Far West Side Could Get New Bus Line by Year's End
HELL'S KITCHEN — The oft-neglected Far West Side could have its very own bus line by the end of the year.
The new bus, proposed by the MTA and nicknamed the M12, would serve the rapidly developing western neighborhoods from Hell's Kitchen to the West Village — which have boomed with condos, restaurants and bars in recent years, but have little in the way of transit infrastructure.
The bus would run from West 59th Street to Spring Street seven days a week and could start picking up riders as soon as the fourth quarter of 2013, the MTA said in a presentation.
From West 49th to West 24th Street, the route would follow Eleventh and Twelfth avenues; from West 24th Street to West 14th Street, it would run along the West Side Highway; and farther south, it would run on Washington and Greenwich streets to Spring Street.
But the service would be sparse compared to many other major bus routes in Manhattan: Buses will only come every 30 minutes, and the route will only run from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Members of Community Board 4 who saw the plan recently were disappointed with the schedule, requesting that it run every 15 minutes instead. In a letter, the board asked that service hours for the line be extended to 1 a.m. as well.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the limited running hours were standard across all five of the new routes the agency recently proposed.
"We will then monitor ridership and adjust service accordingly," Ortiz added.
The board will also likely ask the Department of Transportation to change Eleventh Avenue between West 57th and West 45th streets from a two-way street to a one-way southbound street to alleviate traffic and ensure the bus runs smoothly and on time.
According to the DOT, there are no immediate plans to make the change.
"This avenue has only two moving lanes southbound" between 57th and 45th streets, the board wrote in a draft letter to the MTA and DOT. "These lanes are extremely congested during most of the day, but particularly in the peak hours of the afternoon."
The bus would not be the only MTA project coming to the once-sparse Far West Side in 2013: The agency also hopes to open the much-anticipated extension to the 7 Train at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue by the end of the year.