Community Board 9 votes bus lane on Story Ave. down

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CB9 votes down a plan to put a bus lane on Story Ave. and White Plains Rd.
Courtesy of DOT

While the Department of Transportation thinks installing a bus lane on Story Ave. between Bronx River and White Plains Road will improve traffic, residents think it is a terrible plan.

On May 20, Community Board 9 discussed the DOT’s proposal and not a single person voted in favor of it. As the congestion on the Bruckner and the Bronx River is already bad, most people think this will only add fuel to the fire.

With slow bus speeds, double parking/loading and long distances between pedestrian crossings, the proposed project aims to improve bus service on Bx5, enhance east-west connections and support future changes that would increase bus frequency on the corridor.

Board member Nicholas Himidian did not bite his tongue and questioned how people who don’t live in the borough can justify these changes.

“This should be tabled,” he exclaimed. “We should not allow this to happen. It’s not going to change anything here.”

As alternate side parking spaces will be repurposed during daytime bus lane hours and preserved for overnight parking, Himidian and other residents think it would drastically change the neighborhood.

Parking is already a challenge in the Bronx and it seems DOT want to make things even more difficult, he said.

Furthermore, he demanded more studies be done and in person meetings be held.

“You (DOT) don’t know what the hell you’re doing,” he shouted. “You don’t live here. The MTA and the DOT are full of it. If the Bruckner is going to take four years, this decision should take four years.”

According to Himidian, this would not take a place in a wealthy community.

Fellow board member Twywana Bush shared his sentiments.

“I think it’s a horrible idea and they need to shelf it,” she stated. “I’m advocating for everyone in this neighborhood who needs to park.”

The plan calls for curbside bus lanes on Story Ave. between Bronx River Ave. and White Plains Rd, a northbound left side bus lane on Bronx River Ave., updated curb regulations on Story Ave. between Fteley Ave and Croes Ave., and on Story Ave. at Underhill, consolidated bus stops between Bronx River Ave. and White Plains Rd. and curbside bus lanes on White Plains Rd. between Story Ave. and Lafayette.

Assistant District Manner Shirley Alonzo explained that DOT presented the plan to the CB9 Public Safety and Transportation Committee in April, but it was tabled and the board reached out to businesses and residents on Story Ave. to see how they felt about it.

“We’re more or less amenable to the proposal, but the traffic pattern to the Bronx River needs to be addressed before this is approved,” she said.  “It’s kind of hard to fathom how the bus service will increase. Once the bus service gets down to the Bronx River they get stockpiled.”

Alonso will be sending the DOT a letter telling them the board disapproved of the plan and the conditions they want to see addressed.

However, DOT has plans to implement this project this summer.