Oct. 1, 2019 By Allie Griffin
The Department of Transportation will begin issuing warnings to cars traveling inside the recently added bus lane along Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood starting next Monday.
The warning period will last 60 days beginning Monday, Oct 7. Following the 60-day period, drivers who travel in the bus lane between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays will be sent a $50 camera ticket in the mail. Vehicles are permitted to use the lane to make right turns.
A first-time violation will cost $50, but the cost increases for additional violations committed within a year.
The DOT completed installing the southbound bus lane along Fresh Pond Road from Bleecker Street to Putnam Avenue on Aug. 27 as part of the Mayor’s Better Buses Action Plan, despite months of pushback from community members.
The stretch of Fresh Pond Road has a high Q58 bus ridership and bus speeds during the afternoon peak hours were twice as slow as the borough average, according to the DOT. The project was designed to improve traffic flow, signal timing and curb management, the agency said.
Early MTA data has already shown bus speed improvements along Fresh Pond Road since the bus lane went into effect, according to the DOT who did not respond to a previous request on how much it has improved.
However, the department said bus routes with camera enforcement and other bus priority treatments have improved speeds between 7 percent and 31 percent.
The bus lane was the subject of a recent lawsuit filed by an ad hoc coalition of concerned community members, including the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association and business owners along Fresh Pond Road who hoped to remove it. A Queens State Supreme Court judge dismissed the suit last Monday and the lane remains in place.