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Is Staten Island's "Bus Lane" a HOV Hoax?

The NY State DOT is expected to announce plans to add a bus lane to a portion of the Staten Island Expressway at a public meeting on the SIE Major Investment Study to be held Wednesday night. The lane addition proposal, part of a package of "fast track" improvements to the gridlocked corridor, comes with no guarantee that it will not be opened up in the future to cars as well. Efforts by the Tri-State Campaign to add such a guarantee were rejected by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, which has yet to approve the project. Meanwhile, the fourth lane is to be built using design specifications suited for auto use -- which differ from those needed for a lane to be used only by professional bus drivers -- making the project look suspiciously like an opening bid to add high occupancy vehicle lanes for the length of the expressway.

The proposal should receive closer scrutiny within the MIS forum before advancing any further. A growing number of Staten Island express bus riders are calling for removal of cars from the existing Gowanus Expressway HOV lane, where congestion is worsening because cars carrying as few as two occupants can gain entry. Furthermore, the new SIE bus lane will cost $75 million and is being planned outside of the ongoing long range plan the major investment study is supposed to develop. The extent to which a bus-only lane will help travel times has yet to be determined.

Mobilizing the Region Number 179, 6 July 1998, published by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign

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Last updated: 4 April 1999