City to start fining scofflaw drivers on Jay Street busway next week

Jay Street busway
The busway pilot on Jay Street shortly after its launch on Aug. 31.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

It’s time to fine!

City transit gurus will start fining scofflaw drivers on the Jay Street busway starting March 8, according to officials.

The Department of Transportation installed cameras along the 0.4-mile stretch of the busy Downtown Brooklyn thoroughfare in late December to catch car and truck drivers illegally passing through or parking on the busway, and DOT will start issuing violations starting next week, the agency announced Tuesday.

During the almost 10-week grace period since DOT first set up the cameras, the agency issued 109 warnings, but drivers will no longer get away with a slap on the wrist for hogging the red-painted lanes beginning Monday, when the city will start doling out fines starting at $50. 

After the first offense, fines increase in $50 increments for each following violation, up to $200 for the fourth and every subsequent fine during a 12-month period.

The city opened Brooklyn’s newest busway on Aug. 31, closing off the roadway from Livingston to Tillary streets to through-traffic between 7 am and 7 pm on weekdays, while local access is still allowed via Willoughby Street and the MetroTech Roadway underpass coming from the east, and a reconfigured Johnson Street from the west.

The one-year street redesign pilot aims to speed up travel times for buses, drop-offs, and cyclists on the road that has been a bottleneck for years.

The corridor in America’s Downtown saw traffic reductions of up to 45 percent during peak morning and evening rush hours since the busway’s launch, according to the agency.

Buses along the route serving 46,000 daily straphangers on seven lines have seen speed increases of up to 81 percent compared to 2019, DOT stats show. 

City workers slapped fresh coats of the busway’s signature red paint onto the road along much of Jay Street and added a fresh green bike lanes, particularly at the pinch point between pedalers and buses in front of MetroTech.

The Jay Street busway was one of five Mayor Bill de Blasio announced for the city in the summer following the success of the 14th Street busway on the distant isle of Manhattan.

Downtown Brooklyn has been a pioneer in prioritizing buses for decades before that, opening the original busway on the Fulton Mall in the 1980s.