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Avella protests buses on 10th Ave

Democratic state Senate candidate Tony Avella and more than a dozen Whitestone residents rallied last week against the MTA buses that travel down 10th Avenue, which they said creates dangerous traffic patterns on a narrow street.

“That the MTA decided to have these buses coming down this street is ludicrous,” said Avella, a former city councilman who represented northeast Queens. “It’s a serious accident waiting to happen.”

Residents were dismayed in June to discover the Q15A buses would use 10th Avenue as part of a new route transportation officials had proposed as a way to serve areas that had been affected by the Q14 route’s being cut. The Q15A connects the Flushing-Main Street No. 7 subway station to Beechhurst, while the Q14 had connected Flushing and Whitestone.

The MTA said by operaing the Q15A on 10th Avenue, they are able to reach a large number of riders who had relied on the Q14.

“That route does meet all legal requirements for bus operation, and it’s the only way we can continue to maintain those parts of Whitestone,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. “It’s the only way we’d be able to maintain service ater the elimination of the Q14.”

Avella and residents at Saturday’s rally on 10th Avenue said the street is not wide enough for a bus and car to pass each other, often forcing cars to reverse an entire block to allow the bus to pass. The former councilman also said residents’ cars been damaged by buses. Residents noted the street is part of the city Fire Department’s route, which they said could pose serious problems if a fire truck and bus tried to travel the street at the same time.

“Two cars traveling in opposite directions can’t even make it down the street, and then they add buses to the mix?” said Denise DiGirolomo, who lives on 10th Avenue. “At night, buses come flying down the street. I don’t want to let my son or dog out.”

After Avella held two rallies about this issue during the summer, he said Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials agreed to sit down with him and discuss residents’ concerns. Avella said he decided to hold Saturday’s event after the MTA did not reroute the Q15, which he said it could easily do on nearby 14th Avenue, which is wider.

“You have to wonder what genius at the MTA came up with this,” Avella said. “We’re going to fight this until the buses stop coming down this street. To put the kids on this block in jeopardy is an absolute disgrace.”

Kevin Liebowitz, a 10th Avenue resident, said the buses are noisy and have kept many residents up at night.

“This is the season you want your windows open, but when you open the window, it sounds like there’s an explosion going on,” Liebowitz said.

Pamela Tsevis, who also lives on 10th Avenue, said her car was recently sideswiped, though she is not sure if it was a bus or another car that did it.

“But I live up towards the corner, and when the buses make the turns to come down this block, it’s scary,” Tsevis said. “You’re always worried your car is going to get hit.”

Avella is running against Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) for the seat representing the 11th Senate District.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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