MTA looks to ease congestion on 2nd Ave

November 18, 2009 4:50:58 PM PST
The MTA says it's planning no fare hikes or service cuts for next year. Nothing planned, but nothing guaranteed either.

Meanwhile, the MTA and the city want to put in special bus lanes to speed service on the East Side, where the 2nd Avenue subway construction is already slowing traffic.

The idea would create a bus-only lane on 1st and 2nd Avenues, running from 125th all the way down to Houston.

"I think that would work, that would work. It would get you downtown quicker and without any hassles, no traffic. I love it," said bus rider Kim Caughman.

The idea is a collaboration between the MTA board and the mayor's Department of Transportation.

It would call for a fleet of super long stretch buses with three doors instead of two, wireless technology for drivers to turn red lights green, and there would be Metrocard readers like in the subway, but curbside to speed along everyone waiting to board.

But not everybody's happy.

One big question is how do you squeeze in a bus only lane in the midst of all this 2nd Avenue subway construction? The hope is some of this construction will move underground by fall of next year, but if not, that's just too bad.

So despite so much jammed into a tiny space at 95th, plans are moving forward and that's a potential nightmare to anybody driving in this neighborhood.

The answer from the mayor lately and the MTA is a car usually carries one or two, but a bus? 75 or more. Bottom line? It's New York. Take mass transit.

"For people who are less fortunate, who ride the buses and the subway system as opposed to riding in the comfort of your vehicle, that's the price you pay," MTA board member Norman Seabrook said.

The mayor's already pushed traffic out on Broadway with new pedestrian malls.

On the East Side, those bus only lanes come next September, making life tougher on drivers perhaps, but a lot nicer and perhaps faster for everybody else.

The full budget and a summary are available online at