The MTA is considering rolling out bus-only lanes on First and Second avenues that the agency says might shorten commutes between Houston Street and 125th Street. The "East Side speedway" could be laid down by September 2010, and the agency is planning to stock up on "dozens of super-stretch buses for the new service," the Daily News reports.

The new 62-foot-long buses will have three doors instead of two, potentially allowing faster passenger loading and unloading. In a move the paper claims might end "the torturously slow one-by-one shuffle of passengers past the onboard farebox," commuters will swipe their MetroCards at curbside machines before they board the bus and receive printed slips proving they've paid the fare. The city is also planning to equip the buses with wireless technology that will change red lights to green lights when they approach, and in some places, the city might separate the bus lanes from other traffic with physical barriers.

But the biking and mass transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives says the proposed high-speed bus route — which would be the city's second following the apparently successful Bx12 in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx — doesn't do enough, arguing instead for two bus lanes on each avenue, as well as barriers along the entire route, and new cycling lanes. "First and Second avenues need a game-changer," spokesman Wiley Norvell told the paper. "With 58,000 bus riders, 3,500 cyclists and hundreds of thousands of pedestrians using this corridor, it's high time we designed a true 21st century street that serves everybody."