DOT Continues to Increase Street Safety, but Falls Short of Other Goals
By Yehudit Garmaise
Last year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) installed only 4.4 miles of the 20 miles of protected bus lanes a 2019 city law required of the agency to improve street safety, according to an update the DOT released on Tuesday.
Protected bus lanes are “physically separated from cars or protected with automated enforcement cameras,” said the DOT about the 2019 Streets Plan law that, among many other street safety projects, requires the DOT to install 150 protected bus lanes citywide in the next five years.
On Wednesday, Streetsblog came down hard on Mayor Eric Adam’s administration for “failing to make life better for the city’s bus riders,” but when BoroPark24 reached out to the DOT for comment, we found that the agency is making slow and steady progress to make the streets safer and the city’s bus service faster and more reliable.
“In 2022, the DOT completed 7.7 miles of new and improved bus lanes and 4.2 miles of newly camera-enforced bus lanes: improving the lives of 400,000 daily bus riders,” Vin Barone, the DOT’s interim press secretary told BoroPark24.
According to information the DOT provided, however, none of the new and enhanced bus lanes, however, were created in Brooklyn: but in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens.
Building only a quarter of the bus lanes required by city laws under the 2019 Streets Plan Law was not the only mandate that would affect the city’s bus riders in which the DOT fell short.
Although the City Council required the DOT to improve 500 bus stops, only 14 bus stops citywide received upgrades, such as shelters, benches, and digital bus times, according to the the DOT’s progress report.
Improvements to fewer than 3% of the bus stops the DOT was required to upgrade revealed the lowest success rate of all of the agency’s goals.
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, who signed onto the 2019 Streets Plan and who now heads the $1.4-billion agency, told City Council on Tuesday, “Last year, traffic deaths in NYC dropped last year for the first time since 2018, and pedestrian deaths were at near-record lows.”
While Rodriguez focused on the DOT’s accomplishments, MTA chief Janno Lieber wants to push ahead to reach the benchmarks the 2019 City Council put forth in the Streets Plan Law.
“We have to start hitting numbers,” insisted Lieber at a recent MTA board meeting.