The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has converted three miles of main streets in the Soundview neighborhood of the South Bronx into bus-priority corridors that will speed up the trips of up to 45,000 daily bus riders.
"We're giving the Bronx a win-win: faster buses and safer streets," said NYCDOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. "These new bus lanes and street safety improvements are the result of close consultation with the community, from bus-rider surveys to community-board meetings. Working with the MTA and across the entire de Blasio Administration, we're delivering results as we aim to improve bus service citywide."
Story Avenue, Bronx River Avenue and White Plains Road in the Soundview neighborhood have had new bus lanes, transit-signal priority technology, among other improvements installed. NYCDOT says prior to the conversion, service on the Soundview streets carried average peak-period speeds of about five mph.
"The completion of these major bus lanes in the Bronx will undoubtedly improve bus speeds for thousands of commuters across the borough," said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. "The riders who use these routes will benefit from dedicated bus lanes that will help people get to their destination at a much quicker pace, with improved traffic signaling and increased safety measures along the way. Residents of the Bronx can depend on MTA New York City Transit buses to get them where they need to go more seamlessly than ever before, and the MTA is excited to continue partnering with [NYC]DOT to improve transportation and quality of life for Bronx residents."
The bus-priority corridor conversion in Soundview is part of the planned Bronx Bus Network Redesign, which is an effort between NYCDOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to match bus service with current and future needs within each borough of the city. The streets hosting the conversion are where MTA’s Bx5, Bx36 and Bx39 routes operate – three routes the redesign effort identified as especially congested, with slow and unreliable service.
NYCDOT reports the bus lanes and busways installed this year are speeding up the commutes of over half a million daily riders. The Soundview bus lanes are part of the seven miles of new bus lanes NYCDOT has added to the Bronx since 2020.
"Thousands of Soundview residents will now be able to take advantage of the MTA's vast bus network at much faster speeds than before with the introduction of these new bus lanes," said MTA Bus Company President Acting President and New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. "The MTA is committed to continuing the work to improve our transit system by increasing bus speeds with dedicated lanes, promoting public transportation ridership, and bringing New Yorkers back to the system. Our riders rely on safety and efficiency and these bus lanes help work towards that mission."
In addition to the bus lanes, the project also implemented Vision Zero pedestrian safety changes. These improvements include painted curb extensions to calm traffic and improve safety for pedestrians at five intersections; transit signal priority; and updated daytime parking regulations to accommodate bus lanes.
NYCDOT says enforcement of the bus lanes will involve its automated enforcement cameras, as well as the NYPD. Violators will receive warnings for the first 60 days. After the initial warning period, bus lane cameras will issue fines starting at $50 and progressively increasing to $250 for subsequent violations within a one-year period.
"New Yorkers depend on safe, reliable public transportation travel to home, work, school and other destinations and busways are vital in this mission," said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster. "Buses have always been an important component of Vision Zero. The NYPD will continue to keep our buses, as well as overall traffic, moving safely while protecting pedestrians and cyclist who use our city streets."