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MTA Buses Block Fire Hydrant, Double Park on UWS Block

By Emily Frost | September 12, 2014 8:51am

UPPER WEST SIDE — The expansion of service on the popular M60 bus line has turned a block of Broadway into a "bus depot," with huge buses creating a safety hazard by blocking a fire hydrant and clogging the street, locals say.

The M60 begins at West 106th Street and travels north on Broadway and eventually along West 125th Street before heading to LaGuardia Airport and back. The line became a Select Bus Service route in May, meaning it added longer buses that fit more riders while offering fewer stops and a pre-boarding payment option.

But the larger articulated buses, which stop between West 106th and 107th streets during layovers prior to starting their routes, make it difficult for pedestrians to cross the street and force traffic to weave around them, residents said.

The line is a victim of its own success, locals said. Where there used to be only one small bus stopping on the block, now there are frequently buses double parking on Broadway, reducing the street to one usable lane.

"This whole street has become a bus depot," resident Connie Sanchez said.

The buses are parked in front of a fire hydrant on the block and left unmanned for hours in the early morning and the evening, said Kurt Pohmer, the president of a co-op along the street.

During the middle of a recent weekday afternoon, DNAinfo observed bus drivers park in front of the hydrant and take breaks in the area for 15 minutes at a time. 

"It’s a perfect storm for safety," warned Pohmer, who said the West 107th Street Block Association, of which he is a member, plans to start a petition and hold protests over the situation to get the layover location moved entirely.

He said the MTA told him a supervisor is always in the area and could be called to move the bus for fire engine access, but Pohmer said that would take too much time in a real emergency.

"It’s a danger zone," Pohmer added.

The DOT referred DNAinfo to the MTA, which confirmed it has plans in place in the case of an emergency.

"This is a configuration that is in place throughout the city and not unique to this location," MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said in a statement. "During layovers if a bus operator takes a break, other operators or dispatchers at the location could relocate a bus if there was an emergency." 

Editor's Note: The story originally stated the MTA did not return a request for comment when in fact the agency had not been contacted. DNAinfo regrets the error.