In response to the New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) cancellation of the 125th Street Select Bus Service (SBS) project last month, three Upper Manhattan leaders have written letters to the agency in support of restarting the project. Last week State Senator Adriano Espaillat and New York City Council Candidate Mark Levine wrote letters urging the project be restarted, and just yesterday City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito reiterated her support for the project with a letter to NYC DOT as well.
Mark-Viverito calls on NYC DOT to “re-engage” in the project, and highlights that “almost 75 percent of households in Manhattan’s Community Board 11 do not have access to a vehicle, and over 70 percent of CB 11 residents commute via public transportation.” Council member Mark-Viverito goes on to write that “discontinuing this project is a huge disservice to my constituents.”
The support of these elected officials might make the difference in getting this project moving again. These letters show the range of political support for SBS along 125th Street, which was drowned out by opposition from a small, but vocal, minority. And, given that Mark-Viverito is the Co-Chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, which has included expansion of SBS as part of its platform, her endorsement of the project elevates the benefits of SBS beyond the 125th Street corridor. There might finally be hope ahead for the 35,000 daily bus riders, thousands of pedestrians, and business and residents in the Harlem community—and you can thank these transit champions for that.