TSTC Issues Lincoln Tunnel Emancipation Proclamation

jersey_bound_bus.jpgWhen it comes to reducing traffic in New York City, improving transit performance over river crossings is a no-brainer. Faster buses lure people out of their cars and take traffic off the streets, which is why the Tri-State Transportation Campaign is advocating for a New Jersey-bound express bus lane through the Lincoln Tunnel.

In a post on Mobilizing the Region yesterday, TSTC says it's time to build on the success of the much traveled Manhattan-bound express bus lane:

The Lincoln Tunnel’s Manhattan-bound XBL is the busiest bus lane in the country, carrying 1,700 buses with over 62,000 passengers on weekday mornings. In fact, it is so popular that it is now congested at times, though it still speeds bus times by 15-20 minutes according to the Port Authority. This has prompted the Authority to study the creation of a bus/high occupancy toll (HOT) lane in the tunnel to alleviate gridlock on the bus priority route.

However, there has been less discussion on how to improve evening rush hour traffic into NJ, which is actually worse. During the average evening peak period (4-7 pm), nearly 15,000 cars travel westbound into NJ; by comparison, around 13,900 cars enter NYC during the morning rush (7-10am). Usage of a Jersey-bound XBL (which would either replace an NJ-bound general purpose lane or be a contraflow lane carved out of NY-bound traffic) would almost certainly rival that of the morning XBL, providing real benefits for the largest share of trans-Hudson commuters and creating further incentives to commute by mass transit.

A Jersey-bound XBL would also help to alleviate some of the problems that the new blocking-the-box crackdown is meant to address. Some of the worst box-blocking hotspots are in Hell's Kitchen, where cars line up for block after block on their way out of Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel.

For more ideas about improving bus service on bridges and tunnels, see Cap'n Transit's series on the topic.

Photo of NJTransit bus leaving Manhattan via Lincoln Tunnel: Jumpy/Wikimedia Commons/MTR