By M. A. RAHMAN
A group of local politicians and activists petitioned  the city to establish a bus only lane on Fifth Avenue at a spirited rally in front of the flagship main branch of New York Public Library on Thursday.

“We have to fight back the Carmageddon we’re facing in the city,” State Senator Brad Hoylman said. “Fifth Avenue Busway is our lifeline to move forward,”

The proposal was supported by a top official of the transit union.
“A bus is 50 cars on the street,” said TWU Local 100 Vice President JP Patafio. “Buses are safe and efficient when you have busways”Proponents for the expansion included Assemblyman Richard Gottfried who pointed to the recent 14th street busway as a model for decreasing traffic congestion.

At the time of the 14th street busways’ installation then-MTA President Andy Byford estimated that riders had  a 30% to 40% faster trip on buses like the M14A and M14D.

Others have noted the potential for the busway to improve the commutes of essential workers during the ongoing pandemic.

“The best thank you the city can give to essential workers is to improve public transit and improve our streets” Councilman Keith Power said.

In June city officials laid out plans to have to develop the Fifth Avenue busway with Mayor de Blasio promising a launch sometime in summer.

The  demonstration comes after reports two weeks ago that after months of delays the Department of Transportation has dropped plans to  add another bus only lane on Fifth avenue between 57th and 34th streets, effectively killing the program.

DOT was expected to present updated plans to Community Board 5 again on Sept. 21.