Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “urgent” effort to install new busways across the city as part of its coronavirus reopening plan has stalled in the city’s planning bureaucracy, The Post has learned.
The program aimed to help Big Apple bus riders avoid regular traffic jams by converting some select stretches of city street into transit-only corridors in all five boroughs.
De Blasio said in June that his Transportation Department would start first with a stretch of Main Street in Queens — near the end of the 7 train — and that the project would be done that same month, aiding the 150,000 people bus riders on the corridor.
Two months later, officials admitted Thursday they haven’t even broken ground and attributed the delays to intense opposition from some business owners along the corridor and local Councilman Peter Koo (D-Queens).
“For us, that was a project that we thought was going to be pretty easy to implement,” said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
“We had several hundred pretty passionate protesters show up,” she added. “I think we have very good arguments to make about what an important project it is, but we’re also going to listen to those voices.”
Koo did not return requests for comment from The Post.
Business owners have offered a series of objections to the proposal, including arguing it will take parking they need for customers.
It’s one of the five busways announced by Hizzoner at a June 8th press conference — and only one of them has broken ground so far, officials confirmed Thursday in response to questions from The Post.
The conversion of Jay Street from Fulton to Tillary streets into a dedicated transit passage is set to be completed in September, one month late.
The projects set for Jamaica Avenue in Queens, Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and 181st Street in Manhattan remain on the drawing boards as DOT officials continue their “dialogue” with community boards and local elected officials.
The Jamaica and Fifth Avenue projects were supposed to be completed last month while the 181st Street program is due in October.
“They will be launching on an urgent basis,” de Blasio said in June as he rolled out the program. “I want to see this happen as quickly as possible because we need the help now given the crisis we’re in.”
The program is modeled off of the conversion of much of 14th Street in Manhattan to a bus-only transit corridor, which dramatically improved bus speeds and reliability — leading to a boost in ridership.