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DOT Widens Sidewalk, Adds Contraflow Bus Lane to Help East Bronx Commuters

A wider sidewalk and a dedicated bus lane on Westchester Avenue in the East Bronx, where the MTA and DOT recently made bus priority improvements as part of the Boogie Down’s bus network redesign. Photo: DOT

The city extended a sidewalk and cut out a circuitous loop from the Bronx's busiest bus route at the Pelham Bay Park subway station, and officials said the small upgrades will make for safer and shorter commutes.

The Department of Transportation beginning in summer 2021 added extra sidewalk space outside the terminus of the No. 6 subway line, a crucial transfer point where six bus routes converge to bring riders to places where the subway doesn't go, such as Co-op City, Pelham Bay Park, and City Island.

The agency also painted two short blocks of red bus-only lanes on Westchester Avenue going against the traffic flow on the previously-one-way street, giving Bronxites on the Bx12 — the Boogie Down's busiest route — a more direct trip in through the borough.

The corner of Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard seen before the changes. Photo: Google Streeview
The corner of Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard seen before the changes. Photo: Google
The corner of Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard seen before the changes. Photo: Google Streeview

The small changes mean Bx12 buses will no longer have take the long way around to pass over the Bruckner Expressway trench below, going south on Amendola Place and doubling back north on Buckner Boulevard just to head east.

Now, Metropolitan Transportation Authority drivers can take the much quicker route heading in their own contraflow lane on Westchester Avenue.

Bus routes around Pelham Bay Park station are less circuitous after DOT installed a contraflow lane (right, in blue) on Westchester Ave. Maps: DOT
Bus routes around Pelham Bay Park station are less circuitous after DOT installed a contraflow lane (right, in blue) on Westchester Ave. Maps: DOT
Bus routes around Pelham Bay Park station are less circuitous after DOT installed a contraflow lane (right, in blue) on Westchester Ave. Maps: DOT

Officials also added more crosswalks on Westchester and Burr Avenues and another one-block bus lane on Wilkinson Avenue.

"DOT’s work at Pelham Bay Park, done in conjunction with our partners at the MTA, may be only one-10th of a mile, but the impact for thousands of riders will be gigantic,” DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in a statement.

Some 64,000 people rode on the station's six routes daily pre-pandemic, including the Bx12 Select Bus Service and Local, Bx5, Bx23, Bx24, Bx29, and Q50.

The sidewalks along the stops fill with riders coming off the train, so DOT expanded the path and built a new median along Westchester Ave, pouring 1,285 square feet of concrete (about one quarter the size of a basketball court).

"Adding bus lanes helps thousands of customers every day and this new lane at Pelham Parkway station demonstrates that bus lanes don't have to be miles long to deliver a huge impact to the community; every stretch of road counts," said New York City Transit President Richard Davey.

The minor work began in September 2021 and didn't wrap until last fall due to another construction going on at the same location, said agency spokesman Vin Barone.

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