BY JON CRONIN
The city’s Department of Transportation announced this week that it would start issuing tickets on Cross Bay and Woodhaven boulevards on Feb. 20 when drivers use bus lanes for invalid reasons.
Drivers who are caught in bus lanes and not making a right turn, parking near the curb or turning into a curbside lot will be ticketed between $115 and $150. Since the camera only takes a photo of the license plate, no points are added to the car owner’s driver’s license.
“Buses in New York City carry over 2.5 million riders each day, and automated camera enforcement of bus lanes—where permitted—is a critical way to keep New Yorkers moving,” the DOT said in a statement.
The boulevards already have signage stating that the bus lanes are in use and are camera enforced. The DOT has been issuing drivers warnings for 60 days prior to Feb. 20.
Despite the DOT’s efforts to keep the bus lanes clear, local elected officials are still concerned that the agency may not have sound methods in administering the tickets.
“My biggest concern about the bus lane cameras on Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard is the possibility that my constituents may be wrongly cited for violations,” Councilman Bob Holden (D-Glendale) said. “The area is heavily congested with construction projects, and the Department of Transportation needs to find a way to ensure that only legitimate violations are prosecuted.”
State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) echoed Holden’s statement.
“It is my hope that DOT will continue to work with the community and elected officials if any problems arise after the issuance of violations begins on February 20 to ensure that both cars and buses adhere to the SBS regulations,” Addabbo said.
Sharon Lee, a spokeswoman for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, said that Katz has “expressed concerns about the potential for uneven enforcement inherent in its discretion, and the concerns remain.”
Updated at 2/15/18 at 5:21 p.m.: An earlier version of this story misquoted Lee. The quote, “if representatives of the NYPD or the city Department of Transportation will be viewing the camera footage to make sure that drivers are in the bus lanes for valid reasons, and never received an answer,” cannot be attributed to Lee or the borough president’s office.
Reach reporter Jon Cronin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718)357-7400, ext. 125.