Following a year of complaints, residents of Pelham Gardens are still infuriated at New York City buses driving through their residential streets affecting their quality of life.
To accommodate the addition of Sports Professions High School, which occupied the schoolyard of M.S. 144, located 2545 Gunther Avenue, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority designated City buses to pick up the students at M.S. 144.
Soon after taking effect, Pelham Garden residents noticed the buses using residential blocks as a short cut to reach the school or as a parking spot while waiting for the specified release time to arrive at the school.
“These are buses that have finished their route and are free of passengers that go to M.S. 144 to pick up students and then proceed on what would be their regular route,” said John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11.
Sightings of the misdirected buses are most frequent along Tiemann and Mace avenues.
“This is a side street and the City buses have no right coming through this block. There are children and retired people here and the buses go through so quickly you don’t have a chance to get the number for the complaint,” said Mary Ferrara, resident of Tiemann. “It’s not as often as it was in the beginning, but I don’t want to look out my window and see these buses traveling back and forth.”
Ilene Lundberg, a resident of Mace Avenue, sees the buses driving down her block and halting for the stop sign at Kingsland Avenue each day around 2 p.m. on the way to M.S. 144.
“We are a private area. They come down Mace instead of going along Allerton Avenue down to E. Gun Hill Road and around to Gunther, the way they are supposed to be,” said Lundberg. “They think they can take a shortcut.”
Other locals, such as Hazel Glover, have caught the buses, with the driver inside, parked along Mace Avenue.
“The MTA said the buses were parking on side streets because of the barriers put up on Gunther for the students, but in a meeting with M.S. 144 it was explained that the barriers would be moved for the buses,” said Vinny Prezioso, president of the Northeast Bronx Association and member of CB11.
According to Fratta, meetings have occurred in the past to help reduce the problem, but another gathering will be scheduled with M.S. 144 principal Katina Lotakis, representatives from the MTA, Prezioso and himself to finally resolve the issue.
As of press time the MTA was unable to confirm the specific bus lines assigned to M.S. 144.
People that see these buses along residential streets are encouraged to record the time, location and bus number and report the complaint to the MTA, CB11 and Councilman Jimmy Vacca.