Dedicated bus lanes along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards will not be the magic panacea their supporters in City Hall claim — they will be a disaster.
Yet they’re almost certainly coming. The Department of Transportation is all for them. The chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee is too. So are several Council members from Queens, though it’s notable that one, Eric Ulrich of Ozone Park, decided against signing onto an exclusive Chronicle op-ed that the group wrote this week. Ulrich’s district will be among those most impacted by this folly.
And it’s notable that state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. of Howard Beach is strongly opposed to the idea.
Also opposing it is Allan Rosen, a retired director of bus planning for New York City Transit. Rosen also penned an exlusive op-ed for the Chronicle this week, and in some editions the two pieces run side by side (they’ll also both be posted at qchron.com).
The five lawmakers who want to bar cars, trucks and other vehicles from one lane in each direction on the boulevards absurdly claim that doing so will reduce congestion. They do this without evidence, of course. Use your common sense and decide if cutting down on the number of lanes on a congested thoroughfare, and making the remaining ones more narrow, can possibly help traffic move more quickly. It can’t.
The real goal, the only one that logically makes sense in this plan, must be to make it so intolerable to drive that people will give up and ride the buses instead. That’s unlikely for the vast majority. And it’s impossible for the ambulettes, delivery trucks, livery cars and taxis that also make up a significant share of the traffic.
Rather than engage in this bit of social engineering as part of the war on cars, city agencies and officials should make other improvements to bus service. And they should get back to basics and make driving on Woodhaven and Cross Bay less difficult. They could start by repainting the lane markers so you know which one you’re in.