Residents of Pelham Gardens can rest easy knowing they will no longer hear the rumbling of New York City buses driving down their private blocks.
For the past year complaints have been heard from frustrated homeowners having to bear noisy buses traveling down their blocks on enroute to pick up the students from M.S. 144.
On Thursday, May 14, a meeting was held at M.S. 144 with Principal Katina Lotakis, John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11, Vinny Prezioso, president of the Northeast Bronx Association, representatives from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and representatives of Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.
“The MTA committed to having the buses at M.S. 144 within a certain time period that way the buses won’t be riding through the community,” said Fratta. “I think we hit a home run.”
The situation was caused by barriers that blocked off Gunther Avenue during dismissal for student safety.
According to Prezioso, the bus drivers claimed they were unable to get around the barriers and therefore were forced to use an alternative route along Mace and Tiemann avenues, instead of using Allerton Avenue, to pull down Gunther Avenue, turning onto Lodovick Avenue, where the students are picked up.
“It was a very productive meeting and we left very satisfied,” said Prezioso. “In the past we haven’t come to an agreement, but it seems we have a solution to the problem.”
The barriers will be removed for the 2:20 p.m. dismissal from 2 to 2:15 p.m., and for the 3:10 p.m. dismissal from 2:45 to 3:05 p.m.. Due to scheduling conflicts, one of the five buses sent to pick up the students must travel along Tiemann till the end of the school year.
“After hearing from concerned residents I was able to set up a meeting between local community leaders and the MTA,” said Vacca. “At the meeting transit officials gave their assurance that local buses would stay off of residential streets in the Pelham Gardens community. Over the coming days and weeks, we will be monitoring local streets to make sure the MTA sticks to its agreement.”
If problems persist, residents are encouraged to contact Vacca, CB11, the NEBA or the MTA.