MANHATTAN – Six lawmakers representing the Upper East Side on the city, state and federal level are joining forces to press the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to bring back what they say is an important bus stop that has been missing from the UES for more than a decade.
The corner of East 72nd Street and Second Avenue used to be home to stops for both the M15 and M15 Limited bus, however, the Limited bus route was eliminated when Select Bus Service, SBS, began in 2010.
Council Members Julie Menin and Keith Powers, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright, State Senator Liz Kreuger and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney co-signed a letter to the MTA Chair this month calling for the stop to return as part of the M15-SBS route twelve years later.
To make their case to the MTA, the lawmakers’ letter points to the addition of the Second Avenue Subway, which opened in 2017 and the need for an easy transfer for commuters who currently have to walk six blocks from the station at East 72nd Street up to East 79th Street or down to East 68th Street to catch a bus.
With a larger concentration of seniors and families with children using the bus, the lawmakers say they shouldn’t be forced to walk more than a half mile to the next stop.
The letter also notes the M15 bus has much longer wait times than the M15-SBS, which comes every two to four minutes, driving the need for another SBS stop.
“Particularly now, when our neighborhoods and our city as a whole are beginning to recover from the ongoing pandemic, we need to ensure that our public transit system is functioning well and holistically to serve the needs of New Yorkers,” said New York State Senator Liz Krueger.
“Restoring the M15 Select Bus stop at 72nd Street would mean a big improvement in transit access for Upper East Siders and visitors, especially older people and families with children, at very low cost to the MTA,” she added.
The lawmakers say that there is precedent for stops clustered close together, as they would be on the M15-SBS route with the addition of a stop at East 72nd Street and Second Avenue between the current stops, just ten blocks apart, at East 78th Street and East 68th Street. Currently, the M15-SBS makes three stops over eleven blocks at East 23rd, 28th and 34th Streets— serving a number of hospitals in the area.
Chelsea, a nurse who works at an UES hospital tells Upper East Site a stop at East 72nd Street would be very helpful.
“It is a major intersection that I think needs a M15 Select stop,” Chelsea said.
“I currently take the Q one stop, but if the M15 [SBS] stopped at 72nd, it would give me another option to get to work,” the nurse added.
“Cabs and Ubers are just so expensive now and with the increase in subway crime, it’s making a city that was so accessible and easy to get around so difficult and costly,” said Upper East Sider Laura Markofski.
“The bus has always been a hidden gem in the city, so if we can get more access, I’m all for it,” she added.
Not everyone feels that way about an additional bus stop.
“It seems unnecessary, there is one already on 68th, and there is traffic to start with in the mornings and afternoons due to the Queensboro Bridge,” said neighbor Alex Fish.
“Why add another one four blocks away? It will slow down an area that’s already slow,” he added.
Upper East Site has learned the MTA received the letter and is evaluating the recommendation, though, the agency had no comment in regards to our inquiry.