Trump Tower bus stop to return

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MTA will restore southbound stop removed due to security concerns after 2016 election


  • Photo: Michael Garofalo">

    For two years, buses have bypassed a former stop near Trump Tower due to heightened security in the area. Photo: Michael Garofalo

“We have to balance the security needs of the city with the ability of people to get around and use their neighborhood ... the situation has improved since November 2016 and this is another example of it continuing to improve.”

Council Member Keith Powers

Since Donald Trump was elected president in the fall of 2016, the area surrounding his Midtown residence — to say nothing of the rest of the country — has experienced severe disruptions.

While protests at Trump Tower have ebbed in frequency over the last year, police barricades still line the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue, penning in crowds of gawking tourists. Security checkpoints loom outside the 58-story building, which is staffed by the NYPD and Secret Service around the clock. Traffic is often snarled in the area, due in part to the continued closure of 56th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues.

But a small measure of normalcy will soon return to the neighborhood with the restoration of a longstanding Fifth Avenue bus stop, in front of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church between 55th and 56th Streets, which was removed due to security concerns after the 2016 election.

By the end of November, southbound M1, M2, M3, M4, M5 and Q32 buses will once again pick up and drop off riders in the shadow of Trump Tower, according to officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the NYC Department of Transportation.

The stop’s two-year absence left a gap of more than a third of a mile between stops, forcing passengers to walk to their destinations from as far as 60th Street or 52nd Street.

“There are eight blocks without any local bus stops, which of course is pretty inconvenient for people who live in between,” said David Achelis, the president of the West 50s Neighborhood Association and a member of Community Board 5, who lives in the neighborhood and was one of a number of local residents who lobbied for the stop to be restored.

Jeanette MacDonald, who frequently visits the area, said that the removal of the bus stop made it more difficult to get to the neighborhood, particularly for older riders who have difficulty walking long distances. She questioned why the stop couldn’t have returned sooner. “It’s amazing that two years have gone by in which everyone has been inconvenienced, yet now they’ve decided that it’s safe for the stop to be there as if something had suddenly changed,” MacDonald said.

In an emailed statement, MTA spokesperson Amanda Kwan wrote, “Through close coordination with the NYPD and NYCDOT, we requested and were granted permission to restore those stops to ease our customers’ mobility, safety and access to our buses.”

Keith Powers, who represents East Midtown in the City Council, reached out to the MTA on behalf of constituents to ask that the stop be reopened. Dan Garodnick, Powers’ predecessor in the Fourth Council District, had made the same request in early 2017, but the stop remained inactive due to security concerns during the period, when Trump’s wife, Melania, and son Barron were still residing in Trump Tower. (Melania and Barron Trump moved to the White House in June 2017.)

“Because of some of the security dynamics in the area had changed, we were able to get it restored,” Powers said.

“We have to balance the security needs of the city with the ability of people to get around and use their neighborhood,” Powers said. “This is a unique situation with the president having a residence in our neighborhood, but I think the situation has improved since November 2016 and this is another example of it continuing to improve.”

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