Suffolk County holds hearing on proposed Nicolls Road Bus Rapid Transit

In December of 2014, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced a $1.5 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to be used toward planning, design and construction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along Nicolls Road. This location was chosen as the initial site to implement BRT in Suffolk County in order to connect and enhance critical regional assets, including Stony Brook University, Ronkonkoma Hub and Patchogue Village. This project, part of the County’s Long Island Innovation Zone, will be Suffolk’s first north-south multimodal transportation corridor to feature dedicated lanes for rapid transit buses.

Some of the unique features of the BRT system include state-of-the-art Wi-Fi equipped buses, dedicated bus only lanes, traffic signal priority, queue jumps, boarding at well lit, safe and comfortable stations, pre-paid and electronic passes, and real-time bus location and arrival times.

A second public meeting regarding this project was held by Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information about the proposed road conversion and the project’s development process and status.

The presentation highlighted the use of an HOV Lane wherever feasible and where needed to accommodate traffic demand. It is being recommended between Sunrise Highway to the south and Mark Tree Road to the north. BRT vehicles would use the BRT/HOV Lane to bypass traffic congestion. Between NY Route 347 and Hospital Drive, BRT vehicles would operate in a new shoulder lane.  

Also discussed was a multi-use, north-south hiking/biking trail, situated generally parallel to Nicolls Road. This would offer another travel option and an alternative to reduce automobile usage.

The County is in the process of continuing necessary environmental studies, including noise analysis, air quality, and water quality. Assessment of effectiveness and consequences of recommendations are being performed, public feedback is being incorporated into the project, and the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) is being refined, thereafter progressing to the final design.