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Oddo Pitches Dedicated Bus Lane for Richmond Terrace

By Nicholas Rizzi | April 4, 2016 6:43pm
 Borough President James Oddo pitched a plan to create a dedicated bus lane in the middle of Richmond Terrace to help ease traffic in St. George.
Borough President James Oddo pitched a plan to create a dedicated bus lane in the middle of Richmond Terrace to help ease traffic in St. George.
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Borough President's Office

ST. GEORGE — Borough President James Oddo pitched a plan to add a dedicated bus lane to the middle of Richmond Terrace, in an effort to get planners to "think out of the box" while studying fixes to the North Shore's transportation woes.

Oddo's plan looks to use Parks Department property in the middle of Richmond Terrace and convert it into a one-way bus lane, with bike lanes on both sides, to help ease traffic getting to and from the St. George Ferry Terminal.

"It's not the [Bus Rapid Transit], it's not a substitute to the BRT, but it could give us some improved flow," Oddo said. "We don't expect to see a miracle, we don't expect to see a cure, but we do expect to see something that will result in tangible improvements."

With more people expected to flock to the area when mega-projects New York Wheel and Empire Outlets open, elected officials and residents called on the city to study traffic fixes beforehand to make it easier to get around.

The city agreed last year to study short, medium and long-term solutions for transportation fixes. The New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Transportation hired WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff to develop the Transportation Improvement Plan and expects to finish the study in the summer.

The EDC did not respond to a request for comment.

While waiting for the results, Oddo asked his director of Land-Use Planning and Infrastructure, Robert Englert, to develop a proposal to improve transportation on Richmond Terrace.

The plan calls for Parks to take over other city-owned land closer to the waterfront so the DOT could build a 12-foot one-way convertible bus lane, which would switch directions for the morning and evening rush-hours, Englert said. 

The proposal would keep street parking on the block, but make it illegal to park by intersections, Englert said.

Instead, bus stations in the middle of the road will be near intersections as well as bike lanes on both sides to make it safer for cyclists to enter and exit the street, Englert said.

"It serves the best of both worlds," Englert said, "for pedestrians, for vehicles operating and for dedicated bus lanes."

Oddo said that the goal of his office's proposal is to show consultants the types of proposals they're looking for when the study gets released in the summer.

"We're not traffic engineers, but this is what we're expecting to see from them," Oddo said. "Some sort of out of the box, creative ideas."