Daily News from New York, New York on May 30, 2000 · 89
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Daily News from New York, New York · 89

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New York, New York
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Tuesday, May 30, 2000
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89
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0 ED(llBQllii3QQD Free eyeglass program brings clarity to classroom SCHOOL NEWS PAGES 2-3 a ibsh school sports PAGE 72 By BOB KAPPSWTER DAUY NEWS BRONX BUREAU CHIEF Bronx straphangers have gotten at least a summer reprieve from facing more stops and elbow-jamming crowds on their IRT ride. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had been set to replace rush-hour express service with local service on the IRT No. 5 Dyer Ave. line between 180th St. and 149th St. But after some political pressure extending all the way up to the powerful Assembly speaker, the MTA has postponed the move for three months, pending further study. After leading a petition drive that gar- Petitions, pols halt - for now -switch to local nered 2,000 protest signatures, Bronx Assemblyman Jeff Klein (D-Pelham Parkway) persuaded the MTA to delay the changeover in service for at least a month. Klein said on Friday that he got Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver -Manhattan) to step into the fracas last week and put in a word with the MTA to extend the moratorium. "This MTA plan was purely an operational move on its part," Klein charged, "and not for the benefit of riders." He said he also had the support of both the Straphangers Campaign and the New York City Transit Riders Council, which advises the MTA, and pledged to continue rallying riders against any switchover to local service on the line. The move to local service, he said, would have increased the average riding time of thousands of Bronx commuters by about 15 minutes, as well as created more crowding on subway cars. The MTA had defended the move, saying that trains switching from local to express tracks at the 180th St. switching point cause delays all along the line into Manhattan. rJsjdDr (cnrDDLniD"5nnBiji'S oltqski!! to KlsnrDoinra Ugh By RALPH R. ORTEGA DAIiy NEWS STAFF WRITER Reverse commuters on Metro-North's Harlem line, whose trains have been few and far between in the South Bronx, are about to see a few more lights at the end of the tunnel. Starting July 9, the railroad plans to double the number of weekday Harlem line trains stopping at its underserved Melrose and Tremont stations, adding northbound stops during the morning rush and southbound stops in the evening. It is also launching weekend service from the two stations, where there currently is none. Both moves are designed to capitalize on riders who reverse commute opposite to the main commute into Manhattan to Westchester for employment "We are testing the market," said spokeswoman Marjorie Anders. Until now, commuters have preferred Metro-North's refurbished Fordham station. Although distant from the South Bronx, it has more trains, cleaner platforms and greater police presence. By comparison, Melrose at Park Ave. and 162nd St and Tremont at Park and E. Tremont Aves. are shoddy and desolate. On weekdays, only 1 1 trains stop at the stations. "They need to make additional stops," said Sid Arauja, one of about 15 South Bronx commuters who regularly boards the 7:05 a.m. weekday train at Melrose to go to White Plains. Despite the current low rider-ship, the expansion will have 25 trains stopping at Melrose and Tremont on weekdays, and 19 on weekends. "Melrose had 16 people getting on, and Tremont had 21 during the weekdays," said Anders, quot- ff r I M III 1 r is s - N J A MICHAEL SCHWARTZ Passengers board northbound 05 a.m. train at Metro-North's Melrose station, which will have more trains. ing 1997 northbound statistics. Fordham averaged more than 1,100 daily northbound commuters last year. But Joe Ithier, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., argued that "the South Bronx needs these stops." The economic development corporation has tracked borough residents applying for jobs available in Westchester's retail sector, Ithier said. "We've even got people going all the way up to the Palisades Mall in Rockland County to work," he said. The next step for Metro-North, transportation advocates say, is to back up the service expansion with major station improvements. "No one's going to want to go into a station that's dark, dismal and in disrepair," said Lisa Schreib- man, New York City coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. . "If we make these stations better," Schreibman said, "more people should start using them again." Metro-North did remove graffiti and paint and improve lighting at Melrose and Tremont during the past year. Anders said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North's parent agency, has approved $2 million in capital improvements for both stations. The money, to be spent between 2000 and 2004, will pay for new staircases leading into the stations. The bulk of the funds, however, will be spent on Melrose, which is now hard to find because of its location partially underneath a high-rise building. vV -MUX MCHAEL SCHWARTZ Underserved Melrose and temont stations win add weekend service and double the weekday train stops. NEWS BUREAU (718) 822-1174 ...FAX (718) 822-1562 HOME DELIVERY 1-800-692-NEWS in o to o o . o

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