UPDATE 11:00AM, June 20th, 2012 included after last paragraph.
Here’s a statistic we don’t mind: since 1990, reverse commuting for work to points north of the city such as Westchester County and Connecticut, has increased by 150%. Of 8.1 million rides taken last year to and from the Bronx, about 2/3 of these were Bronxites heading to their jobs away from the city. These figures were presented by William Wheeler, director of special project development and planning at the MTA, at a hearing yesterday morning on transportation of the outer boroughs and went on to also add that it is the largest known market in the country for reverse commuting.
Metro North is a critical lifeline to thousands of Bronxites who need to get to work which is why we need a new Metro North line in the eastern Bronx to accommodate residents in that neglected area. It is time we make those 4 proposed stations (Hunts Point, Parkchester, Morris Park and Co-op City) into reality. This would increase our stations to 17 in the borough and help in reducing congestion along the I95 and Hutchinson River Parkway corridors by taking off the road countless Bronxites going to and from work up north.
Manhattan isn’t the only center of employment for the Bronx and it is critical that our government does right by its citizens in expanding our transportation network. But a better link up north isn’t the only area we need to strengthen: we need to foster better transportation alternatives between the outer boroughs. Bronx and Queens residents shouldn’t have to go through Manhattan to get to either one. Same goes for Brooklyn and Queens residents which have just the G train linking them in any meaningful way.
The explosion of economic activity at these new links would benefit all for decades to come. If we don’t act soon, NYC will be left in the dark ages of mass transit.
Dan Beekman of the New York Daily News pointed out a story he wrote back in January regarding a demand for Bronx residents to fill employment opportunities in Connecticut. This further solidifies the argument and demand for this critical extension.