Thursday, November 27, 2014

Borough Park clogged with yeshiva buses due to the increasing number of vehicles and schools 

The wheels on these Brooklyn school buses aren’t going round and round.

A new transportation system for yeshivas has increased the number of school buses in Borough Park — and caused massive congestion on neighborhood roads each morning.

To help alleviate the problem, exasperated local officials have been forced to coax the city Sanitation Department to adjust trash pickup times in the neighborhood.

School administrators and lawmakers told the Daily News they are working behind the scenes to convince the de Blasio administration to make the scheduling adjustments.

“The Sanitation Department needs to take garbage trucks off the road from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. to allow school buses to safely deliver children to school,” said City Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park).

The problem stems in part from a deal negotiated by the yeshivas after the union representing city bus drivers staged a five-week strike in 2013.

Afterwards, the Bloomberg administration began allowing private schools to manage their own bus pickups, a change that was billed as a cost-saver for the city.

The union charged the city an estimated $30 per child each day while the yeshivas and other private schools charge about half that rate, officials said.

The arrangement, however, has clogged Borough Park streets with rumbling buses and forced schools to find places for the buses to park during school hours.

It now takes some yeshiva bus drivers up to two hours to complete their route each morning, compared to about an hour last year.

There are roughly 350 buses on the streets of Borough Park, up from about 290 last year, according to estimates by community insiders.

“It’s just crazy,” said one bus driver who asked to remain anonymous.

The problem has been compounded by a population boom in Borough Park.

“We are the fastest-growing neighborhood in New York City,” Greenfield said. “Every year there are new schools opening.”

Maimonides hospital delivered an estimated 9,000 babies in 2013, the most of any hospital in the state. The Jewish community is responsible for about half those births, records show.

The Department of Sanitation says it has worked with community leaders to address their concerns, adjusting pickup routes in parts of Borough Park.

That’s done little to clear the logjam.

“The kids are coming late to school. That’s creating a problem for us,” an administrator of a yeshiva on 18th Ave. said.

A bigger fix may be necessary, but it’s unclear what more can be done.

“We are currently exploring whether additional scheduling changes in the area are operationally feasible,” said DSNY spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins.


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