Bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Prospect Expressway is often a hassle for commuters driving from southern to downtown Brooklyn or to Manhattan. That is why the at least one local elected official has requested a New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) study to explore the feasibility of installing a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on the roadway.
Councilmember David Greenfield of Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Midwood believes that such an HOV/carpool lane would help mitigate traffic congestion on Ocean Parkway.
“The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) has HOV lanes that greatly improve travel times for many vehicles with [multiple] passengers,” wrote Greenfield in a letter to NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald, NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and NYCDOT Brooklyn Commissioner Joseph Palmieri.
“In order to reduce delays even further, I believe HOV lanes should be extended south along the Prospect Expressway to where it meets Ocean Parkway just north of Church Avenue,” he went on.
Such a change and extension, if seriously considered, would require not only a feasibility study, but also community input and state funding. As of press time, the NYSDOT had not responded to Greenfield’s letter or this paper’s requests for comment.
According to Ryan Lynch, associate director at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Greenfield “should be applauded for thinking creatively about how to address congestion on the Prospect corridor [but] unfortunately, recent research has shown that HOV lanes aren’t necessarily the answer to mitigating congestion.”
“What we’d ask him to do is ask the DOT about the possibility of a High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane,” said Lynch, referring to the traffic trend that is picking up steam in California, Minnesota and other states, including here, where the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is evaluating the possibility of merging HOT lanes with the XBL/Exclusive Bus Lanes in the Lincoln Tunnel.
“People’s time is money, so for an opportunity to bypass congestion, studies show people will be willing to pay a certain amount of money to do so,” Lynch explained. “The added benefit is that even if you’re a single occupancy driver and are late to a meeting, you can pay to jump into a lane that is calibrated to move at a certain mile per hour.”