from bogota to nyc – mammoth // building nothing out of something

from bogota to nyc

Fast Company author Cliff Kuang writes about New York City’s adoption of rapid-bus transit solutions developed in Brazil and Columbia:

Urban planners, rejoice! Today, the New York City Department of Transit announced a radical new plan for improving the city’s bus lines: A fully dedicated express-lane for buses, running crosstown on 34th Street. It’s expected to improve bus speeds by 35%, on a route where buses are stationary a whopping 40% of the time. And it marks another huge, bold idea from Janette Sadik-Khan, the DOT commissioner who’s overseen a slew of projects, ranging from the new sidewalk saffolding to a pedestrianized Times Square.

The system has several novel improvements over standard bus lines which work in conjunction with the dedicated express lane, as described in Fast Company’s reporting.

[via @thewhereblog]

8 Responses to “from bogota to nyc”

  1. faslanyc says:

    another step in the latinization of the US (along with insolvent banking systems, socialized market losses, sustained high unemployment, creation of megacities, and prettier people)

    sweet! I’m on board, though some of the consequences will be nasty.

    sadik khan is a machine. i want to critique her but am having a hard time, and i work with her organization a lot, and see the ineffeciencies that don’t make it to news/blog releases. she’s good.

  2. Stephen says:

    My brain just got whiplash from all the positive-to-negative-and-back-agains in that comment.

  3. namhenderson says:

    Actually my smallish county in North Florida recently announced plans to pursue county/region wide BRT plans over the next decade.

    I was pretty excited. I actually got to see Jaime Lerner at a talk they brought him up here for as part of the research/policy rollout.

    As for Sadik. I don’t live in NYC and havent been there in her tenure. But it does seem as if she is doing good work. I could see the complaints from a open/transparency issue. Stuff seems to just get done. But Lerner actually said in his talk that was the only way he was ever able to get stuff done.

    Doing it over the weekend when business were closed etc.

    But her dept’s work isn’t exactly, bottom up.

  4. faslanyc says:

    that is encouraging. I guess the county has enough traffic that dedicated lanes ease congestion? I would imagine that is the critical issue (as illustrated in that cool image stephen posted) which im surprised to hear about in north florida.

    it’s true sadik khan has some interesting tactics. i would say that the dot’s work is more bottom up than a typical dept of trans is. She pays more heed to a non-traditional constituency (transportation alternatives, the open planning project), however. i would definitely agree with that.

    that image you posted is great, stephen; the traffic jam, the mass of people coming up the stairs towards the camera, the open bus lanes, not to mention the rain in the background and vibrant foreground colors. nice.

  5. Stephen says:

    I would love to hear more about what Sadik Khan has done and how you perceive her department’s performance; I’m pretty unfamiliar with it. Any topical posts at FASLANYC or elsewhere I should read this weekend? Would love to hear about other urban / transit planners doing good work as well, maybe I should pull together a reading list on that.

    The picture is pretty sweet, can’t say I had to dig too far for it though, it was right in the Fast Company story.

  6. faslanyc says:

    oh-ho-ho. well, since i focus on this city, and the dot is by far and away the most interesting thing going on in public space here, i have written a number of shabby pieces on their recent work.

    on the bike lanes:

    and two on the broadway intiatives:

    there are a lot of other better sources out there too, some of which i link to. they really do some interesting work. i get a taste of it first hand through my job with them as a client agency from time to time. THey also make a lot of their work into pdf manuals/tool kits which are available for download and offer utterly pragmatic but creative ways of intervening in streets.

    Nam: that is interesting to hear about Lerner. Do you have some good source on his stuff? I’ve only read scattered articles over the years…

  7. namhenderson says:


    Unfortunately it seems all his published works are in Portuguese.
    This is a good talk he gave to RIBA
    And of course his TED Talk

    He really seems to be making a name for himself going around the world preaching the value of BRT and human centered cities.

    The point that he made re: implementation was interesting. Early on he said the business community wasn’t happy with his plans for pedestrianization, very similar to Sadik’s issues with local business-men complaints.

    So he literally did the first couple of interventions over weekends when the businesses were closed so that they couldn’t stop it. They got there Monday and work was done. Sort of like Sadik’s DOT approach to overnighting Broadway.

    As for my county’s plans for BRT. I think the issues are twofold. One do to concurrency planning requirements they are running into a situation where they need to either build more main roads/transit connector or they won’t be able to develop certain areas of the county further. So the choice is either increased congestion (which would be the end result of new roads anyways) or some sort of mass transit. Plus, there is a few commissioners etc who are into the idea of Peak Oil/resiliency.

    I think they are actually getting some Federal transit funding for the introductory portions of the planning etc.

  8. […] has mentioned Janette Sadik-Khan before in the context of Bus Rapid Transit here – also be sure to visit this comment by FASLANYC in that same post for a series of links to things […]