By STACY DRIKS
Travelers using Metro-North’s Hudson Rail Link bus line could have a longer trip if the city’s transportation department moves forward with the proposed redesign of Riverdale Avenue Road this summer.
“This can hamper the reliability of bus travel schedules, including the Metro-North rail link,” said Community Board 8 President Laurie Spalter. “Numbers 7, 10, 18, M1 and M2 (buses) turn around at the city line and park while waiting for their routes to begin.”
The transit agency has agreed to work with DOT to implement a plan that works for everyone, including MTA customers.
“The MTA is reviewing the DOT proposal for Riverdale Avenue to assess any impact on bus service, including the Hudson Rail Link,” MTA spokesman David Steckel said The press“The authority shares DOT’s commitment to safety and has an ongoing collaborative partnership with DOT to provide enhanced bus service throughout the city.”
A day after a March 31 Community Board 8 meeting, Spalter emailed the DOT asking for their traffic studies on the project.
“Acting Commissioner (Bronx borough DOT) Keith Kalb told me he would send them but I haven’t received them (yet),” Spalter wrote to The Riverdale Press.
After patiently waiting, on April 27, Spalter decided to inquire with the Metro-North Railroad about the impact on the route – a passenger route between Riverdale and Metro-North trains. It picks up passengers on West 261 Street to transfer Riverdale Station to West 255th Street. The rail takes passengers to Grand Central Terminal.
In a virtual meeting on March 31, CB 8’s Traffic and Transportation Committee voted against the DOT’s “safety-calming” road redesign on Riverdale Avenue between West 254th and West 263rd streets. More than 200 people attended the meeting, many of whom expressed their displeasure.
After the proposal was shared, an overwhelming number of CB 8 members were unconvinced of the proposed change to convert four traffic lanes to two while a third would become a central rotating bay in addition to cycle lanes on both sides .
In response to Spalter, Metro-North officials claimed they had no knowledge of the Riverdale Avenue redesign. They agreed with the President that this would undoubtedly impact the Riverdale Hudson Rail Link route.
Spalter said the system is working well now, but eliminating traffic lanes and narrowing the street can delay travel for travelers by car and public transit. The new plan may encroach on the only lane of traffic.
The DOT finds the project significant as there have been several reports of accidents on Riverdale Avenue.
According to city data, 19 accidents and 25 injuries have been reported on this road in the past three years.
In addition to the possible commuter problem, CB8 members and residents are concerned about possible traffic congestion.
Riverdale PS 81 Elementary School, Robert J. Christen School, has already lots of traffic in the morning and afternoon when parents pick up and drop off their children.
Parent Coordinator Nina Velazquez said The Riverdale Press In March parents sometimes park three times to drop off or pick up their children during rush hour. Buses traveling on Riverdale Avenue may face a possible obstacle course if the plan goes through.
New York City Transit Bus Planning contacted the DOT to arrange a redesign meeting. The DOT has yet to respond.
Spalter formally wrote to Kalb requesting a meeting to discuss the plan with representatives from the MTA, DOT and CB8. She fears the DOT will begin its plan without delay.