Vacca to meet with MTA regarding Bx8

The backlash against the MTA’s new Bx8 bus route continues, and now city officials have jumped into the fight.

Throggs Neck residents want the MTA to recognize the flaws of its new bus route, and they’ve recruited community and merchant groups on their behalf.

In a closed-door meeting with community and merchant leaders on Tuesday, July 13 at Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office, those concerned gathered to express their frustrations about the new route of the Bx8, which replaced the Bx14 bus on June 27.

The Throggs Neck Merchants Association and Throggs Neck Home Owners Association have asked Vacca to hold a special meeting about issues that have developed.

Vacca brought in the Spencer Estate Civic Association and Country Club Civic Association members, who have been having problems with buses running too frequently as well.

He has been in touch with the MTA about the unforeseen negative impacts the new route has had on different communities throughout Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay, and is hoping to affect change soon.

“The bottom line is that the current bus configurations cannot stand as they now exist, as there have been too many negative impacts,” Vacca said. “As many of us warned, the elimination of the Bx14 was uncalled for. The MTA has got to realize that all is not well, step in, and correct what they have done.”

Three major concerns have arisen from different communities along the portion of the Bx8 running from Spencer Estate and Country Club to Locust Point and Edgewater Park, Vacca said.

Firstly, residents from Edgewater Park and Locust Point have been forced to add a significant amount of travel time to their morning and nighttime commutes because their bus follows a less direct route to and from the Pelham Bay IRT train station.

Secondly, residents living to the south of Layton Avenue are having a difficult time accessing St. Benedict Church, FoodTown at Crosby Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard, and the Northeast Bronx Senior Center inside Fr. Albert Hall in St. Benedict’s.

“Getting to the Northeast Bronx Senior Center and Sunday mass at St. Benedict’s Church is a major concern,” said Country Club Civic Association president Marcia Pavlica. “The Edgewater Park and Locust Point communities do not want to go all the way around the mulberry bush to get places. If you have a map of the route, the issues are right in your face.”

Finally, the frequency of buses running through Spencer Estate and Country Club has riled homeowners and tenants alike, especially on streets where they did not run under the Bx14 route.

These include Stadium and Dean avenues.

Residents feel the frequency of the buses is excessive, and have seen many empty buses pass by.

“It does not make sense,” Vacca said. “Why are there buses coming every two or three minutes in some cases?”

A representative from MTA New York City Transit said that a meeting is being planned soon with Councilman Vacca to go over possible solutions.

“Representatives from transit will visit with Councilman Vacca and address all of his concerns,” said Deirdre Parker, MTA New York City Transit spokeswoman.

“There will be representatives from government and community relations, road operations, and operations planning there.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393.

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