After nearly two years of delays and community debates, the Department of Transportation announced that Select Bus Service along 125th Street will finally launch on May 25.
The truncated bus lanes were supposed to be put in use this month, but according to the DOT, work was delayed because recent cold weather made it impossible to apply the paint and other markings needed to establish dedicated bus lanes.
"The very harsh winter had an impact on DOT scheduling, as it did on many city agencies, and we proceeded with the project as soon as resources and materials allowed," a spokesperson for the DOT said.
Under the current plan, bus-only lanes will be installed along 125th Street between Lenox Avenue and Second Avenue—a shortened version of the original plan presented in October 2012 would have extended the dedicated lanes as far as Amsterdam Avenue. The M60 route, which runs from Morningside Heights to LaGuardia Airport, will have some stops cut and feature off-board ticketing to increase speeds, while the M100, M101, and Bx15 routes will continue to run locally.
Community opposition over stop placement, parking reductions, and left-turn restrictions caused the DOT to cancel the original plan last summer, and the department introduced the current version in October last year.
While the new plan, like the original, aims to increase service speeds for buses on 125th Street—according to the DOT, the M60 currently runs at speeds as slow as 2.7 miles per hour—transit advocates are still pushing to extend the bus lanes.
Louis Bailey, transit organizer for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said the truncated plan fails to recognize that the issue of slow service speeds is corridor-wide.
"We're happy they are launching it because it's a step in the right direction, but we still want that dedicated lane for the full SBS," he said.
Bailey noted that along Amsterdam Avenue and 125th Street, west of Lenox Avenue, the M60 will still have to share the road with three other bus lines.
"How is that going to speed up the buses?" he said.
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