New Feiner suggestion for BxM4C: Park-and-ride lots
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner, just called me with another suggestion to help save the Manhattan express bus run by Westchester County’s Bee-Line system.
His idea: Park-and-ride lots along Central Avenue to help build ridership. He said he’s suggested to the county that they talk with property owners along the route to set up the lots, perhaps as sections of some of the parking lots along the commercial corridor.
Feiner lobbied for the creation of the bus line back in the early 1980s, and has been tireless in his effort to save it now that the county proposes cutting the route to save $2.6 million.
County Transportation Commissioner Larry Salley has said he is considering all suggestions and a final decision will be made after April 30, the deadline for submitting comments.
Salley says the 800 people ride the bus every day, but that ridership is lower than on other lines, and has declined over the years.
Hundreds of people have rallied to save the line.
Part of the problem is not that there aren’t enough people riding the buses into the city, it’s that, with the buses serving mostly commuters, they return from Manhattan virtually empty. Then, in the afternoon, they go back to Manhattan pretty much empty to collect commuters and bring them home to Westchester.
Feiner has had a long stream of observations and thoughts about ending the line, including the concern that businesses along Central Avenue will lose business, and that the buses then would not be there if another terrorist attack occurred in Manhattan. The buses were used to get Westchester residents out of Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks.
Here’s the text of a letter Feiner has sent to County Exeuctive Rob Astorino:
A SUGGESTION TO SAVE THE WESTCHESTER-NY EXPRESS BUS–CREATE PARK AND RIDE SPOTS ON CENTRAL AVE
Dear County Executive Astorino:
Ridership on the Westchester-NYC express bus would increase if the county reaches out to property owners on Central Ave and creates park/ride locations for commuters who are interested in taking the bus into Manhattan.
At the present time the owners of the properties on Central Ave do not allow their surplus parking spots to be used for commuter parking. Although some commuters use the spots anyway – they often receive warning notices advising that their cars will be towed. Many people have contacted me over the years advising me that that they do not take the bus into Manhattan because of this fact. Everytime I drive on Central Ave I see thousands of empty parking spots. There are many residents of Westchester who live close to Central Ave but not within walking distance of the bus stops who would take the bus into Manhattan if they could park legally on the avenue.
If the county reached out to commercial property owners and asked them to designate some parking spots at their locations for commuters wishing to take the bus into NYC – there is no doubt in my mind that ridership would increase. This could be a win-win for everyone: commercial property owners could rent the spots to commuters (giving them a park/ride sticker), earning some additional revenue. The county buses would get more riders, reducing the chances of this route being discontinued. Commuters who reside on Central Ave and who rely on the Westchester-NY express would continue to be able to take the bus into Manhattan and their property values would not go down. The park/ride spots would NOT be subsidized by the taxpayers.
I appreciate the fact that you are keeping an open mind on this matter –and hope that you will work with commuters so we can partner with you and come up with a plan to save money, increase ridership on our buses, reduce costs. The elimination of the Westchester-NYC bus would be devastating to many people in Westchester County and to businesses/homeowners on Central Ave.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor