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Blocked bus lanes on Fordham Road prompt proposal from DOT; Locals say it will hurt business

Blocked bus lanes on Fordham Road prompt proposal from DOT
Blocked bus lanes on Fordham Road prompt proposal from DOT 02:07

NEW YORK -- Car after car, the MTA bus lanes on Fordham Road are often times blocked.

David Rose is a board Member of Belmont BID.

"When cars are parked or vendors' cars are parked in the bus lane, the buses then have to take up three lanes at those intersections," Rose said. "I wake up every morning in shock. It's gonna change traffic patterns. It's going to hurt businesses residents the institutions."

Rose is referring to DOT's proposal to improve bus speeds and alleviate clogged bus lanes. He believes the plans could severely impact businesses in some of the Bronx's most iconic neighborhoods.

In a recent report, DOT says Fordham Road is one of the busiest corridors in the borough, and, on average, there's about 85,000 daily bus riders on the route. The reports also says 71% of people who live in the area commute by public transportation, biking, or walking.

That's why the DOT is proposing three plans. One would take away the second passenger vehicle lane to create a parking lane, while another proposal would be a car-free busway in both directions.

"The biggest fear is we lose our customer base," said Ralph Martucci, the owner of Enzo's of Arthur Avenue.

Martucci says Fordham Road is the connector between Belmont and Fordham, adding taking away any passenger lanes would impact the majority of his customers.

"Our customers come from New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester County, other boroughs and driving Is important to them," Martucci said.

In response to DOTs proposal, the Belmont BID says it has conducted its own survey to asses the traffic patterns. Surveying over 400 people, it determined 80% of people drive their car to Bronx's Little Italy.

Some believe if current bus lanes were repaired, it could make a difference.

"If it were painted or striped and some enforcement, then possibly it would be cleared of all the illegal parking and buses could do what that lane was intended to do," Rose said.

The DOT released the following statement to CBS2:

"We are committed to improving bus service and supporting businesses across the Bronx. We look forward to presenting a refined proposal for upgraded bus priority on Fordham Road to the community this month and continuing to develop designs for offset lanes with their feedback. This design would create dedicated curbside loading space to help keep our bus lanes clear for the 85,000 daily commuters on the corridor who deserve faster and more reliable service—and with minimal traffic diversions that would affect bus service on north and south corridors."

"I think they need to study it more to really understand what's happening in the community," Martucci said.

Neighborhood leaders in Belmont and Fordham recently wrote a letter to Mayor Eric Adams to set up a meeting with him about their concerns.

CBS2 reached out to the city for comment and we're still waiting to hear back.

For more information on the DOT's proposal, click here.

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