NYC express buses, and how the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative cannot do them here.


I mention this not because the idea of express buses is equally relevant to New York City and metro Louisville.

Rather, as explained at the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative meeting I attended two Mondays ago, out of a total of $434 million in wish list items compiled by One Southern Indiana’s committee (and taking them at face value, and ignoring the hours we’ve yet to spend trying to determine whether the initiative itself is worth consideration), $252 million would go to make River Ridge even more humongous than it is already, while the amount pledged to developing regional public transit, apart from expanding the Greenway’s pedways before it’s finished crossing Silver Creek, comes to … that’s right.


Notions like this must wait for a later plan. In short, excepting the Greenway, the bulk of this unprecedented investment, which probably isn’t, although we shan’t talk about it now, goes toward reinforcing the prevailing auto-centrism that already plagues us.

I almost forgot, but in New York City, they’re adding express buses.

Express Bus Service Shows Promise in New York, by Michael Kimmelman (New York Times)

Last week, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled its first express bus line: the 86th Street crosstown, running back and forth between York Avenue on the east side and Broadway on the west. There was a news conference to celebrate, at Columbus Avenue. Polly Trottenberg, the mayor’s transportation commissioner, hailed “modest investments” yielding dividends in terms of saved time for long-beleaguered riders, to which Ben Kallos, a city councilman, added that time saved translates into revenue for businesses whose taxes help pay for further transit improvements: a virtuous circle.

The route is not actually full-dress express service. It doesn’t include a dedicated, camera-policed lane all the way across town or traffic lights programmed to stay green when buses approach. There are just short segments of bus lanes that let buses jump traffic queues at strategic places. Even so, with 24,000 daily riders, 86th Street is notorious for endless lines of passengers waiting to swipe their cards. Any upgrade helps.