By Annie Weinstock and Walter Hook

On the same day in 2003 that London kicked off its congestion charge, Transport for London (TfL) put 300 new buses on its streets, began running several new bus routes into the congestion zone, and upped the frequency on some existing routes. Within the first year, they were seeing 29,000 new bus passengers entering the congestion zone during each morning rush. London understood that if they were going to charge people to drive, they would have to give something meaningful in return.

London increased its bus service into the congestion zone as part of its congestion charging package. Photo by mariordo59/Flickr

Congestion pricing in New York City finally appears to be moving. But…

By Walter Hook, Annie Weinstock, and Larson Holt

Source: Tdorante10 — CC BY-SA 4.0

In 2016, following a global trend, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) embarked on a borough-by-borough Bus Network Redesign. Rapid progress was made under Andy Byford’s leadership. Excellent reports detailing existing conditions were completed for the Bronx , Queens, and Brooklyn. A redesign plan was finalized for the Bronx, a draft plan was released for Queens, and a Brooklyn plan was on he way. Advocacy groups put a lot of time and energy behind the effort.

But the redesigns were put on hold due to COVID-19. …

By Annie Weinstock

Lately, the internet is abuzz about the 2nd Avenue bike lane. Clarence Eckerson took some peak-hour counts of bicycles and vehicles and found that the volumes aren’t vastly different from each other, despite the vastly disproportionate amount of space allotted to mixed traffic.

Eckerson’s question regarding whether we need a wider protected bike lane was picked up by city council members and mayoral hopefuls and now calls to do it are growing.

With increasing bike volumes, wider bike lanes seem like a no-brainer. As Chris Bruntlett, of the organization Dutch Cycling Embassy told me:

Additional width…

By Walter Hook

In 2000, Bogotá opened TransMilenio, the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to reach the speeds and capacities of heavy rail. Soon after, consensus began to grow — among philanthropy, the development banks, the technical community, the advocacy community, and governments — that a rapid global roll-out of BRT could accelerate the growth of rapid transit across the globe, resulting in significant CO2 reductions and poverty alleviation benefits.

For the same budget, governments could build much more BRT than rail-based rapid transit, they could do it in less time, and still offer a similar — and in some…

By Annie Weinstock

Throughout my career as a bus advocate, I have been skeptical of curbside bus lanes. They are exceedingly easy to block. In fact, most curbside bus lanes come with a list of both illegal and legal encroachments.

  • Illegal: driving in the bus lane, parking/stopping for extended periods of time in the bus lane, deliveries during certain hours, police stopping for a pizza.
  • Legal: right turns, quick drop-offs, parallel parking if the lane is adjacent to a parking lane (“offset”), even deliveries during certain hours.

Illegal blockages are really hard to control

Curbside bus lanes get blocked illegally…

By Annie Weinstock

In April of 2020, in response to the effect Covid-19 had on the restaurant industry, Vilnius, Lithuania announced a plan to turn over many of its streets to outdoor dining. Following suit that June, Mayor de Blasio announced that NYC would repurpose thousands of parking spaces for outdoor dining. For many cities doing the same, an expedited permitting process laid bare the possibilities for skipping the bureaucracy and public process that so often mar positive change in the city. …

By Annie Weinstock

Image: Michael King, Traffic Calmer

On January 28, 2021, Mayor de Blasio announced that NYCDOT would repurpose car lanes on the Queensboro and Brooklyn Bridges for bicycles. These are massive wins for bicycle advocates including Transportation Alternatives and Streetsblog who fought hard for them.

Why not the Manhattan Bridge?

The Manhattan Bridge is notably missing from the Mayor’s announcement. In 2019, the Manhattan Bridge saw 6,008 daily cyclists, a nearly 400% increase since 2004 when the bike path opened, and uncomfortably close encounters are increasingly commonplace. Today, the Manhattan Bridge has a single two-way bike path that maxes out at 9' 9"…

Transforming NYC’s busways
Now that we’ve restricted traffic, here’s what we should do next

By Annie Weinstock

Denver’s 16th St Mall. Source: Rail~volution

In October 2019, in response to the L Train slowdown, New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) opened the 14th Street Busway. The success of the 14th Street Busway in New York led to Mayor Bill DeBlasio announcing five new busways to come. So far two of them — Jay Street in Brooklyn and Main Street in Flushing — have been implemented.


Reorientations is a blog by the staff of People-Oriented Cities. Each post provides a novel idea for “reorienting” cities away from cars and towards people.

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