Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation unveiled a comprehensive plan to reconcile the words "rapidity" and "transit system," the most revolutionary piece of which was a 34th Street bus-only lane. Now, the Post is reporting that the lane has gotten the federal helping hand the DOT was hoping for, in the form of $18.4 million.
Around 17,000 passengers ride the M16 and M34 buses each day, though they only move at about 4.5 miles per hour—or even as slow as 3.4 mph. Through separated lanes running river-to-river, the "Transitway" will increase this speed 20-40%, finally making a trip across town go faster on a bus than on the ankle express. Another notable piece of the proposal are the mid-street pedestrian refuge islands, which will hopefully reduce the number of pedestrians struck by cars on 34th Street each year (apparently that number is 60!).
The change to the streetscape has been a long time coming; the plan was originally proposed in 2008, the city completed a study of it in February, and it was unveiled in April. With the pressure of an expected influx of foot traffic in the corridor (already one of New York's busiest), and with federal government officials promising funds, there could be a chance of seeing the DOT's ambition bear some bus lane fruit. However, in April the Times reported that altogether the project could cost over $30 million.