The 3rd Avenue Corridor

Story and photos by Lennin Reyes -- The Bx55, which replaced the 3rd Avenue El in April 1973, will be renumbered the "Bx15 Limited" later this year. We look back at how the 3rd Avenue corridor has evolved over the last 40 years.

The Bx55 replaced the 3rd Avenue El, which carried the No. 8 subway line in 1973. The 8 (thin line in center) ran between Gun Hill Road and 149th Street in the Bronx. Prior to 1955, the line continued south into Lower Manhattan.

Two years after the demolition of the 3rd Avenue El, the Bronx Borough Courthouse closed its doors and relocated to 161st Street and Grand Concourse. This came at a time in which arson fires to apartment buildings caused thousands to leave the South Bronx.

In 2003, the largely-industrial 3rd Avenue corridor between 163rd and 168th Streets was rezoned to allow for residential development, resulting in nearly 10,000 residents migrating into this neighborhood between 2000 and 2010.

Even The Hub, the southern terminus of the No. 8 line in 1973, received a facelift. A longtime empty lot on 156th Street was filled with several stores in 2007.

Despite the new development, longtime residents like Rolando Almanzar, 50, worry that the rent will push him out of his longtime neighborhood. "The Bronx is getting too crowded and the rent is too high," Almanzar said.

Part of the Bx15/55 restructuring plan is to cut Bx55 service north of Fordham, forcing residents such as Jennifer Santiago, 20, to take the Bx41 to access Gun Hill Road. "It's not a good idea," Santiago said while standing at a bus stop on A bus stop on Webster Avenue and East Fordham Road. "A lot of people get on here to get to Gun Hill and catch the 2 train. There are times in which the bus is frequent, but too crowded."

According to the MTA, the reason for the restructuring is the reconstruction of Fordham Plaza, which will be turned into a pedestrian-friendly plaza and eliminate car access on 3rd Avenue north of East 189th Street. Here, a traffic guard guides traffic at 3rd Avenue and East 189th Street.

A crowd of commuters wait for the Bx55 at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Claremont Parkway.

Forty years after the 3rd Avenue El has been demolished, old remnants, like the old trackbed of the No. 8 line seen underneath the existing No. 2 line at Gun Hill Road, still remain.

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