<< Back

Transportation & Environment

Requests by the AMAC School on East 17th Street to the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation

WHEREAS, The Association for Metroarea Autistic Children (AMAC) is located at 25 West 17th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, and is a school serving special needs students of all ages who fall within the autism spectrum; and

WHEREAS, The school's students are transported to and from the school by buses contracted to the Department of Education (DOE) on a daily basis; and

WHEREAS, The students may only access the school using the AMAC entrance on the north side of 17th Street due to safety concerns; and

WHEREAS, The students require personal, individual assistance while entering and exiting the school buses; and

WHEREAS, Each morning and afternoon the school's 1-on-1 supervisory procedures result in extended loading and unloading times, often exceeding an hour; and

WHEREAS, The area for student drop-off and pick up is limited to a 100-foot No Parking from 7am – 4pm / School Bus Loading Zone (recently expanded from 70 feet) in front of the school; and

WHEREAS, Approximately 30 buses serve the school twice daily; and

WHEREAS, Only 4 buses can fit in the designated Loading Zone simultaneously; and

WHEREAS, Buses serving the AMAC school regularly flout school procedure and arrive early, routinely hours in advance of their scheduled pick-up time; and

WHEREAS, The buses consistently interfere with the flow of traffic by double parking and dangerously cutting across traffic lanes; and

WHEREAS, The buses often fail to properly engage their flashing warning lights, necessary for passenger protection; and

WHEREAS, 17th Street is an important thoroughfare across Manhattan, allowing motorists to turn south at the West Side Highway; and

WHEREAS, The resulting traffic congestion leads to significant delays and constant honking, which in turn disrupts local residents and businesses; and

WHEREAS, The AMAC school now shares the block with the newly-constructed PS 340, located on the southeast corner of 17th Street and 6th Avenue, which also serves certain special needs students; and

WHEREAS, Student pick-up/drop-off for PS 340 currently occurs on the south side of 17th Street, requiring buses with standard doors (on the right-hand side) to block all traffic lanes during loading and unloading times; and

WHEREAS, The construction of a new 16-floor residential building at 10 West 17th Street, is expected to further adversely affect vehicular traffic on the block; and

WHEREAS, Many of the interested stakeholders, including representatives from AMAC, DOE, DOT, the New York Police Department (NYPD), local building owners, and local residents met with Community Board Five's Transportation and Environment Committee on February 22nd, 2016 to discuss the issue; and

WHEREAS, After a robust discussion of the situation the parties agreed to a plan to improve the situation; and

WHEREAS, Specifically under the resulting plan:

1)      DOE will inform the school bus drivers that they may not arrive more that 15 minutes prior to their scheduled time; and

2)      DOE will empower AMAC to monitor the situation and issue to those buses that fail to comply with DOE regulations official "Violations," which will result in fines against the drivers; and

3)      DOE initially will station representatives at AMAC with some degree of regularity to insure the procedure runs smoothly; and

4)      DOT will investigate lengthening the School Bus Loading Zone (at least temporarily, during the construction of 10 West 17th Street, but perhaps permanently) in front of the AMAC school to create more space for the buses; and

5)      DOE will try to reserve more "2-door" buses (meaning, buses with passenger doors on the left side of the bus) for drop-offs and pick-ups at PS 340, allowing for safer passenger activity on the south side of 17th Street; and

6)      DOT will consider designating the east side of 6th Avenue at 17th Street as a school bus loading zone for PS 340, which would decrease the number of buses blocking traffic on 17th Street; and

7)      NYPD will allow AMAC and DOE to monitor the situation and enforce DOE's regulations and will only step in as a last resort; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five recognizes that the traffic situation on 17th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues has been difficult for many years and stands to further deteriorate absent immediate action; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval the AMAC School's request for the Department of Education to enforce bus drivers to obey traffic regulations and school procedures for the drop-off and pick-up of special needs students and for the Department of Transportation to lengthen the bus loading zone in front of the school on the north side of 17th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues; and therefore be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends that DOE and/or NYPD assign a crossing guard, traffic agent, or bus manager to the block on a more permanent basis during the loading and unloading periods.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter