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M3 bus on Madison Avenue

The New York City Transit Authority operates several local bus routes on the one-way pair of Madison Avenue (northbound) and Fifth Avenue (southbound) in Manhattan, New York City, United States. The M1 Fifth and Madison Avenues, M2 Fifth and Madison Avenues/Powell Boulevard, M3 Fifth and Madison Avenues/St Nicholas Avenue, and M4 Fifth and Madison Avenues/Broadway run along the avenues from Midtown into Harlem, and several primarily east-west routes, including the M30 57th/72nd Streets Crosstown and Q32 Roosevelt/Fifth Avenues, use portions of them. Many express buses from the north or the south also use Fifth and Madison Avenues. The M18 Convent Avenue, which does not presently run on these avenues (but did when first instituted), is a short-turn variant of the north portion of the M3.

The routes are the successors to the New York and Harlem Railroad's Fourth and Madison Avenues Line, which began operations in 1832 as the first street railway in the world, and several lines of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, a bus operator that started running on Fifth Avenue in 1886.

Contents

Description

The M1, M2, M3, and M4 all run between Midtown or Lower Manhattan and Upper Manhattan, while the Q32 runs from Midtown north along Fifth and Madison Avenues and east over the Queensboro Bridge to Jackson Heights, Queens. The southernmost route is the M1, for which half of the weekday trips run to South Ferry via Broadway (southbound) and Trinity Place, Centre Street, and Lafayette Street (all northbound). The rest of the M1 trips and all M2 and M3 trips turn around at Eighth Street, all three using slightly different paths. North of Union Square (14th Street), the M1 runs on Park Avenue in both directions, turning west on 39th Street (northbound) and 40th Street (southbound) to reach Madison and Fifth Avenues. The M2 and M3 both use Fifth Avenue north of Eighth Street (southbound) and Park Avenue north of Union Square (northbound), switching to Madison Avenue at 25th Street (northbound). The M4 and Q32 begin at Penn Station, joining Madison Avenue at 32nd Street (northbound) and Fifth Avenue at 34th Street (southbound). Thus, all five routes are on Fifth and Madison Avenues north of 40th Street.

The Q32 turns east on 59th Street (eastbound) and 60th Street (westbound) to reach the Queensboro Bridge, On the other side, it heads east on Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue to end at 81st and 82nd Streets and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights. The four other routes continue north on Fourth and Madison Avenues past Central Park. The M1 stays on those avenues to 135th Street, making several turns before turning around at Seventh Avenue and 146th and 147th Streets. The M2, M3, and M4 all turn west on 110th Street, turning north at various points. The M2 uses Seventh Avenue and Edgecombe Avenue, ending at Broadway and 168th Street. The M3 uses Manhattan Avenue and St. Nicholas Avenue to Fort George, and the M4 uses Broadway and Fort Washington Avenue to Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters. The M18 begins at the northeast corner of Central Park and heads west on 110th Street, north on Lenox Avenue, west on 116th Street, and north on Manhattan Avenue, Convent Avenue, and St. Nicholas Avenue to 168th Street, where the M2 also ends. All buses connect with subway service at various points on their route.

The M2 runs as a limited-stop service, with no local service during the daytime. Other times, service runs local only. The M1 and M4 also have peak directional limited-stop services.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

History

The Fifth Avenue Transportation Company (later the Fifth Avenue Coach Company) began operating stages on Fifth Avenue between 11th Street and 59th Street on January 23, 1886.[7] The company was formed because the wealthy residents of Fifth Avenue did not want a street railway. The route was later extended south to Washington Square Park and north to 89th Street, and in 1900 the company was authorized to extend north to 135th Street, and to operate on other streets including 110th Street and Riverside Drive to 124th Street.[8] More extensions, on 32nd Street from Fifth Avenue west to Seventh Avenue (Penn Station) and north from 110th Street on Seventh Avenue and Manhattan Avenue/St. Nicholas Avenue to 155th Street, were soon authorized. After the company's horse cars were replaced with motor buses in July 1907, it began operating these extensions, and assigned them numbers in 1916 or 1917:[9][10]

  1. Fifth Avenue to 135th Street
  2. Fifth and Seventh Avenues to Polo Grounds (155th Street and St. Nicholas Place)
  3. Fifth and St. Nicholas Avenues to Polo Grounds
  4. Fifth Avenue and Riverside Drive via 110th Street to 135th Street and Broadway
  5. Fifth Avenue and Riverside Drive via 57th Street to 135th Street and Broadway
  6. 72nd Street Crosstown via 57th Street

The Fifth Avenue Coach Company (FACCo) obtained a permit on July 1, 1925 and on July 9 began operating its 15 and 16 routes.[11] The 15 began at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street at Madison Square Park, and traveled north on Fifth Avenue, east via 57th Street to the Queensboro Bridge, and along Queens Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, and 25th Street (now 82nd Street) to Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Queens. The short 16 (Elmhurst Crosstown) began at Roosevelt Avenue and 82nd Street and used Baxter Avenue and Broadway to reach Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst.[12]

Even before the Fifth Avenue company began operating its coaches, the New York and Harlem Railroad was operating its Fourth and Madison Avenues Line of horse cars, later trolleys, mainly on Fourth Avenue below and Madison Avenue above 42nd Street (Grand Central Terminal). The Madison Avenue Coach Company, a New York Railways subsidiary,[13] started operating replacement buses on February 1, 1935. Several changes were made to the route: instead of the Bowery, a shorter alignment via Centre Street and Lafayette Street was used, and a variant stayed on Madison Avenue south to 26th Street and short-turned at Astor Place.[14] As part of the New York City Omnibus Corporation system (NYCO; also a New York Railways subsidiary), these two routes were numbered 1 (via Park Avenue) and 2 (short-turn via Madison Avenue).[15]

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Extensions and combinations

On July 17, 1960, Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue became a one-way pair. The NYCO's 4, which had traveled along Lexington Avenue, 116th Street, and Lenox Avenue to northern Harlem, was discontinued. To cover this travel pattern, the 1 was extended west on 135th Street and north on Lenox Avenue, and the 2 was realigned to turn west on 116th Street and north on Lenox Avenue.[16] The path of the 1 and 2 south of Union Square was changed on November 10, 1963 to use Broadway rather than Fourth Avenue and Lafayette Street, due to Lafayette Street becoming one-way northbound and Broadway becoming one-way southbound.[17]

Fifth and Madison Avenues became one-way streets on January 14, 1966, and the four FACCo routes on Fifth Avenue past Central Park and the two NYCO routes on Madison Avenue were combined into four routes on both avenues. In particular, the following changes were made:[18][19]

  • The NYCO's 1 (since extended to South Ferry) and FACCo's 1 were combined. The northbound route of the new 1 followed the old NYCO 1 along Park Avenue, 39th Street, Madison Avenue, 135th Street, and Lenox Avenue, and the southbound route used Lenox Avenue and 135th to join the old FACCo 1 at Fifth Avenue. Buses left the old FACCo route at 40th Street, heading south on the old NYCO route on Park Avenue and Broadway.
  • The NYCO's 2 and FACCo's 2 (since extended to 168th Street via Edgecombe Avenue) were combined. Again, the southbound route generally followed the FACCo's 2, and the northbound route was the NYCO's 2. North of 110th Street, the combined route had two variants, watching the two divergent routes. One followed the FACCo's 2 along 110th Street and Seventh Avenue, while the other used 116th Street and Lenox Avenue to 147th Street (NYCO's 2), continuing along Seventh and Edgecombe Avenues to 168th Street.
  • The FACCo's 3 (since extended to Fort George via St. Nicholas Avenue), 4 (since extended to Fort Tryon Park via Fort Washington Avenue, and ending at Penn Station in the south), and 15 were essentially moved northbound from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue south of 110th Street. Where it made a difference, the NYCO's 2 was more closely followed.

References

  1. ^ M1 bus timetablePDF (281 KB), effective September 2009
  2. ^ M2 bus timetablePDF (265 KB), effective September 2009
  3. ^ M3 bus timetablePDF (223 KB), effective September 2009
  4. ^ M4 bus timetablePDF (227 KB), effective September 2009
  5. ^ M18 bus timetablePDF (148 KB), effective summer 2009
  6. ^ Q32 bus timetablePDF (247 KB), effective June 2009
  7. ^ New York Times, Fifth-Avenue Stages Running, January 24, 1886, page 2
  8. ^ "Can Extend Its Lines". Brooklyn Daily Eagle: p. 2. August 2, 1900. http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1900/08/02&Page=2&skin=BE.  
  9. ^ New York Times, Remember Figures Better than Colors, June 25, 1916, page XX9
  10. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac, 1916 and 1917
  11. ^ New York Times, Listing of Routes Hit by Strike, March 5, 1962, page 47; New York Times, Buses Running, March 23, 1962, page 21
  12. ^ New York Times, Plans to Link All Suburban Transit, July 10, 1925, page 19
  13. ^ New York Times, Bus Grants Asked on 8th and 9th Avs., February 7, 1935, page 3
  14. ^ New York Times, Swift Buses Oust Madison Trolleys, February 1, 1935, page 23
  15. ^ New York City Omnibus Corporation Motor Coach Routes, ca. 1940
  16. ^ New York Times, One-Way Bus Schedules Given For Lexington and 3d Avenues, July 12, 1960, page 37
  17. ^ New York Times, City to Extend One-Way Traffic To 3 Manhattan Routes Sunday, November 5, 1963, page 1
  18. ^ New York Times, Barnes Suggests Express Bus Runs, January 17, 1966, page 1
  19. ^ New York Times, One-Way Avenues Slow Bus Traffic, January 26, 1966, page 32

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