Well, probably not.  But they’re ripping seats out of subway cars to deal with overcrowding, as I recommended for King County Metro:

In the meantime, transit agencies are looking at creative ways to meet the growing demand. In New York City, officials are planning to experiment with seatless subway cars next spring to squeeze in more riders…

And elsewhere,

In Washington [D.C.], where the rail system had its busiest month ever in July, Metro General Manager John Catoe is pushing for bus-only lanes as a way to encourage people to ride buses and relieve pressure on the crowded subway. The idea requires only “paint and a few signs,” but taking away lanes from private vehicles could be politically tricky, Catoe said.

This kind of thing is of course outside the power of Metro to accomplish, but if our county leaders are really facing an emergency, bus lanes are a virtually free, nearly instantaneous way to increase bus productivity.  Furthermore, everyone agrees that buses are part of the transit solution going forward, so this should be uncontroversial for both rail and BRT advocates, no?  

Seriously, though, the main point is that other jurisdictions are thinking creatively to deal with increasing demand, but here we’re still selling off capital assets to fund operations and doing other unsustainable things.


4 Replies to “New York City Taking My Advice”

  1. I would advocate one or two bus-only lanes immediately as an experiment entered into by all the relevant agencies (this addresses, I hope, your point that Metro can’t do this on its own, as it needs city and other agency approval).

    Not a huge change, not a big deal, akin to the Third Ave. changes downtown. Just temporary folks, seeing how it goes.

    If it is anything like Third Ave., it will be very helpful, and drivers and riders alike will be somewhat happily surprised.

    Aurora Ave. (already slated for Rapid Ride, I know) is a good choice, but the on-lane heading north prior to the bridge followed by the clusterscrew that is the Bridge way exit make this highly unlikely. (I live near there, and the redesign in good in many ways, but not allowing a signal-free off-ramp exit to Bridge way for eastbound cars makes it a nightmare that sees the right lane back up all the way across the bridge on many evenings).

    Southbound Aurora from Winona to Battery is one option that might be feasible. Other options include Roosevelt Ave./11th/12th Ave NE (one ways), 25th Ave NE (already a mess, but might make some of those folks seriously consider the bus if it wasn’t in the same bog of traffic), and perhaps some streets in south Seattle which I am not as familiar with (23rd, maybe Rainier or MLK in places, but these are uninformed offerings).

    In any event, it is worth a try, and if it is termed “experimental” it will get less grief as it is more akin to a road maintenance project than it is a big scary permanent change.

    Plus, I think folks are in the mood to see what works, and what doesn’t. No harm in trying, and if it sucks, well, scrap it and try something else.

  2. Spot on, Martin. Not without controversy but extremely an important and critical to the region. If Metro is at all serious about climate change, moving more people and dealing with its revenue problems, they need to be demanding this now. Does Sims read this blog?

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