Stringer: Bus Lane Blocking Rampant, NYPD Nowhere to Be Found

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is calling for a crackdown on bus lane-blocking drivers after a survey conducted by his office found that offending motorists have little chance of receiving a ticket.

34thst_truck.jpgA truck driver enjoys the convenience of the 34th Street SBS lane. Photo: Brad Aaron
Stringer staffers observed more than 350 drivers parked in bus lanes at six Midtown intersections during the course of around 40 hours. At the worst intersection, 42nd Street and Madison Avenue, 40 buses were blocked every hour during evening rush; at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, an average of 19 buses were blocked per hour. Some drivers remained in the lanes for 15 minutes or more. The biggest offenders were taxis, limos and livery cabs, followed closely by private cars. Delivery trucks were third, though they accounted for most of the longest blockages.

"Tens of thousands of bus passengers are delayed by cars and trucks parked in what should be reserved lanes," said Stringer. "Yet over more than forty hours of observation by my staff, not one driver parked in a bus lane was issued a summons, no matter how long he sat there. What's the point of having these regulations if they are never enforced?"

Stringer recommended several measures to keep bus lanes clear, including passage of a bill sponsored by Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh that would allow enforcement cameras not only for BRT routes, but all bus lanes. Stringer is also calling on NYPD and DOT to take action through driver education campaigns, improved enforcement and expansion of plans for physically separated lanes beyond Select Bus Service lines.

Responding to the report, NYPD basically confirmed its findings. The department told NY1 that officers have issued "more than 1,700" summonses to bus lane violators so far this year. A back-of-envelope calculation pegs that at about eight summonses per day -- roughly the average number of violations noted by Stringer staffers every hour.

Curiously, the study makes no mention of police vehicles as bus lane blockers.