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Fordham Road

Fordham U. Junior ‘Angry, Disappointed, Upset’ at School’s Opposition to Busway

Abby Dzuira speaks out against her school's continuing anti-bus attitude and demanded that the university live up to its own stated values.

Fordham University junior Abby Dziura addresses a rally in favor of a Fordham Road busway on Tuesday. Photo: Dave Colon

Buses move as slow as 4 miles per hour on some stretches of Fordham Road, yet a proposed busway is opposed by a powerful group of Bronx institutions including Fordham University.

At a rally on the congested street on Tuesday morning, Abby Dzuira, a junior at the university, spoke out against her school's continuing anti-bus attitude and demanded that the university live up to its own stated values. Dzuira's comments follow a similar urging from the Jesuit-educated New York City Transit President Rich Davey, who said the university's stated opposition to even an offset bus lane went against Jesuit values of "justice, the protection of human rights and respect for the environment."

The Department of Transportation has already downgraded its busway plan to an offset bus lane, but the opponents still think such a minor improvement for bus riders is going too far. Dzuira doesn't think it goes far enough:

I'm a bus rider living in Fordham, and as a student at Fordham University studying transit and disability justice, I am here to demand that Mayor Adams implement a busway on Fordham Road this year.

I take the BX12 Select to work and school, and the bus is almost always late, super full of riders and constantly stuck in traffic, especially between Webster and Jerome [avenues], which is exactly where a busway is proposed to go. I usually get off at 207th to transfer to the 1 train for work, which is where most of my fellow riders get off as well. Because the bus is stuck in traffic, we often miss the train and have to wait for the next one. This means that I am frequently late to work and appointments, and being late especially to work is stressful because I'm supporting myself through college and rely on public transit to help me get around.

Abby Dzuira. Photo: Dave Colon

When I saw Fordham University signed a letter opposing the busway proposal, I was angry, disappointed, upset and frustrated. I was especially disappointed and frustrated with Fordham's hypocrisy. In a recent email, the president of Fordham said, "This is where I need everyone's commitment. Together we will work ever harder to create a community where every single one of us knows at our core that we belong here. The best way to solve terrible problems is not by pretending they should not exist. We solve problems by tackling them head on working harder finding answers and living our values."

If Fordham University says that they are dedicated to solving problems and finding answers and living their values, they would support a busway project that would help 85,000 working class riders a day, many of whom are employees and students at their university.

But at the end of the day this decision does not stop with Fordham University. it is up to the mayor to implement a bus network that truly works for our community and our people. A blessed way to really transform the lives of riders like me.

A parked car on Fordham Road prevents an articulated bus from pulling up to a curbside bus stop and forces bus riders to board and get off the bus in the street. Photo: Dave Colon

Dzuira also spoke to Streetsblog about Fordham's stated reason for opposing the busway, which was allegedly driven by a concern that some traffic would end up on streets in the nearby Belmont neighborhood, putting Fordham students at risk:

I don't think the traffic being rerouted is a problem because most of the students here don't have cars, they're walking to class, they're commuting from other boroughs. So there's already a big subset of students who are dealing with the traffic issue and are almost getting hit by cars every single day. So I don't think any diversion to the Belmont neighborhood in particular is really a concern.

I think, to be honest, Fordham is really only opposing this busway [to] please their donors the most. I used to work for the alumni donations line, so I've been there. The donors are the ones who are driving up here and they're going to the [Botanical Gardens], they're going to the [Bronx Zoo], and they're the ones that are driving. The students are not the ones that are driving, the students are walking the streets every single day. And I don't think Fordham is really taking any care to recognize that and it's very, very frustrating.

Every single student I've ever talked to there are totally for this. I live in a house with six other girls and they all agree. Every single person I've talked to has said the buses around here are garbage. We need the buses, and the city isn't doing anything to help Bronx residents, Fordham students, anybody who lives around here to make the buses better and it's so frustrating.

The Department of Transportation claims that the offset bus lane will improve bus speeds by 20 percent. But a busway would have improved them more, the agency said.

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