones relying on New York’s bus system, advocates say.
Delays mean parents are showing up late to pick up their children and people with limited mobility are having trouble reaching the curb because buses are blocked, said Jolyse Race, a senior organizer for the Riders Alliance. More lanes dedicated only to buses would mean less traffic and bus delays.
“Buses move working class citizens here that keep the economy going,” Race said.
The new lanes will be placed at Fordham Road, Gun Hill Road, University Avenue and Westchester Avenue in the Bronx; First Avenue, Avenues A and D in Manhattan; and 21st Street and Northern Boulevard in Queens.