Over 250 commuters from Greenburgh, Yonkers and surrounding communities attended a meeting at the Will Library in Yonkers on Tuesday evening to speak out against a proposal to eliminate the Westchester-NYC express bus. Among those who attended the meeting were Ken Jenkins, chair of the Westchester County Board of Legislators and Legislators Thomas Abinanti, Gordon Burrows, Bernice Spreckman, Jose Alvarado, Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick and Councilman John Murtagh. Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, who started Westchester's first Westchester-NYC bus in 1982, chaired the meeting.
Those who spoke at the meeting urged County Executive Rob Astorino to reconsider plans to discontinue this bus. A number of riders indicated that they purchased their homes along Central Ave because of the express bus route. Some riders were 9-11 survivors and talked about the importance of having an alternative means of transportation to the city- other than the train. Senior citizens and disabled riders testified that the bus is easier to use than the train or subway.
Others talked about the need to promote public transportation -especially in these difficult economic times when the unemployed or underemployed may not have cars. Will Yonkers raceway lose revenue from NYC commuters who use the bus to get to Westchester from NYC? How much sales tax will the county lose if shopping on Central Ave declines? HOw much will property values decline on Central Ave? Will train stations have adequate parking if the bus is discontinued or will tax dollars have to be spent on more garages? Will our roads be clogged with traffic if the route is disconinued?
Some members of the Board of Legislators proposed a compromise: continue the bus route during rush hours and discontinue the route during off peak times when fewer rides use the bus.
A PUBLIC HEARING IS BEING HELD ON WEDNESDAY April 14 from 2-5 and from 7-9 PM at the Westchester County Center in White Plains by the County Department of Transportation. Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner is asking the Town Board to delay the start of the Greenburgh Town Board meeting till 8 PM to give commuters who want to attend both meetings a chance to testify at the Dept of Transportation meeting.