MORRIS HEIGHTS, The Bronx — Bus passengers who get off at the last stop of the Bx40 and Bx42 on Sedgwick Avenue are faced with double trouble.
First , there are no lights at the bus stop in the Morris Heights sections of the Bronx. Passengers are literally discharged into the dark.
Then, to make matters worse, very close to the bus stop is a row of garbage cans outside 1793 Sedgwick Ave. that are infested with rats.
Big rats, bold rats that scurry around the cans and onto the sidewalk. PIX11 News saw at least a dozen while we were there.
The bus passengers have to walk past those garbage cans on the way to the corner.
“It’s kind of scary, right?” I asked a young woman getting off the bus.
“Yeah,” she said, “'cause you don’t know if a rat is gonna jump off the garbage can on you. There’s been times when rats ran over my feet."
An older woman added, “Look how dark it is. You stand here five minutes and see if you don’t jump and see a rat.”
She says she doesn’t walk down the sidewalk when getting off the bus.
“I walk in the middle of the street," she said. "It’s bad.”
The rats are so plentiful and so close to the bus stop, one man told me, “You have people jumping back onto the bus or jumping in people's arms. They are so bad out there.”
Many mothers push their children in strollers past the cans and know to be careful.
"There be big ol' rats there," one mom said. "Big rats.”
The rats aren’t the only danger for the passengers getting off the busses in the dark.
“I know a friend or two that’s been robbed right there,” said a teenage passenger. “They need to do something about how dark it is right there. It’s unbelievable."
One woman told me the city would never allow these kind of conditions to exist in a more affluent neighborhood and the residents in the Bronx deserve better.
“I’m not paying ghetto rent," she said, “I’m paying $1,500 a month. I’m a case worker. If I lived on West 72nd street or East 72nd street, I would be treated differently.”
Why is the bus stop so dark? We called the MTA, which says it’s the New York City Department of Transportation that is in charge of maintaining bus stops.
A spokesperson for the DOT told PIX11, “DOT will inspect the area and conduct a survey to determine if improved lighting is needed.”
It is obvious to anyone in the area that improved lighting is needed.
As for the rat infestation, the owner of 1793 Sedgwick Ave., Barfield Realty, told me they have an exterminator come once a week, but the rodent problem is all over the block.
After we told the New York City Department of Health what we’d found, a spokesperson promised immediate action.
“We are conducting a compliance inspection and we will conduct emergency baiting in the entire area,” the spokesperson said.
Hopefully it will make a difference.
The residents in this area have been forced to endure these deplorable conditions for far too long.
What a shame!
If you have a story for Arnold Diaz, email WhataShame@pix11.com or contact him on Facebook or Twitter.