Electeds Pushing For Bus-only Lane For Congested 125th Street corridor

July 3, 2015

bus3n-1-webThe heart of Harlem is too clogged for buses.

Two pols representing the west side want to speed up travel times for riders with a bus-only lane throughout the entire 125th Street corridor.

Manhattan Democrats Councilman Mark Levine and State Sen. Adriano Espaillat pushed the bus lane in a letter Thursday to the Department of Transportation commissioner for Manhattan, Margaret Forgione.

“Buses on this stretch creep along at little more than three miles per hour on average — barely as fast as walking speed,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is time to give Central and West Harlem the benefit of faster service.”

The 125th Street thoroughfare carries five bus lines, including the M60 Select Bus Service route that was designed to cut down travel times. But community opposition caused the DOT in 2014 to pull back the 125th Street bus lane for Select Bus Service to just east of Lenox Avenue.

“There’s a discrepancy,” said James Archer, a member of West Harlem’s Community Board 9 who backs the lane. “You’re going very slowly, then all of a sudden you’re cruising.”

Bus service on 125th Street can be painfully slow when traffic builds up on the major commercial strip, Archer said.

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“It’d be better off walking to Lenox and hopping on the bus there,” he said.

Where there is a bus-only lane in East Harlem, the M60 speeds improved by a third, according to the DOT.

The transportation agency is planning to extend the bus lane to four blocks west to Morningside Avenue by August, but Levine and Espaillat write that riders along the length of 125th Street should get fast service.

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