Bx12 rerouted to avoid Pelham Bay Park loop, though just heading eastbound

photo of a bus on a bus lane
The new road design around the Pelham Bay Park station adds short bus lanes in hopes of improving commute times.
Photo courtesy NYC DOT

The Bx12 has been rerouted near the top of the 6 train to save time, though the change is only for eastbound buses.

The Pelham Bay Park 6 train station is a major transfer point for Bronxites, with bus connections to Co-op City and City Island, neither of which are serviced by the subway. The station services the Bx12 Local and Select Bus Service (SBS) — which the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) said is the borough’s busiest bus line — as well as the the Bx5, Bx23, Bx24, Bx29 and Q50.

As part of the MTA and DOT project, a contraflow bus lane headed east was installed on Westchester Avenue between Burr Avenue and the northbound Bruckner Expressway Service Road, an area that previously consisted of only one-way traffic headed west.

The eastbound redesign for Bx12 buses headed toward Co-op City is meant to get rid of an inefficient loop that previously required the bus to go south and then north just to head east. The change is expected to shave an average of 2.5 minutes off of Bx12 SBS riders’ commutes as part of the agency’s Better Buses plan — which was released in 2019 under former Mayor Bill de Blasio — to increase bus speed and reliability, according to DOT.

The former Amendola Place eastbound Bx12 bus stop was replaced with a new stop on Westchester Avenue that has expanded sidewalk space.

a map shows how the new eastbound route diverts the unnecessary loop
A contraflow bus lane on Westchester Avenue now allows the eastbound Co-op City Bx12 route to divert a loop that the westbound Manhattan Bx12 route still takes. Map courtesy NYC DOT

A bus lane was also added on the Wilkinson Avenue overpass over the Bruckner Expressway for the westbound route that ends up in Manhattan. However, this route still takes the loop going south on Amendola Place before going north on Bruckner Boulevard, just like the former eastbound route.

The westbound route enters the loop from the Bruckner Expressway by taking a right turn on Westchester Avenue, the opposite direction of the new bus lane. If the westward route was rerouted, the bus stop would have had to be moved to the Westchester Avenue bridge over the Bruckner Expressway, which would present issues such as installing a fare machine on the bridge, creating a narrow sidewalk for riders waiting for the bus and a longer walk to the station, according to DOT spokesperson Scott Gastel. DOT did not comment on whether it would have been feasible for the bus to take that left turn.

Though the Manhattan-bound route doesn’t rid the loop, the Wilkinson Avenue bus lane will save some commute time during periods of congestion, according to DOT.

a map shows the former Bx12 routes
The former eastbound Bx12 route went south and north before headed east. Map courtesy NYC DOT

The project also brought new crosswalks to Westchester and Burr avenues, new stop signs at Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard North and new MTA bus layover space, according to DOT.

The DOT and MTA project covers just one-tenth of a mile, though it will impact thousands of riders, according to DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Easing bus-subway transfers like this make bus riding faster and more seamless — one of the ways that we can and will deliver on the equity improvements that Mayor Adams has charged us to deliver for the everyday New Yorkers who rely on buses,” Rodriguez said.

The project plan predates Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, with a presentation to Community Board 10 taking place in May 2021 and DOT beginning the work in  September 2021. Much of the project was done in the fall, with final touches completed this month ahead of the agency’s ribbon cutting on Monday, according to a DOT spokesperson.

Matthew Cruz, the district manager for Community Board 10, told the Bronx Times that while the board did not request the changes, members hope they will speed up bus commutes in the congested area.

“This will take some time getting used to for motorists to recognize that this is no longer a wider roadway,” Cruz said.

Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez said the station serves thousands of riders a day, and that the enhancements were long-overdue.

Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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