Pols call for more buses, but MTA is unmoved


Marilyn Capellan says during the summer, she can handle long waits for the Bx10 bus at the crowded stop where West 231st Street and Broadway meet. But during the school year, when she has a 9-year-old son in tow, things can get tricky.

“If you missed one bus, you’re stuck until like the next half an hour or 45 minutes,” Ms. Capellan, 27, said Monday night while waiting in line. “He’s like, can’t we take a cab? Can’t we just go? Because it’s a long wait.”

After receiving “countless” complaints from people like Ms. Capellan, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein are calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to add more buses to the Bx7 and Bx10 lines.

The politicians held a press conference on the matter on West 231st Street on August 7 after months of discussions with the MTA that they described as fruitless.

“It’s a very simple solution. More buses, less overcrowding. More buses, shorter weights. That’s what we’re asking for,” said Mr. Dinowitz.

While the officials criticized overcrowding, long waits and the vexing tendency for multiple buses to arrive all at once after such pauses, the MTA said it has no intention of making any changes.

Spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the MTA’s latest analysis shows adequate service on the Bx7 bus, which runs between Riverdale and Washington Heights, and the Bx10, which goes between Riverdale and Norwood.

He added that the body could “split” one of those lines to create a new route with more direct service between Riverdale and the West 242nd Street station, but that that would create even longer waits for some passengers. Mr. Ortiz also said such a line would run through residential neighborhoods — a tough sell to homeowners.

“Our Bus Operations unit will continue to monitor the bus stop at 231st Street and Broadway and work with the New York City Department of Transportation in order to find other ways to alleviate the congestion,” Mr. Ortiz concluded in an e-mail.

When asked what legislative tools local elected officials could use to pressure the MTA, Mr. Klein pointed out the body goes to the state legislature for funding. But he said it would be hard to allocate funds for specific buses. 

Mr. Dinowitz suggested the MTA is out of touch with commuters in the northwest Bronx.

“It’s easy for someone who’s in Manhattan or Brooklyn or wherever they are to say that there’s adequate service,” he remarked. “Maybe [MTA Chairman Thomas] Prendergast should visit us. We’d welcome him. Come here at 7 o’clock in the evening, when the worst of it is here.”

Most commuters said they would welcome more buses.

“You don’t want to miss one, because there’s not going to be one for a very long time,” said Miriam Kelly, 56. “In the winter, you don’t want to know!”

Still, one bus rider said she was actually against expanding service. Allison Blumgold said the intersection of West 231st Street and Broadway is too crowded and that more buses would only worsen the situation.

“They have too many vendors on the street. It’s starting to look like Fordham Road,” said Ms. Blumgold, 53. “There’s no need to add more buses… I don’t need to breathe in their exhaust.”


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Think it's bad now? Wait until after the grand opening of the TJMaxx & Aldi Supermarket on Broadway & 230th Street. With the addition of the new BJs mall opening and the recently opened Target/Marshals mall, there definitely needs to be expanded service on all the buses AND #1 train, specially the Bx10 & Bx7 lines!

There are a couple other simple solutions the MTA can implement to improve service:

1.Instead of ending at 231st & Riverdale Avenue, extend the Bx1 bus line to do the same stops the Bx7 does and end that line at 263rd and Riverdale Avenue with the Bx10 & Bx7. This will automatically improve service at the crowded 231st & Broadway stop.

2. Move the northbound Bx9 bus-stop from the busy and one lane corner of Broadway & 231st street to just one block up to 232nd and Broadway. When the northbound Bx9 bus stops at the current busy and narrow intersection it backs up traffic and the Bx7s behind it for several unnecessary minutes.

3. Most of the customers at 231st Street and Broadway bus-stop have just gotten off the uptown 1 train and are going west and north to Riverdale. Since there is such a huge ridership to Riverdale from Manhattan (and vice versa) the MTA should service that influx of travelers better. My solution is a simple shuttle bus that goes from 96th Street and Broadway (across the #1-2-3 subway station) and goes up the West Side Highway and across the Henry Hudson Bridge and stops in Central Riverdale (Henry Hudson & 232nd Street) and Northern Riverdale (Riverdale Ave & 263rd). This simple trip would only take about 10 minutes to Central Riverdale in light traffic. No "commercial" traffic is currently allowed across the Henry Hudson bridge but these simple shuttle buses would decrease traffic and congestion on the bridge (which is better for the environment) and improve the MTA customer's commute times. Also no "commercial" traffic is allowed on the Harlem River Drive either but the MTA got an exception for their BxM1 buses. The same should be done on Henry Hudson Bridge/West Side Highway.

I hope my ideas are well received by my fellow Riverdalians. Change in our town isn't easy however I hope that something gets done to help improve the quality of life (and property values) of our residents.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2014