The city has created a dedicated bus lane on the South side of 81st Street.

The MTA is changing the M79 bus, long considered one of the slowest in the city, into a “Select Bus” that rides on a dedicated lane and doesn’t wait for passengers to swipe their Metrocards — they have to buy tickets in advance instead.

M79 Select Bus Service is set to launch on May 21. The ticket kiosks are already in place.

The MTA says that the slow pace of the bus had “decreased reliability of the route, leading to an ongoing drop in ridership,” and it anticipates that the new service will speed up the route by “up to 20%.”

But some locals are upset about the changes, which include new parking and driving rules on 81st Street. There’s now a dedicated lane on the South side of 81st, and parking was changed on the North side of the block to accommodate commercial vehicles making deliveries. Buses are also set to use part of Central Park West as a layover spot. A stop at 81st and Amsterdam is also being removed from the new route. The changes are explained in greater detail in a city presentation here.

There are new parking restrictions on 81st.

One resident emailed us last week about the parking changes on 81st:

“Car-owning residents on W. 81st St. between CPW and Columbus were seeing a lot of orange parking tickets under theirs and others windshields as the DOT changed the parking signs at 10:00 AM Monday morning (5/8) from the long-standing 2 day-a-week/1 1/2 hr. alternate side cleaning rule to a NO PARKING 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM weekday prohibition … and started ticketing what had been legally parked cars an hour later! This affects dozens of parking spaces used for years by both residents and AMNH visitors.  There was no forewarning — just tickets.  (I’ve lived on the block for 26 years.)”

The Theodore Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association is concerned about ongoing congestion in the area, which is already filled with school buses waiting for children who are visiting the American Museum of Natural History. Last month, association president Steven Anderson told us the plan is “short sighted, not comprehensive, insulting to the residents of our block and is most likely to make conditions even worse.” He’s continued to meet with the DOT and Council Member Rosenthal since then and says he has “hope that DOT will indeed collaborate with our community, but our recent experiences have been most disappointing.”

A DOT spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement that “we will continue to work closely with neighborhood stakeholders to address specific concerns raised. DOT will monitor conditions for the whole route, including W 81st over the upcoming months.”

Photos by Carol Tannenhauser and Ralph Spielman (ticket kiosk). Thanks to everyone who has sent in photos and updates.

NEWS | 57 comments | permalink
    1. Sid says:

      Parking is a privilege, not a right. Much better to use the public space for public transit that moves 24 hours a day, transporting many more people than private vehicles that get parked on the street for hours or days at a time.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “Much better to use the public space for public transit that moves 24 hours a day”

        DEFINITELY! It’s long been said that a car in Manhattan is about as useful as a boat anchor on an airplane.

        Seems like SOME locals are always seething about something or other, no?

      • Mark says:

        I so agree with you Sid!
        I don’t understand why self-entitled car owners feel that they deserve free parking spaces.
        We need to encourage mass transit and discourage personal car use in NYC.

        • B.B. says:

          Excuse you?

          Owner’s of motor vehicles pay the same taxes as everyone else. In fact more when you count petrol and other rates associated with ownership.

          Persons who own, buy or sell real estate/property in NYC also pay a hefty MTA surcharge on top of other taxes.

          Once again it seems far too many persons utter off the cuff comments without a true understanding of NYS/NYC economics. But then again given the large volume of renters and in particular those living in RC or RS apartments who are somewhat insulated from the true nature of market forces, this is to be expected.

          And I’ll tell you something else many don’t want to hear; fare box recovery rates for the MTA are near or under 40%. Toll revenue makes up about 12% and dedicated taxes (sales, petroleum business tax, certain NYC real estate transfer, payroll) are about 40%, with the smallest contribution from state and local aid.

          Thus clearly all those “private cars” many of you moan about are what is keeping your public transit butter stuck to its’ bread. In the absence of petrol taxes and tolls a short fall would be created. The obvious solution to look for that missing revenue would be an increase in fares. That would be a horror to many because God forbid those who use NYCT should bare the cost of keeping it running.

          • Ecobill says:

            Mass transit should be FULLY paid for out of tax revenues, just like police and fire protection and trash collection. Why? Because just as with the aforementioned examples it serves to meet a basic need of a great many of our City’s residents. Mass transit provides transportation in a highly efficient way, much, much more effectively than the privately owned car. This idea of each person getting the most for himself or herself has become all too prevalent and is antithetic to nature of cities and of humanity. If taxes are too low to support our nation’s cities, then it is time to raise the money from those at the top. They never seem to have enough anyway.

      • Amy says:

        What Sid said.

        • Ish Kabibble says:

          Agree, BUT… If what this says is true, that people who were legally parked the day the signs were installed were ticketed the same day the signs were installed, that is just wrong. I hope the city takes care of those (few) impacted in that case. Otherwise, yes, the less cars, the better!

      • Mark says:

        So is health care.
        A privilege, not a right.

        • ScooterStan says:

          Re: “So is health care. A privilege, not a right.”

          Well…gosh-durn; seems that Universal Health Care IS a right in all them Yoo-row-pean countries, like England, Italy, France, Germany, and a whole bunch of others.

          So if the Yoo-Ess-Ay is SO EXCEPTIONAL (to hear Sarah Palin tell it) how come we can’t have it also ??

          And wanna know another area in which we don’t make the cut?? It’s PAID MATERNITY LEAVE for new Mom’s. Seems EVERY country BUT FOUR offers PAID MATERNITY LEAVE. Which four? It’s
          Papua New Guinea, AND:
          the Yoo-Ess-of-Ayy.

          Yup, we’re right up there…………….with some fourth-world countries.

        • Mark says:

          Dear Not the Real Mark,
          Care to explain your logic and the relationship that it has to this thread?
          This should be interesting…

          • GG says:

            Yeah, I thought that comment was a little inconsistent with your views.

            Nothing wrong with disagreement and healthy debate but shady stuff should always be exposed. (I’m looking at you Trump)

            I’ll admit it’s hard to remain open minded about politics when some of these Republicans wouldn’t care if people, in the richest country in the history of the world, were dying in the street without decent medical care. Their own constituents in many cases.

            These politicians sicken me…literally. Thank god I’m covered and could actually go see a doctor.:)

        • Cato says:

          Die, poor people, die!

      • Ted says:

        @ Sid

        The Oxford English Dictionary defines privilege as follows:

        ” a. A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by an individual, corporation of individuals, etc., beyond the usual rights or advantages of others; spec. (a) an exemption from a normal duty, liability, etc.; (b) enjoyment of some benefit (as wealth, education, standard of living, etc.) above the average or that deemed usual or necessary for a particular group (in pl. sometimes contrasted with rights).”

        So in the sense that parking spaces can only be employed by people with vehicles to park you are correct. A person who does not have a vehicle can not use a parking space.

        Despite that rather obvious assertion the benefit of street parking is in fact that it is more akin to a right than a privilege. Paid parking is a classist, and racist system that requires an individual to have considerably more income than a system where there is street parking. Vehicle ownership is a necessity for a broad cross section of society and there are many circumstances where it is a necessity.

        As is typical with parochial groups in NYC you seem to hold the view that maximum utility is derived from changes that benefit people with your point of view. Bicyclists want bike lanes. Pedestrians want Barnes Dances. Car owners want delivery trucks off the street. City planners have to maximize utility for all residents, which includes each group above.

        The MTA is a confounding force in this planning because despite the promise that mass transit holds, poor performance by the MTA in terms of service and reliability make “improvements” they tout that come at a cost to other groups suspect.

        When the MTA can stop their longstanding habit of raising prices while cutting service, mass transit solutions in NYC will regain some credibility. Until then count me out.

        PS I am assuming you did not intend this alternate meaning of privilege from the OED:

        “An entitlement enjoyed by all the inmates of a penal or psychiatric institution as part of the normal regime, but which the authorities may withdraw as a punishment.

        • Will says:

          B.B. trying to argue that his personal car, which inefficiently carries 4-6 people, should be considered equivalent to public transportation. Enough of this. If you want to pay your fair share, you and all drivers should pay for street parking what these garages charge.

          • Ted says:

            Your comparison is deeply flawed. Public transportation would not actually make maximum use of resources for 24 hours daily. Minimal use would occur late at night when the demand for parking by city residents would be at its peak. Again your view is parochial and ignores the needs of vehicle owners. It also ignores that the pricing of private parking discriminates on the basis of race and income level. Not everyone who owns a car is a 1% wallstreeter.

    2. Marssha says:

      There will always be some people inconvenienced by changes to something as city-basic as traffic. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also clear that stronger public transportation is vital to economic development, quality of life, and quality of planet.

    3. Mark Moore says:

      I’m down with making buses faster but I really don’t like when they put bus lanes adjacent to the sidewalk. You’re walking down the street and bus zips by inches from your head.

    4. Cats meow says:

      While DOT is at it, they need to observe turn onto 79th from Columbus which remains dangerous for pedestrians crossing both Columbus and 79th, the new and improved lane markings notwithstanding. Intersection needs a right turn only light with no pedestrian crossing. Last Sun., only 3 cars a light could get through leading to risky driver behavior.

      • Carlos says:

        Great point. I am 99% pedestrian and 1% driver but I feel for these drivers who can’t turn. A well enforced turn only light would be helpful. Pedestrians often tend to ignore the turn only lights so there should periodically be police officers there to enforce.

        And perhaps those who are able to should move at a decent pace across the street so cars can turn, rather than dawdling while looking at their phones. I recognize there are some who physically cannot move quickly and this comment is not directed at them, though those people should be careful about entering an intersection if they are unable to get across in time.

    5. Billy Amato says:

      It’s not working because the UPS/FedEx, delivery trucks and the yellow school buses are now sitting in this lane during darning the day making the M79 to go around them backing up traffic even more than it was before. there’s no enforcement.

    6. Ethan says:

      There’s no love lost for UWSers concerned about the disappearance of street parking. It’s like CEOs complaining they pay too much income tax. My heart bleeds borscht for you!

    7. Don T says:

      Isn’t half the UWS always seething about something?? Too much of this, not enough of that. Pretty unhappy group of people with way too much time on their hands to seethe about everything

    8. Cyrus says:

      This is fantastic news, I’m so happy SBS has come to the M79.

      As for parking, those drivers will adapt and find alternate places to park. Just like the drivers on 86th street did when they instituted the M86 a couple of years ago.

    9. Al Zimmerman says:

      Car owners should not feel entitled to free storage of their private property on public lands. Nor to very inexpensive temporary storage. If they can rent this spaces, they should also be available for any other uses, such as bicycle sparking, vendor stands, outdoor private gatherings, et. Stop the tyranny of the automobile!

    10. UWS mom says:

      I wouldn’t mind this new plan if it actually was effective. As it is, the plan does not address the real problem — commercial vehicles double parked and making traffic back up behind them. The changes do not address the problem and, in fact, seem to have made traffic worse, especially for west-bound vehicles. This was such a poorly thought-out and unnecessary plan.

      • B.B. says:

        Those commercial vehicles (FedEx, UPS, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, etc….) all double park because the cost of evitable parking tickets are simply seen as a cost of doing business and written off as such.

        Also nearly all commercial enterprises that have fleets participate in a NYC program that allows them to pay parking tickets at a bulk discount rate.

        This is why FedEx, UPS and other such drivers double park or whatever and merely go about their business even if a parking enforcement agent approaches and begins writing a ticket. Their marching orders are to deliver packages, complete service calls, or whatever quickly and on time.

    11. Justgothere says:

      Just stop the use of privately owned vehicles on Manhattan altogether…life will be much better

      • EGF says:

        I agree this option should be seriously considered in Manhattan. Not just because of parking, but more for traffic congestion. There are several European cities that have successfully implemented some form of restrictions on private vehicles in their cities.

    12. Liz says:

      A lot of those parking spaces are used–and needed–by people who work in the area like doormen and other building employees, newsstand employees, baristas and waitresses at the local restaurants, etc. They are not wealthy, often live in other boroughs or even states, and work long shifts.

      • young man! says:

        When I lived in Queens and worked on the UWS nobody cared that I had to take the subway in.

        Regarding doormen – the doormen in my building work 8 hour union shifts, probably like 95% of the doormen in the city.

        I have a car, but keep it in a garage – in Queens – I use it a couple times a week but it is useless in Manhattan.

        • B.B. says:

          You obviously know nothing about NYC building staff including doormen.

          Yes, many do work eight hour shifts and or are unionized, but what of it? Also what does that have to do with the issue at hand, parking?

          For your information many doormen, porters, and other building staff live in the outer boroughs, New Jersey, Long Island or even parts of Westchester. As such many do drive into “work” each day. Or do you presume the grand buildings along CPW and other parts of Manhattan supply apartments for their staff?

          It may come as a surprise to you but many of these doormen/building staff are actually homeowners, and commute to and from work just like many others who are employed in Manhattan but live elsewhere.

          • Mark says:

            That’s nice. They can take public transportation to their jobs just like other people who live in their neighborhoods.
            I have to admit – it’s pretty funny to watch you struggling to make car owners sound like victims.

    13. Lynn says:

      Let’s hope the bus drivers will wait for passengers to get tickets before they slam the doors. This is already a problem on 86th street.

      • lynn says:

        I’m thrilled that the SBS is coming to 79th street! I stopped using the regular bus line a few years ago because of the long waits/long lines and started walking down to 86th and taking the SBS there. The buses are on a regular schedule and always on time. Here’s hoping the 79th street line works out just as well.

        As for the people who are losing their parking spots, aren’t there any garages on the UWS? I don’t have a car but my coworkers park their cars in garages.

      • B.B. says:

        It isn’t a “problem” per se. Do you expect subway trains to wait because you are on the other side of turnstile but haven’t paid your fare, gone through and reached the platform?

        Neither trains nor buses are in theory supposed to wait because there will be another (sooner or later)following.

        Idea behind “Select Bus” service is to speed up the nearly universally slow cross town and many north-south bus routes.

        Yes, some bus drivers will wait for someone coming down or across the street. Others will open doors after bus has left the curb (which is in itself a violation of New York City Transit/MTA rules) but neither is required, and one at least can get a driver into trouble.

      • boopsie says:

        Why is there a ticket system al all? I leaned the hard way that they do not accept metro cards – the slots are covered up. And you’ll be fined $100 for not getting a ticket at the kiosk.

        • B.B. says:

          Sorry? What “slots were covered up” and which machines did not “accept Metro cards”?

          Unless machines were broken, newly installed and or not activated there shouldn’t be any of the issues mentioned. Have never had an issue with 86th street or any of the other SBS machines not accepting Metro Cards. This includes paying fare and or obtaining a ticket via transfer.

          If machines are not working in theory you are supposed to find another that is; such as when those at CPW and 86th are out of order on south side of avenue (frequently), one is supposed to cross and use the ones on north side.

          You can also in such instances take chances and not obtain a ticket, but that means explaining your reasoning to an MTA officer and hoping he or she buys the story and not issue you a summons.

        • Cat says:

          I’ve been using the SBS since it was first implemented on 2nd Avenue (before the subway construction started) and all of the machines take Metro cards. Twice the machines were out- of-order on B’way and 86th early in the morning and I took a pic of the screen (as did the other passengers) and showed it to the transit officers that boarded the bus. Both times they said, ‘no problem.’

        • B.B. says:

          Ok, while waiting for the M79 last night noticed the machines are not operable yet. However there are signs posted all over including on front of SBS ticket machines that the program won’t begin until Sunday, 21 May 2017.

          Now if you didn’t read those signs and or otherwise attempted to use any of the SBS machines along said route, well that is why it wouldn’t take your MC.

    14. Doug Garr says:

      Park your car in a garage.

    15. Nj says:

      The price of parking your car in a garage is expensive . The influx of bike stations and new bus situation is hard for those who have cars. Why do you all think that having a car is wrong? Why do we have to change after 30 years ? The speed of these changes is viseral, unsettling and stressful. Eventually will figure it out but taking away all these spots so quickly is painful.

      • Stephen says:

        Hello my UPS friends!
        This is great news! With Select Bus service from Broadway & 79 St. we can now get to the Metropolitan Musem of Art on Fifth Avenue in HALF THE TIME.
        No more tons of people taking 4 minutes to board the bus at CPW. No more packed buses on Fifth Avenue heading Westward that you can’t board because folks hate moving to the back of a bus. Now we can just board the back QUICKLY & more easily. Looking forward to Select Bus service on 79 Street with smart DESIGNATED Bus lanes…not getting us stuck in miserable stand still congested car and truck traffic!

        • Stephen says:

          Sorry, I meant UWS friends…not UPS!

          My Fellow Bus riders…not truck (and car) cloggers!

          This includes thousands of our Seniors and disabled passengers – who rely and require our buses for safe and efficiently faster transportation.

      • Mark says:

        If you can’t afford to park a car – don’t get a car.
        If you can’t afford 4 kids – don’t have 4 kids.
        If you can’t afford a trip to Paris, don’t take a trip to Paris.
        Really – it’s not so complicated.

        • Stephen says:

          Every sophisticated global world class city has SAFE, DESIGNATED & SEPARATED BUS and BICYCLE LANES …makes getting around safer and much faster. Unlike before…the new M79 Select Bus Service, our bus route will not make us late to doctor visits, lunch and dinner dates, meetings…and greatly REDUCE the travel time getting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue from Broadway & 79th St.
          MTA & DOT should roll out designated bus lanes and Select Bus service on ALL traffic routes – and designated COLOR MARKED Bicycle Lanes, too!

      • B.B. says:

        That plus there are fewer and fewer of them as many garages have been sold, torn down and land redeveloped.

        At least one or two garages on West 77th are now condos. The former Bowlmor bowling in Union Square was part of a complex that included a huge parking garage that has since been torn down, and property being redeveloped into luxury housing.

        In fact all over NYC but in particular Manhattan both gas stations, parking and service garages are disappearing at a very fast rate. High land values along with an insatiable demand from developers is making many garage owners very wealthy as they sell up.

        Garages and gas stations are easy and preferred pickings for developers as there aren’t residential tenants to worry about.

    16. Stephen says:

      From Broadway & 79th Street. –
      Now get to the Metropolitan Museum Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue & East 79 th Street – in HAVE THE TIME!
      No more jammed fronts of a bus with empty back spaces because people refuse to step to the back of a bus. We can now enter all the back doors…and greatly speed up Bus departures! No more waiting 3-5 minutes for boarding passengers on 79 th & CPW – always a slow moving time consuming ordeal. Now, DESIGNATED Bus lanes…not blocking the bus by cars and trucks in congested stand still traffic! Great News: M79 Select Bus Passengers.

    17. Jason says:

      In other words, we’re upset that those of us who spend three hours a week sitting in our cars to avoid alternate side tickets because we “work from home” (HA!!!) are going to have to do so from another block? Oh the horror. If only I had a job that allows me to “work from home” (HA!!!) and sit in my car three hours a week. . .

    18. B.B. says:

      Quite honestly shouldn’t get any hopes up that having “Select” bus service will make things go any faster on the M79 route. Lord knows it hasn’t made that much of a change along M86. Once on the bus perhaps, but wait times still are often long to very, as with all of the cross town buses.

      Waited at CPW and 79th for over thirty minutes earlier this evening (around 7PM) to get an eastbound M79. Meanwhile at least six buses went westbound, where they ended up who knows. As usual for this route people got tired of waiting and began hailing taxis.

    19. EGF says:

      I’ll never understand why anyone who lives and works in this great city of ours would even want to own a car. Talk about unnecessary expense and stress in your life!

      • B.B. says:

        Why own a motor vehicle in Manhattan?

        1. You live in Manhattan but work in NJ, Westchester, LI, or any of the outer boroughs.

        2. You live in Manhattan but have a place in the country.

        3. You moved to Manhattan from elsewhere and aren’t ready nor wish to give up the freedom that comes from owning your own automobile.

        4. You grew up in Manhattan but still want the freedom and so forth of owning a personal motor vehicle.

        Etc…., etc…., etc…

        Back when Fairway in Harlem was the only (debatable) decent choice for a supermarket with fresh produce and so forth, many on the UWS as elsewhere in Manhattan drive to NJ, Westchester, LI or Conn for their grocery shopping, with the first most common choice. This still goes on today.

        For all moaning you’d think Manhattan had a very high rate on average of car owners; but it does not, in fact it is the lowest of all five boroughs. Granted the two areas of highest ownership rates are those with also high incomes; UWS and UES.

        • Mark says:

          I agree with BB about why people living in Manhattan would want to own a car.
          But it sounds like those people could, in general, afford to park in a garage.

          • B.B. says:

            Garage parking either private/building garages or commercial is not cheap and costs have been going up.



            Many condo, co-op and rental buildings have increased fees for garage space to the point residents are opting for street or parking elsewhere.

            In fact only persons one knows who regularly use garages are those with leased expensive vehicles. That and or those with high enough incomes convenience trumps other options.

            For those that commute to work daily outside of Manhattan and or use their vehicle several times per week, a garage can be of dubious value. Again if you can afford the fees and or want the comfort of not having to look for parking… but that is a personal choice.

            Should like to point out owning a motor vehicle in Manhattan is nothing new or out of the ordinary.

            From Inwood down through West 50’s there once were plenty of car dealerships. All over the Westside, Eastside, and so forth there were also plenty of repair and parking garages. These places didn’t just exist for people who traveled into Manhattan.

        • D. D. says:

          Must be nice.

    20. Christina says:

      First and Foremost NYC is a Pedestrian city where Public Transportation is paramount!! Cars should accommodate!!!