Bus bulbs are coming to the northeast section of Westchester Avenue, whether the community wants them or not.
The NYC Department of Transportation plans to install bus bulbs at key corners along Westhcester Avenue in Zerega and Pelham Bay, angering some members of Community Board 10 who in 2012 voted against its installation.
Two have already been installed at Zerega Avenue, and another is being built at Middletown Road, stated a DOT spokeswoman.
Bus bulbs are sidewalk build-outs at corners that seamlessly connect the existing sidewalk from the curb line to bus stops situated in the street near the el pillars.
They are designed to enhance pedestrian safety, but critics say they impede traffic flow in the lane closest to the sidewalk and eliminate parking spots.
“I spoke to some of the merchants on Zerega and Westhcester avenues, and they are up in arms over them,” said Bob Bieder, a merchant activist and CB 10 member who added that the city never notified the community prior to the installation.
“They are taking away parking, they are taking away a lane of traffic and they are creating a hazard,” he said, adding that it will create a traffic nightmare and it is a disgrace that CB 10 was not notified.
John Marano, who is also a CB 10 member, said that initially the board voted down bus bulbs for the board service area.
CB 10 has a scheduled a meeting with DOT officials to discuss the situation, said its district manager Kenneth Kearns, who added that it is possible that under the previous administration DOT might have had more latitude to exempt certain areas.
“For us, it is the principle of the situation,” said Kearns, “It is that we told you ‘no’.”
Marano said, “It is frustrating that we voted it down and DOT takes it upon themselves to do it anyway,” he said, adding that driving under an el at these locations is difficult enough.
A DOT spokeswoman stated that the bus bulbs in CB 10 were installed after a thorough review.
“While DOT sought to minimize the loss of on-street parking on Westchester Avenue, the overall safety and accessibility improvements provided by the bus bulbs were weighed against the loss of several parking spaces,” the spokeswoman stated in an e-mail.
“The sidewalk extension project at these locations is part of an initiative to increase safety and accessibility at bus stops located under elevated trains.”
Accessing the Bx4 bus line under Westchester Avenue is especially important for elderly and handicapped riders, who may not be able to climb stairs to reach the elevated train, the spokeswoman stated.