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Posts from the "Lincoln Tunnel" Category

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One Mindblowing Fact Missing From BuzzFeed’s Port Authority Listicle


Earlier this week, BuzzFeed gleaned some fun facts about the Hudson River bridges and tunnels from a Port Authority data dump on the number of eastbound automobiles, buses, and trucks. If you took the numbers at face value, you might be left with the impression that cars are the most important thing moving around New York. But when you measure people instead of vehicles, the numbers look quite different.

BuzzFeed’s John Templon started off the nine-point listicle with a breakdown of vehicle traffic on the Port’s crossings:

1. It’s almost all cars. Automobile traffic consistently makes up around 91% of the total vehicles going over and through the bridges and tunnels in a month. Trucks make up between 6 and 7 percent, and buses account for the final 2 to 3 percent.

Buses are mentioned once again, and readers are left with the impression that they aren’t all that important, even at the crossing with the most bus traffic:

6. Buses love the Lincoln Tunnel. Buses accounted for 11.4% of all vehicles taking the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan in 2013. (Port Authority is right around the corner.) That proportion is 10 times greater than any other eastbound crossing. Next is the Holland Tunnel, at just 1.4%.

Barely more than one in ten vehicles coming from New Jersey in the Lincoln Tunnel is a bus. But what happens when you measure people, not vehicles?

Read more…

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DOT Hell’s Kitchen Study Produces Slate of Pedestrian Safety Upgrades

Under a proposal from NYC DOT, a crosswalk will be extended across a Lincoln Tunnel entrance at Ninth and 36th. The angled NYPD parking on 36th will be converted into green space. Image: NYC DOT.

The Department of Transportation presented the findings [PDF] of its five-year study of transportation in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood at a packed public meeting last night. The massive transportation analysis included many critical projects that have already been announced, such as the 34th Street Select Bus Service route and extensions of the protected bike lanes along Eighth and Ninth Avenue, as well as a full slate of new improvements for the neighborhood, from signal retimings meant to improve pedestrian safety to new plaza space and a continuous sidewalk by the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

The neighborhood study emerged from a pedestrian safety campaign conducted under the banner of the Ninth Avenue Renaissance, which started in 2006. DOT received federal funding for a study, solicited hundreds of public comments, walked through the neighborhood five times, built a powerful traffic model for the complicated Midtown area and analyzed 86 separate intersections.

Certain improvements were implemented as DOT studied the neighborhood. Leading pedestrian intervals, which give pedestrians time to establish their presence in a crosswalk before traffic gets the green light, were installed at six dangerous intersections, while pedestrian signal times were extended to provide for slower walkers.

Some of the biggest changes within the study area, which runs from 29th Street to 55th Street between Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River, are projects that have already been announced. Select Bus Service along 34th Street will speed bus trips, add new loading space and shorten pedestrian crossing distances with new bus bulbs. The extension of Eighth and Ninth Avenues, by far the two most dangerous corridors for cyclists and pedestrians, according to DOT, is expected to significantly improve safety for all users.

Other improvements, though, will be brand new. Pedestrians will again be able to walk down the west side of Ninth Avenue past the Lincoln Tunnel under DOT’s recommendation. Currently, the sidewalk is interrupted at 36th Street by an unsignalized tunnel entrance. “We would provide a crosswalk and a stop light for the traffic,” said Andrew Lenton, the project manager for the transportation study.

Another sidewalk will be restored around the corner on 36th Street. “Right now, it’s occupied by NYPD vehicles parking on the sidewalk such that you can’t even walk,” said Lenton. Under DOT’s proposal, the sidewalk and parking lane would be turned into green space.

At Ninth Avenue, the two sides of 41st Street don’t quite line up, forcing drivers to maneuver to the right and slowing traffic. By installing what they called a “mini-plaza,” DOT can smooth traffic flow while shortening crossing distances for pedestrians and creating new public space. Read more…

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TSTC to Port Authority: Bus Service Across Hudson Needs to Improve, Fast

tstc_bus_graph.jpgAverage weekday eastbound trips, 2008. Source: TSTC/Port Authority of NY & NJ.
The Lincoln Tunnel Express Bus Lane is a congestion-busting powerhouse, moving 62,000 riders into Manhattan during the morning rush every day and enticing huge numbers of commuters to leave their cars at home. It is now "the most efficient roadway in the country," according to an analysis by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. One shudders to think of the traffic nightmare we'd have without it.

The Lincoln Tunnel XBL was established all the way back in 1971. In the last 38 years, bus ridership crossing the Hudson has boomed, especially this decade, but capacity for buses hasn't kept pace. Unless provisions are made to accommodate more bus travel -- and soon -- riders will face slower trips, the ridership gains of recent years will flatten out, and traffic troubles will deepen as more commuters choose to drive.

The good news is that it doesn't take all that much time or money to deliver some significant enhancements for bus riders. In a new report, "Express Route to Better Bus Service" [PDF], Tri-State lays out a strategy to expand on the success of the Lincoln Tunnel XBL and make bus travel more attractive for all trips across the Hudson. It's a wake-up call for the Port Authority to get moving on some long-overdue improvements.

"A population nearly the size of Cincinnati travels by bus across the Hudson River every weekday, but plans to enhance service for these riders are stalled," said Tri-State's Veronica Vanterpool, co-author of the report. "With bus travel anticipated to grow, we need to stop treating bus riders like second-class citizens and provide them with faster commutes and better access to information."

Tri-State recommends creating a westbound Lincoln Tunnel XBL during the evening rush and moving full-speed ahead with plans for a new high occupancy/toll lane for the morning commute (which has been stuck in the study phase for way too long). The report also touches on strategies to speed bus service across other Hudson River crossings, organize on-street loading for the city's growing volume of private bus operators, and make it easier for riders to plan their trips.

Follow the jump for the full slate of Tri-State's major recommendations.

Read more...
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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