After huge protests last summer at Metropolitan and Westchester avenues, the MTA finally responded to the needs of Parkchester bus riders.
In response to the removal of the Bx14 bus line along Metropolitan Avenue during a service reduction in June, Parkchester residents called on the MTA to bring back a vital bus route to the community. They protested that they need a bus linking the northern portion of the condominium community near Castle Hill and East Tremont avenues with the IRT train station at Hugh Grant Circle, Westchester Avenue and East 177th Street.
The MTA responded by creating a new route on Metropolitan Avenue, effective Sunday, January 2, running the length of the street and stopping along the old Bx14 route. This route is necessary to help elderly and disabled residents from the northern part of the development reach the train station at Westchester Avenue with ease, Parkchester South Condominium president Margaret Walsh said.
“I think that a number of residents will like it because the bus comes down Metropolitan Avenue to the subway,” Walsh said. “So long as it runs down Metropolitan Avenue to Hugh Grant Circle, the residents will be happy. It shows that the MTA has listened to the concerns of some of their constituents.”
The Bx4A route will provide Parkchester residents with direct service between Westchester Square and the Hub at 3rd Avenue and East 149th Street, in addition to making stops along Metropolitan Avenue. Walsh called the route an odd configuration, but nevertheless felt it would do the job.
Assemblyman Peter Rivera, who led two protests at the end of the summer calling on the MTA to restore the Bx14 bus route, said that he expects that the new Bx4A will mitigate a lot of the effects of the former bus route.
“I know that the residents are trying to give the MTA the benefit of the doubt,” Rivera said. “We will be monitoring the situation very closely, but I don’t believe that we are going to be having too many issues with it. This is the time of the year to be positive.”
Councilman Jimmy Vacca, chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, said that he believed that the whole situation could have been resolved through a complete restoration of the Bx14 bus service, which the MTA did not do. Instead, Vacca said that the MTA gave the residents of Parkchester and other communities affected by the loss of the Bx14 “half a loaf.”
“Again, the Parkchester bus was a compromise,” Vacca said. “The issues with transportation in Parkchester could have been solved through a complete restoration of the Bx14, which the MTA has refused to do. The MTA has gone around the Mulberry bush and have made a lot of people unhappy, and I think history will bear that out.”