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Transportation & Environment

Request by Taxi Tours, Inc., dba Big Bus Tours New York, for a Sightseeing Bus Stop on Seventh Avenue between West 53rd and West 54th Streets.

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, December 08, 2022, the following resolution passed with a vote of 30 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Taxi Tours, Inc., dba Big Bus Tours New York, (“Applicant”) has applied for a sightseeing bus stop location on Seventh Avenue between West 53rd and West 54th Streets, located closer to West 53rd Street, on the west side of the avenue; and

WHEREAS, The current parking regulation at the proposed location is No Standing; and 

WHEREAS, The proposed bus stop would share the location with Gray Line New York Tours, Inc., another sightseeing company that entered a consolidation agreement with the Applicant in July 2020 and thus is currently not in operation, with no additional bus lines on the block, which is otherwise reserved for parking; and

WHEREAS, Pickups and drop-offs for the proposed location would be Monday to Sunday from 9:40 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. at a frequency of one trip every half hour, likely to consist of drop-offs only and occurring only on passenger request, which the Applicant does not expect to happen regularly since the proposed stop would be the penultimate stop before the bus terminates its route at West 48th Street and Seventh Avenue, where all passengers must disembark; and

WHEREAS, New York City Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has inspected and recommended the location between West 53rd and West 54th Streets and considers it appropriate and capable of accommodating another bus company; and

WHEREAS, DOT has not provided quantitative assessments of traffic and pedestrian safety at the proposed location for the new bus stop, and has not provided context explaining why their recommended location between West 53rd and West 54th Streets was considered most appropriate and why other nearby locations along the avenue were discounted; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant also applied for alternative locations for this stop on Seventh Avenue between West 48th and West 59th Streets, and is willing and able to operate their bus stop anywhere along those blocks; and

WHEREAS, Residents of the block between West 53rd and West 54th Streets have indicated that the block already suffers from congestion issues due to 

  1. a permanent enclosure from a restaurant that juts out and occupies half the available sidewalk, causing a bottleneck for pedestrians at the middle of the block, 
  2. a public plaza located at the same corner of the proposed bus stop, used for seating for another restaurant and where people loiter throughout the day,
  3. three city bus lines (i.e. the M20, M7, and M104) and other private bus companies making stops along the avenue, 
  4. private bus companies, including the Applicant, idling and parking along the avenue when and where they should not be, a longstanding and well-documented issue that has been occurring since before the pandemic began, and
  5. general vehicular traffic queuing on the corner to turn onto West 53rd Street; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five’s Transportation & Environment Committee therefore determined that there was widespread concern from local residents about adding a congestive bus stop on the recommended block, and there was broad consensus among committee members and residents that the existing bus stop on the block between West 52nd and West 53rd Streets on Seventh Avenue, closer to West 53rd Street, is a superior option for the proposed bus stop due to the wider sidewalk and commercial storefronts in that area, as well as the infrequency of stops made by the bus stop’s sole user, Hampton Jitney, Inc.; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant has expressed similar willingness to operate at this or other locations on the avenue north of West 48th Street; and

WHEREAS, Another existing bus stop on the block between West 56th and West 57th Streets on Seventh Avenue, in the middle of the block, is solely used by Top View Sightseeing and should also be considered for reasons similar to those listed above; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of DOT’s recommended location for a Taxi Tours, Inc. sightseeing bus stop on Seventh Avenue between West 53rd and West 54th Streets; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five strongly recommends that DOT considers more suitable locations for this bus stop on Seventh Avenue, as also amenable to the Applicant; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five requests that DOT seeks additional feedback from the community regarding other potential locations on the avenue, as well as provides context for its initial recommendation between West 53rd and West 54th Streets and any recommendations for alternate locations that will follow.

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