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What’s With All These Crazy Buses? – Streetsblog New York City


Flushing Avenue, 11 a.m. The normal life-endangering crapshoot: Taxi drivers pulling into the bike lane and then just sitting there on their phones. Construction workers struggling to finish a reconstruction that should have been done ages ago. Drivers speeding and veering around turning cars.

You don’t even notice it anymore.

But then suddenly the road fills with school buses dropping off their little charges at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And then … just sitting there idling in the bike lane. And then you encounter a police officer. And then you run the plates.

And then you wonder: Why is my life being endangered by so many people who don’t care? Why are school bus drivers so reckless? Why have I already written my obit? Why does it predict my demise on the road?

Let’s start with the composite picture:

Unpictured? An NYPD traffic officer who was idling on the south side of Flushing. When this reporter asked him to please help keep the streets safe, he replied, “I have to find out if they are allowed to park there.” (Fact: They are not allowed to park there. All of the buses in the photo were either in “No standing” zones or in a painted bike lane — or both.)

Streetsblog ran the plates on the buses in the picture. Five of six had received tickets. Four of six had received camera-issued tickets for speeding in school zones or running red lights. Three of six had received multiple serious moving violations. One had four speeding tickets and four red light tickets.

Here are the worse of those records from Howsmydrivingny.

Four red lights and four speeding tickets.
Four red lights and four speeding tickets.
One red light and one speeding ticket.
One red light and one speeding ticket.
One red light and one speeding ticket.
One red light and one speeding ticket.

To put all of this in perspective, a driver can only get a camera-issued speeding ticket if he or she is exceeding the speed limit by 11 or more miles per hour. The math: That means that these buses were traveling at a speed of 36 miles per hour or more when the tickets were issued. And those tickets are only issued in the city’s 140 school zones — and only during school hours.

So why are school buses, which weigh roughly 25,000 pounds, being driven in such an unsafe manner … in school zones … during school hours?

And why are buses illegally parking in a bike lane on an already dangerous crucial east-west feeder route to the Manhattan Bridge?

And why don’t all NYPD officers know the rules about parking?

We’ll update this story if we get answers.

Gersh Kuntzman is editor of Streetsblog. He writes the “Cycle of Rage” column. Prior posts are archived here.

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