New York is finalising plans to create the first, of half a dozen BRT lines in the city, on First and Second avenues. The lines are not “true” BRT as they will not be fully grade separated or prioritised such as the lines in the first city with BRT, Curitiba, Brazil (or Auckland’s own Northern Busway) but rather similar to our green bus lanes only with stations to speed up loading.
What can Auckland learn from this process?
Here is a look at what the streets might look like when finished:
This is “Option B” of the two under consideration by the NY Department of Transportation in the project named the Select Bus Service and what isn’t shown in the image is that this and Option A both have the bus lanes shared with right turning traffic at every intersection and bicycles with left turning. The other option actually has parking on the outside of the BRT lane! Very poor as the aim is to reduce the travel time and increase the ridership.
To me this is still a very car dominated landscape with four lanes of traffic, a lane for parking, narrow sidewalks and what I essentially consider ordinary bus-lanes with the only improvements being stations, faster loading and articulated buses.
The lesson for Auckland, if we choose to develop this level of bus service between busway and bus lane, is that:
- Bus lanes must be continuous, as grade separated as possible, with lanes extending up to the intersection;
- Priority at traffic lights;
- Pre paid stations with front and rear loading;
- Specifically branded articulated buses and the elimination of parking.
Something to keep in mind for the upcoming Dominion Road upgrade, one of the best candidates for this type of intermediate service methinks.