Mayor Eric Adams is falling behind on his pledge to the MTA to build 20 new miles of bus lanes this year — with one signature project in The Bronx facing opposition from the local city councilman.
Democrat Oswald Feliz earlier this month asked the city Department of Transportation to put its street redesign proposals for his Bronx district “on hold for at least 12 months.”
DOT’s plans to convert segments of Fordham Road to bus and delivery-only “will send thousands of cars onto nearby residential neighborhoods,” Feliz claimed in a letter dated Sept. 12.
“Small businesses of Fordham Road and Arthur Avenue have also expressed concerns about such plans hurting their already-struggling businesses,” the councilman wrote.
Fordham Road was at the top of a list of 21.9 miles of bus lanes Adams announced for the year in a joint statement with MTA CEO Janno Lieber after a “transit improvement summit” the pair held in June.
“This partnership is the definition of ‘Get Stuff Done,’” Hizzoner said at the time. Yet with just three months left in the year, the city has installed just 6.7 miles of the 20 miles Adams promised for 2022, a DOT spokesman said on Friday.
“We continue to work toward our ambitious goals for new and enhanced bus lanes to provide safer, more sustainable, and more efficient transportation options for New Yorkers,” DOT spokesman Vin Barone said in statement.
Barone said DOT is “reviewing“ Feliz’s letter concerning Fordham Road, where two of the agency’s three proposals would restrict traffic to buses and local deliveries in one or both directions from Morris Avenue to Webster Avenue.
In meetings with local community boards, DOT has touted a poll by the business group Association for a Better New York that found 70% support among locals for the “busway” restrictions on private vehicles. The agency also points to surveys that showed 86% of shoppers on the strip arrived by foot or mass transit.
But local businesses aren’t sold on the concept, or the stats. Of 17 merchants along the stretch The Post spoke to on Sunday, not one expressed support for DOT’s proposals.
“Our customers come from the Tri-State area, they will go somewhere else,” said Sunny Malik, who has owned S.A. Mirage Jewelry on Fordham Road for 22 years.
Jose Castillo, a Bronx resident who manages a shoe store on the corridor, said “most” of his clientele “park out front.”
“Recovery has been tough and we’re getting there but it’s slow. This will make it slower,” Castillo said. “Everyone on Fordham will be going crazy if this happens.”
Feliz did not return a request for comment.
Campaigning for election in 2021, he told pro-transit site Streetsblog that “redesigning congestion corridors such as Fordham Road” was a “top priority” of his.
Transit advocates said they hope the city ignores his request.
“I grew up near Fordham Road. The current setup absolutely does not work,” said Shawn Garcia, Bronx organizer for anti-car group Transportation Alternatives. “When the city finally announces a project to improve lives here, we expect our leaders to deliver results, not block its benefits.”
A rep for the MTA didn’t address the city falling behind on Adams’ bus lane commitment.
“Obviously the mayor’s commitment to 150 miles of bus lanes in four years is ambitious and unprecedented,” MTA Chief of External Relations John McCarthy said in a statement.
“The MTA will support the City in any way possible to get it done.”