Straphangers looking to get around Parkchester received some good news.
The MTA has submitted a proposal that will launch the new Bx4A and Bx24 bus services to serve the Parkchester and other communities previously served by the discontinued Bx14. The NYC Transit Committee voted to approve the new bus routes at their MTA Bus Committee meeting on Monday, October 25, according to an MTA spokeswoman. The new routes will be voted on by the full MTA board on Wednesday, October 27. The Bx4A route would serve Parkchester.
The Bx4A would essentially be a new branch of the Bx4 bus route that operates along the Westchester Avenue corridor.It would serve Metropolitan Avenue between Hugh Grant Circle and Westchester Square and would operate along the route path of the discontinued Bx14 bus to the Westchester Square/East Tremont Avenue 6 subway station. Assemblyman Peter Rivera, who led several recent rallies for the MTA to restore service to the entire length of Metropolitan Avenue from Hugh Grant Circle to Castle Hill Avenue, hailed the vote as a victory for the Parkchester community.
“The Bx14 service cut affected senior citizens, disabled persons, and hard-working commuters,” Rivera said. “For many, this route was the lifeblood of their ability to traverse the city and earn a livelihood. The community of Parkchester needs this bus route. I applaud the MTA for listening to the community and drafting a proposal to create the Bx4A.”
The proposed service would operate between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10:45 p.m., with weekday waits of 14 to 20 minutes during peak hours and 24 minutes during off-peak hours. Margaret Walsh, president of the Parkchester South Condominiums, said that bus service across Metropolitan Avenue from Castle Hill Avenue through Parkchester to Hugh Grant Circle, is essential for seniors who cannot walk long distances.
“The proposed new route runs through the spine of Parkchester,” Walsh said. “People who live closer to Castle Hill Avenue find that it is a long walk to Hugh Grant Circle. We are very happy to be able to have a bus available for transportation to the subway. I think that it is wonderful the MTA finally listened to their customers.”
Walsh said that the walk from Castle Hill Avenue to the Parkchester-East 177th Street station at Hugh Grant Circle is the equivalent of about 10 blocks. Ronald Savage, 76th Assembly Democratic district leader and president of the United Coalition Association said that the new route, which also will include a modified Bx8 bus service in other communities, is a major win for Parkchester and surrounding communities.
“This is a great development, and I am glad that we stuck it out on this one,” Savage said. “It just goes to show that there is strength in numbers and that you need unity in the community to get positive changes made. I am so happy for the seniors and the disabled because they no longer have to pay to take cabs or wait for Accces-A-Ride. Many of the seniors are on fixed incomes and cannot always pay for a cab out of their own pockets, and many times cannot arrange for a family member to give them a ride.”