Nov. 14, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The DOT has announced that construction has begun on new bus lanes along Northern Boulevard running from Woodside to Corona.
The new bus lanes – which will stretch both ways from Broadway to 114th Street — aim to speed up commuting times for riders and improve the reliability of bus services on the corridor, the DOT said Monday.
When completed, the 4.6-mile corridor will serve 15,000-weekday riders along five different routes – Q66, QM2, QM3, QM20, and QM32.
The new layout will also offer better connections to other bus services as well as to subway stations that are served by the M, R, and 7 subway lines, the DOT said.
Work on the bus lane got underway Monday with the project scheduled for completion in the spring of 2023. The city has allocated $79 million for the project, the DOT said.
The agency also announced Monday that a pilot busway along Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue in Queens has become permanent.
The DOT said that having a bus lane along Northern Boulevard will improve service times which will in turn boost ridership numbers.
“When buses have dedicated space on the street separated from general traffic they move faster, and when buses move faster, riders benefit and more people choose buses,” said Frank Annicaro, the MTA’s senior vice president for buses.
“The MTA is extremely pleased to be working…. to attract more riders to this environmentally friendly, congestion-busting form of transportation.”
The new project will compliment a suite of pedestrian safety improvements and traffic calming measures previously installed along the corridor by the DOT. For instance, pedestrian islands, lead pedestrian intervals, and painted curb extensions have already been put down along the route.
The changes along the Northern Boulevard route forms part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative of reducing traffic injuries and fatalities while enhancing public transit.
The new Northern Boulevard bus lane, the DOT said, came about after the agency engaged in a four-year outreach process with various stakeholders and community groups.
The process included a number of public workshops as well as the DOT hosting an online feedback portal and surveys. State Senator Ramos also solicited feedback from businesses along the route, the DOT said.
The DOT then presented its plans to Community Board 3 over the summer.
Councilmember Julie Won welcomed the beginning of the project and said that many residents depend on bus services for transportation.
“The Northern Boulevard bus-priority project will ensure that our neighbors in Woodside have access to faster, safer, and more reliable bus service,” Won said Monday.
“Thousands of New Yorkers take these buses every day and building 4.6 miles of new bus lanes along Northern Boulevard will provide more alternatives to driving and help us to create a greener city.”
Meanwhile, the DOT also confirmed that two pilot busways in Downtown Jamaica – along Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue – have been made permanent. The busways serve 26 bus routes.
The DOT said it made the decision after average bus speeds along the routes improved following the implementation of the busway. For instance, bus speeds along Jamaica Avenue increased by up to 34 percent, the DOT said.
The busway along Archer Avenue will remain in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the DOT said.
Jamaica Avenue’s busway will operate between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, according to the agency.
The busways will be enforced by the NYPD using bus lane cameras. A single-vehicle violation will cost $50 with fines increasing to as much as $250 for additional offenses. Violations are issued against vehicles, not drivers.