E. 20th St. already looks different due to new bike lanes, bus islands

The construction east of First Avenue is part of the traffic safety enhancement plan. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

This week, numerous readers reached out to Town & Village, asking about all the work currently going on at East 20th Street, east of First Avenue.

As we reported last month, the Department of Transportation was in the early stages of a traffic safety enhancement project on East 20th Street along the route to the ferry. The project also unfortunately included the removal of 12 parking spots.

Work, however, began in earnest last weekend, with bike lanes being built on the north side of the street adjacent to bus boarding islands.

Council Member Keith Powers said his office has also received many calls, including some complaints, from residents, mainly over the loss of parking at a time when East 14th Street has also lost dozens of spaces due to the L train related construction work. In response, Powers said he’s asked DOT officials to walk along the street with him.

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Bus lane violations will now be issued along M23 SBS route

 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The violations are an attempt to speed up service along the route. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, the city began issuing violations to keep the bus lane clear along the M23 Select Bus Service route on 23d Street.

Doing so, the Department of Transportation said in a press release, is aimed at making the famously pokey route less so.

Each corridor has signage indicating the hours that the bus lanes are operable, and that the lanes are camera enforced. DOT will be letting drivers off with a warning for the first 60 days the cameras are first operated. After that, however, the penalty for driving in a camera-enforced bus lane will be $115. Additionally, since violations are issued against the vehicle, not the driver, points are not deducted from motorists’ licenses.

According to a spokesperson for the department, cameras, bus lanes and other SBS elements, like pre-paid boarding, have already improved bus speeds by up to 30 percent while also increasing ridership and even customer satisfaction.

So far, according to DOT data, 667,859 bus lane cameras violations have been issued and there are nine camera-enforced SBS routes.

Local ones are the M15, along First Avenue and Second Avenue and the M34 along 34th Street. Others in the city are M60, Bx12, Bx41, B44, B46, S79 and Q44.