B’way bus stop shuffle angers some

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  • The new M104 bus stop on Broadway between 88th and 89th Streets does not have a shelter or seating area. Two adjacent stops with shelters and benches were recently removed. Photo: Michael Garofalo

  • A bus shelter near the southwest corner of Broadway and West 90th Street was recently removed to make way for a new loading zone for deliveries to the Face Values & Beyond store. Photo: Michael Garofalo

“People are upset about this, particularly elderly people who need to sit.”

Carole Zabar

M104 shelters, benches removed to make way for commercial loading zone

By Michael Garofalo

The recent relocation of two Broadway bus stops has rankled some Upper West Side straphangers, who say that the changes have left them out in the rain.

Two bus shelters near West 90th and West 88th Streets on Broadway were recently removed and consolidated into a single stop near 89th Street, where there is neither bench nor shelter for those waiting for the southbound M104.

Shane McGrail recently walked to catch the bus at her longtime stop near the southwest corner of West 88th Street and was surprised to find that it had vanished and reappeared a block north. “That extra block is really a pain in the neck to have to walk for people who have trouble getting around,” McGrail said.

The new stop between 88th and 89th Streets is marked only with a signpost. “They just designed it so stupidly,” McGrail. “They don’t have a place to sit down and there’s no shelter either, so you’re just standing there in the rain.”

Sharon Silberfarb said she caught the M104 at the 90th Street stop for 44 years. “Moving a bus stop is really very inconvenient for the elderly and the handicapped,” she said. “There was no notice, it just disappeared.”

Several other regular riders said they were unaware of the impending changes prior to the removal of the old shelters. “They should have notified us and put signs at the stop so we at least could have written in,” McGrail said.

“People are upset about this, particularly elderly people who need to sit,” said Carole Zabar, who lives nearby on West 90th Street.

The scheduled headway between M104 buses is more than ten minutes for much of the day, including scheduled wait times of up to 20 minutes in the evening hours — before accounting for delays and out-of-service buses. Seniors and people with disabilities who cannot climb subway stairs rely disproportionately on bus service in New York City, where overall bus ridership has declined significantly in recent years. Ridership on the M104 dropped 35 percent from 2011 to 2016 as the route was subjected to multiple rounds of service cuts, including the most recent bus frequency reduction in April 2018.

“The old [87th Street] stop was good because it was right in front of Hot & Crusty,” said Eleanor McCabe as she stood at the new M104 stop. “You could get a cup of coffee and sit down while you waited.”

In April, the city’s Department of Transportation removed the M104 bus shelter and bench near the southwest corner of Broadway and West 90th Street and installed a new stop roughly a block south, between 88th and 89th Streets. The DOT did not respond to a questions regarding the reason for the removal of the other stop or whether the agency plans to install a shelter at the new stop.

According to a DOT official, the change was made at the request of the local community board to make room for a new loading zone to accommodate deliveries to the Face Values & Beyond store near the former bus stop. Face Values & Beyond formerly used a loading zone on West 90th Street for deliveries, but representatives told Community Board 7 that the space was frequently blocked by illegally parked vehicles.

“The Food Emporium was there for over 20 years and it was their loading dock, and they never seemed to have a problem with it,” Zabar said. “It seems to me that the needs of the community should trump the needs of a business.”

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