NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new bus lane on Woodhaven Boulevard is causing a traffic nightmare.
Drivers said their rush hour commutes have nearly doubled since the change.
Cars were backed up for miles on Woodhaven Boulevard on Tuesday night, and drivers say it’s being caused by the select new bus service.
One lane of traffic is now for buses only — no cars allowed.
Angry tweets tell the tale.
“Just say what you really want Mr. Mayor, ‘car zero’ not Vision Zero with the 24-7 bus lane on Woodhaven Blvd,” fumed Gerard Angelastro.
“Great going DOT and DDC for designing a bus lane in the middle of Woodhaven Blvd! The amount of traffic is insane! 20 min drive into 1 hour,” tweeted Anthony Jo Rozza.
Even during midday when traffic is lighter there were plenty of drivers who weren’t pleased that the new 14.7 mile route creates a special bus lane shrinking the space for cars on the only north-south artery in Queens.
“I think it’s horrible. There’s a lot more traffic because they narrowed everything, absolutely ridiculous,” one driver said.
“It’s the first day. So far it’s been okay, on the way home I’ll see how it’s gonna be. That’s when traffic is worse,” Joanne Grogan said.
Gus Karasakalides called it ‘very dangerous.’
“It impedes your space. You can make turns, forced to go straight, creates more traffic,” he said.
Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg defended the new route which she said will provide 40,000 bus riders with faster rides and connections to subway and the Long Island Rail Road, and will cut down on injuries and fatalities.
“We have spent two years doing the planning, the engineering, and the community work on this,” Trottenberg said, ” So first of all we want people to give it a little chance to settle in. It was a tremendously congested roadway before, but it had another problem — it was one of the deadliest roadways in the city.”
Trottenberg said the move was made carefully.
“We didn’t take away a lane of traffic in each direction. We did some pretty complicated engineering along the 15 miles of the route. We did two years of traffic studies,” she said.
Trottenberg said the DOT redesigned the pinch points and corridors in the hope of creating three lanes of traffic that move. The problem is in rush hour it doesn’t.
There are people who say it has added an hour to their commute.
“We’ve been out there. I don’t think it’s causing an hour’s delay,” Trottenberg said. “One thing we’ve found when you do big projects like this is you do have to let it settle in. We’re going to monitor it very closely.”
CBS2’s Kramer also asked if cars would be allowed in bus lanes outside of rush hour — before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
“Of the nearly 15 miles only about 2.7 do we have the 24 hour bus lane,” Trottenberg said. “That’s where we’ve seen a lot of injuries and fatalities.”
Though it is probably small comfort to those stuck in traffic right now, the commissioner said she is willing to make tweaks if any problems prove to be long-lasting.