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New bus routes should satisfy all

Following aggravation with the MTA’s recent decision to shut down the Bx14 bus, Councilman James Vacca has succeeded in getting some extra stops added to three other buses. At this point, nothing is perfect, but Country Club locals should at least be able to get anywhere, though perhaps less swiftly.

“None of us were in support of the 14 being eliminated, but that’s done,” said Vacca. “At least we’re getting to Pelham Bay subway station, that’s a partial victory. Our people will have access to all the buses there — buses to Co-op City Bay Plaza. to Westchester, to Counry Club, Queens, everywhere. So at least our fighting got us that.”

The MTA’s original plan after shutting down the Bx14 was to reroute the Bx8 to run down Middletown Road, and not have it stop anwyhere near the Pelham Bay IRT subway stop. Vacca and other community leaders pointed out that under this system, Spencer Estate and Country Club residents would have no direct access to the Pelham Bay IRT station. Instead, at Vacca’s insistence, the Bx8 will now stop much closer to the station. “If they took us only to Middletown Road, that would have been unacceptable,” he said.

There will also be additional stops on the QBx1 bus. Beginning in late June, its southbound route will include Bruckner Boulevard and Baisley Avenue, which will allow people to cross a small pedestrian bridge leading from Waterbury-LaSalle into Country Club, and Bruckner Boulevard and Kearney Avenue on the northbound line, to take advantage of the same bridge.

The Bx5 bus will take over part of the Bx8’s former schedule. It used to run down Westchester Avenue the whole way, but will now shift to make up for loss of the Bx8 bus on Crosby Avenue.

“This will actually be better for the Country Club people,” said a representative from Vacca’s office. “The Bx8 is a busier bus, so it will come more frequently.”

In addition, one stop on the Bx8, Stadium Avenue and Polo Place, will shift to Stadium Avenue and Country Club Road, which will be more convenient for students and staff of Villa Maria Academy.

One concern raised at a a recent meeting of the Country Club Civic Association last Wednesday, May 26, was one of early morning availability. Some locals had heard the new buses would not run early enough. Those who commute into Manhattan mentioned that they need a bus to bring them to Pelham Bay station, where they can catch the first express train downtown. These fears turned out to be misplaced. The MTA has confirmed that buses will begin service at 5:40 in the morning. “At 6 a.m., the streets are filled with people walking to the bus,” noted Pavlica.” With no Bx14, the early-morning foot traffic will remain heavy, but at least buses will indeed be available.

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