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GRTC buses traveling along Broad Street corridor are too big for lanes

RICHMOND, Va. –Thousands of residents and visitors travel along the stretch of Broad Street between Belvidere and 14th Street every day.

GRTC buses can frequently be seen traveling for blocks and taking up  two lanes.  In some cases, drivers are forced to suddenly brake or veer off into another lane.

“Sometimes buses will just jump in front of cars,”  driver Cassie Washington said. “It’s too narrow to have all these buses going through there,” said Jennifer Garcia.

GRTC CEO David Green looked at the images of buses traveling in such an unsafe manner. He said the problem is that bus lanes are too narrow.  GRTC buses are 10.5 feet wide and the lanes are nine feet wide.

“They’re just not adequate,” Green said. “It’s tough for buses to operate in an urban environment.”

Cars parked along Broad Street also contribute to the danger, said Green. Lanes are reserved for buses only during the morning and evening rush,  which means GRTC bus drivers are restricted at other times. Green said there is not much more he or his drivers can do.

“That’s not something under GRTC control; so, that’s a city issue,” he said. “We just pull off on the curb and pick people up,” explained Green.

CBS 6 asked city leaders to find out why these unsafe driving conditions are allowed to persist.

The most recent data provided by GRTC shows at least 38 accidents, involving its buses along Broad Street between Belvidere and 14th, over a three-year period.

“The city’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit project will further help alleviate bus congestion along Broad Street,” a city spokesperson said.

In the meantime, city leaders say they want to have fewer buses travel along Broad Street, and will be relocating several stops as part of that effort.

The Bus Rapid Transit Plan is scheduled for completion in 2018.