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News from Gale Brewer

The MTA should look at two-way shuttle buses, dedicated bus lanes for 168th Street 1-train shutdown

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer wrote yesterday to MTA-New York City Transit President Andy Byford, calling for a reevaluation and enhancement of planned travel alternatives during the upcoming closure of the 1-train station at 168th Street in upper Manhattan. The station serves 26,000 daily riders and is a primary point of access to New York Presbyterian Hospital, as well as the Columbia University Dialysis Center and the ARC XVI Senior Center.

“This subway station is a critical point of access to and from this part of Washington Heights, and I’m concerned that the MTA’s current plan won’t be enough to keep the neighborhood moving,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Stepped up service on the M5 bus route is a start, but I think dedicated shuttles to the subway stations at 157th and 181st would help a lot more. And whatever we do to enhance bus service, we need to think about pairing it with temporary bus lanes, so the neighborhood’s street congestion doesn’t strand commuters who are already being inconvenienced.”

The 168th Street 1-train station is one of the subway system’s deepest underground. Commuters are entirely reliant on elevators to move between the platform and the station mezzanine, so badly-needed repairs to these elevators will entirely shut down the station.

The MTA’s current plans include encouraging straphangers to use the A- and C-train service at 168th Street instead of the 1-train, enhancing service on the M5 bus route connecting the 168th Street station to the 157th Street station, and making free transfers available for riders using the M3, M4, and M5 bus routes between 157th and 168th Streets. In her letter, Brewer called on the MTA to consider supplementing these measures with:

  • Two-direction shuttle bus service connecting the 168th Street subway station to both the 157th and 181st Street stations, dramatically increasing shuttle capacity and spreading the influx of extra riders to two stations instead of one;
  • Temporary installation of bus lanes, to keep the increased bus traffic from becoming jammed in the neighborhood’s street congestion; and
  • Inclusion of all shuttle buses on the MTA’s BusTime and MYmta online portals, so riders can anticipate departures and arrivals and make the best use of the service.

B.P. Brewer’s letter to MTA-NYCT President Byford is available for download here.