Summer Launch Planned for Bx6 Select Bus Service

The route between Hunts Point and Washington Heights moves 25,000 riders a day.

Center-running bus lanes and islands for boarding are planned for 161st Street near the Bronx courthouse, where illegally parked drivers clog the street and block bus stops. Images: DOT
Center-running bus lanes and islands for boarding are planned for 161st Street near the Bronx courthouse, where illegally parked drivers clog the street and block bus stops. Images: DOT

Select Bus Service is coming to the Bx6, a major crosstown route in the South Bronx.

The Bx6 runs between Riverside Drive in Washington Heights and Hunts Point, crossing the Harlem River over the Macombs Dam Bridge. It connects to eight subway lines, 20 bus routes, and Metro-North, serving around 25,000 passengers a day. Three-quarters of households within a quarter-mile of the route don’t own a car.

Right now, it takes an average of 56 minutes to travel the westbound 4.8-mile route end to end. More than half the time, the Bx6 is either stopped for boarding, stopped at red lights, or crawling in traffic at less than 2.5 miles per hour.

In November 2015, the MTA and DOT introduced a plan to split the Bx6 into local and Select Bus routes. The agencies have made a number of community board presentations over the spring, and plan to launch Bx6 SBS this summer.

Eastbound traffic under the Grand Concourse would be limited to buses.
Eastbound traffic in the tunnel under the Grand Concourse would be limited to buses.

The most significant improvements are planned for the Bronx portion of the route, where Bx6 SBS will make 17 stops.

On 161st Street, DOT would widen sidewalks and limit eastbound traffic in the tunnel under the Grand Concourse to buses. (An exclusive busway was originally on the table for the westbound tunnel lane too, but a March 2017 presentation shows that option was discarded [PDF].)

On 161st at Sheridan and Sherman avenues, where illegally parked drivers outside the courthouse clog the street and block bus stops, buses will get center-running dedicated lanes, with stops on median islands. DOT also plans to add sidewalk space at the southwest corner of Sheridan and 161st Street, shortening the crossing distance across Sheridan. (Two Bronx streets along the Bx6 route — 161st Street and Hunts Point Avenue — have been singled out for Vision Zero safety upgrades, as have two intersections in the Bronx and one in Manhattan.)

The bus lanes will not be continuous along the whole route but two other sections in the Bronx will get them.

Most of the route’s mileage in Manhattan is on 155th Street. An eastbound travel lane on the 155th Street viaduct will be converted to a westbound queue jump lane for buses approaching Harlem River Driveway. DOT may also make signal timing adjustments to speed up traffic across the Macombs Dam Bridge.

  • Timothy Gatlin

    Why is the tunnel not transit-only? Is there a reason why the DOT would make this more confusing?

  • …to move cars.

    The way they’re doing it, though, it should be pretty easy to go ahead and make the westbound lane bus-only in the future.

  • HamTech87

    Did they mention the improvement in speed? And will it be used to increase frequency of service? I’d hate to see idling buses at ad hoc bus depots like for the M60 SBS on 106th & West End Ave.

  • AnoNYC

    Great news, I just asked about this one. Long delayed though.

    The two-way bus only tunnel is the better option by far, I proposed it on the survey not too long ago. The one-way is a cop out but will likely lead to a two-way tunnel in the future.

    And the bus lanes west of Southern Blvd MUST stretch to Westchester Ave at the very least.

    And East 163rd/E 161st Sts need significant traffic calming throughout.

    Any more meetings coming up? I want to see what they have planned at the intersection of Westchester Ave and E 163rd St. Dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.

    BTW, the western part of the BX 6 route is being upzoned soon.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Wow, actual BRT style lanes. Where are the curbs separating them though?

  • AnoNYC

    Only for the portion near the Grand Concourse.

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