N.Y. MTA draft plan dramatically redraws Queens bus network

Queens Bus

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released a draft plan for the Queens Bus Network Redesign, a key milestone in a customer-focused process to reimagine the century-old Queens bus system to better serve customers, shorten commute times, speed up buses, increase intermodal connections, and provide more frequency and choices to travel within the borough and to Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx.

The MTA will continue its extensive public outreach as it presents the draft plan to Queens communities and seeks feedback for a bus network that was truly redrawn with a “blank-slate” approach.

“Improving bus service is one of the pillars of our Fast Forward plan to transform every aspect of New York’s transit service, and the single most important initiative to do that in the bus element of the plan is to redesign every borough’s bus network so that it works for customers,” said MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford.

The Queens Bus Network Redesign’s draft plan sought to address customer concerns that were expressed during public outreach of the redesign’s Existing Conditions report, which sought to accurately depict the status, operations, and flaws of the current Queens bus network using customer feedback, ridership, and demographics data, as well as service performance and operations data. The redesign’s goals included:

  • Improving service reliability.
  • Improving bus speeds.
  • Expanding bus priority such as bus lanes and the use of traffic signal priority technology by working with the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT).
  • Improving traffic enforcement through the use of MTA’s automated bus lane enforcement initiative and close collaboration with NYC DOT and NYPD.
  • Improving connectivity at population centers and destinations, at intermodal transfer locations, and at emerging residential and commercial developments.
  • Balancing bus stop spacing from an average of 850 feet apart to 1,400 feet by consolidating or removing closely spaced or under-utilized bus stops. On average, a bus takes 20 seconds to more than one minute to pull into a bus stop and then reenter traffic. NYC Transit bus stops are the closest-spaced in the country, some of which are as close as two blocks apart. When reviewing candidates for stops, NYC Transit considers factors such as geography and proximity to schools, colleges, hospitals, community centers, libraries, or senior centers.
  • Improving connections between areas with high densities of residents with mobility impairments and existing and future accessible subway stations.
  • Working with the NYC DOT to improve bus stop accessibility and customer amenities such as shelters, bus bulbs, and real-time digital service information signs.

Under the Fast Forward plan to improve bus service, NYC Transit is redesigning the bus networks in every borough of New York City, starting with the Staten Island Express Bus Redesign that was implemented in August 2018 and has resulted in tangible improvements in bus speeds and reliability, and increases in frequency and trips. The MTA recently released the proposed final plan for the Bronx Bus Network Redesign and recently launched the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign.

Before proposing the draft redesign plan for Queens, the MTA conducted a thorough study of the existing bus network; surveyed customers in person and online; provided nearly 11,000 informational pamphlets; and hosted nine open houses, 12 street outreach events, 11 meetings with civics groups, and seven community boards to gather feedback on customers’ commuting patterns and itinerary suggestions. The MTA also took into consideration the results of nearly 2,000 online customer surveys specific to the Queens redesign. The study identified areas to target for change, such as neighborhood route improvements, individual route improvements to provide more direct service, balanced stop spacing, and improved crosstown connections.

(Source METRO)

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