City wants to extend Fulton Street bus lane

City wants to extend Fulton Street bus lane
Department of Transportation

Fulton Street bus riders may finally get to experience life in the fast lane!

The city wants to add dedicated bus lanes for the B25 and B26 between Lafayette Street in Fort Green and Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill, because the people-movers keep getting stuck in rush-hour traffic, a rep told Community Board 2’s transportation committee meeting on Thursday night.

“There’s a fair amount of traffic on Fulton Street and parking activity that’s problematic to the bus,” said Department of Transportation spokesman Kyle Gebhart.

There are already coach lanes on the stretch between Boerum Place Downtown and Lafayette Street, but the buses then join regular traffic and often get bogged down at peak hours when competing with drivers making turns, parking, and — worst of all — double parking, Gephart said.

“The biggest issue is a lot of double parking that happens,” he said. “This is a safety issue and also slows down the bus quite a bit.”

Around 20,000 commuters rely on the lines every day — often choosing them over the C train because they come more frequently, he said.

The idea is in its early stages so there are few specifics, and committee members stressed that it is really important the agency find out how many parking spaces the lanes will usurp and how it will affect the many businesses along bustling commercial corridor.

“This is a strong, heavy commercial district so we’d be interested in seeing how this is going to work,” said committee member John Dew.

Along with the bus lane, the city also wants to make the street safer for foot-based commuters by adding “neckdowns” — painted on sidewalk extensions — to shorten pedestrian crossings at around 10 locations between South Portland Avenue and Grand Avenue.

Drivers fatally hit eight people on the street between 2011 and 2015, and injured another 67, according to city data.

But several locals said they didn’t need the new additions because traffic on residential blocks is already calm enough.

“There’s no benefit, you’re just wasting money,” said Fort Greener Lucy Koteen.

Others claimed the neckdowns will just get in the way of speeding cars, while some drivers will try to use them as parking spaces.

“What happens when it’s a little bit of a wider street is that cars are going a bit faster and they make that turn a little fast,” said Hilda Cohen, a Fort Greene resident and committee member. “You have to make sure it doesn’t become a protected parking spot.”

The city only presented the plan to the committee to get its feedback, and will survey more residents this winter before developing a complete plan and presenting it to the board for a vote in the spring, according to Gephart.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Necking it: A map of proposed sites for so-called “neckdowns” — painted on sidewalk extensions — and also an inset image of what that actually looks like.
Department of Transportation