Edgewater Pk. fights to keep Bx8 Sunday service

Petition organizer Susan Gillen (center) hands Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Councilman Jimmy Vacca more than 600 hundred signatures in favor of saving Bx8 bus service on Sundays. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

A petition that has garnered over 600 signatures in favor of keeping the Bx8 bus operating on Sundays in the wake of scheduled MTA cuts was presented to Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Councilman Jimmy Vacca on Saturday, December 20.

The Bx8, which services Edgewater Park and other parts of eastern Throggs Neck, is scheduled to be cut by the MTA to help meet a huge budget shortfall. The area would be without city-provided mass transportation.

Those who use the bus on Sundays to leave the isolated shoreline community and go to church or shopping in Pelham Bay or E. Tremont Avenue will be out of luck if they don’t own a car.

“I E-mailed Councilman Vacca and he said that I should start a petition drive to keep the bus on Sundays,” said Susan Gillen, an Edgewater Park resident who organized the call for signatures. “We put the petition into two delis and a Dunkin Donuts along the bus route. You can imagine the amount of signatures we would have gotten if I went to the Crosby Avenue part of the route. We will be stranded here and we need to get to church, work, and other places on Sunday.”

The Bx8 bus runs from Locust Point through Edgewater Park and other parts of Throggs Neck and into Pelham Bay. The bus route terminates at E. 226th Street and White Plains Road.

“In the late 1980s we fought to preserve to the Bx40 bus, and then they gave us the Bx8,” said Vacca. “Without the Bx8 bus, residents will not be able to go shopping on Crosby Avenue, Buhre Avenue, or the rest of Pelham Bay.”

Members of the Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department also helped to collect signatures, which were presented to the assemblyman and councilman in hopes of getting the MTA to rescind its plans and keep the route operating for the entire weekend.

“Once the MTA cuts the Bx8, the next thing that will be cut will be the express bus to Manhattan,” said Todd Hernandez, of the EPFD.

Ever since the Bx8 replaced the Bx40, residents of Edgewater Park wishing to shop on E. Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck have had to transfer at Westchester Square, further inconveniencing them even when bus service runs seven days a week.

The cuts to the Bx8 bus are part of larger MTA cuts, which will cut off Bx14 bus service completely to Spencer Estate and Country Club.

“I think that this is crippling weather, and proof that these cuts will be felt by those who use the bus,” said Keith Freder, president of the Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative. “They are going to raise our property taxes, and give us less services.”

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