Date: Apr 22, 2004
Press Release Number: 50-2004
The Port Authority announced today that it will launch a study to explore various options to reduce traffic and increase bus capacity on the New York-bound approach of the Lincoln Tunnel.
To facilitate traffic movement at the Lincoln Tunnel, the Port Authority now operates an exclusive bus lane from the New Jersey Turnpike and Route 3 to the tunnel, allowing buses traveling eastbound to New York to access a specially separated lane. On weekday mornings, approximately 62,000 daily commuters use the bus lane from 6:15 – 10 a.m. The exclusive bus lane saves bus riders 15 to 20 minutes in commuting time each day, but it has reached its capacity during the peak travel period.
As part of the study, the Port Authority will consider a broad array of options to enhance access for buses and high-occupancy vehicles using the Lincoln Tunnel, and alleviate traffic on local roads near the tunnel. Priority treatment for other vehicles also will be evaluated by assessing motorists’ interest in paying for a timesaving option.
The study is expected to begin in June 2004 and end in September 2005. The cost of the study is expected to be approximately $1.7 million, which will be fully reimbursed to the Port Authority through two grants issued by the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “One of the hallmarks of Governor McGreevey’s administration is to reduce the time commuters spend in their vehicles. The Hudson River crossings are critical to the economic vitality of this region. Nearly 95,000 commuters travel by bus into New York City through the Lincoln Tunnel each weekday morning, and the majority of those passengers benefit from using the exclusive bus lane. This study will help us identify new and innovative ways to improve the services we provide to our customers.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “During the peak of the morning rush-hour period, the exclusive bus lane serves more commuters to midtown Manhattan than our PATH system, ferries, or rail services arriving at Penn Station. These grants will help us determine the best way to handle the approximately 20,000 vehicles, including 2,700 buses, that travel through the Lincoln Tunnel during the morning commute.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “There has been a steady growth of buses using the exclusive bus lane since its inception in 1971, and increased demand for bus travel into New York City is expected. By exploring ways to better accommodate future bus demand, we ultimately seek to improve the quality of life for all commuters traveling to Manhattan.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.