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Riders traveling on the MTA’s Q28 bus from Flushing to Bayside are finding their feet on shaky ground when they arrive at the Bay Terrace shopping center.
For years the owners of the center have allowed the authority’s buses to use its private road, but now they are considering sending the Metropolitan Transportation Authority packing if the city will not pay to repair damages the vehicles are causing to the asphalt.
Cord Meyer Vice President Peter Galletta said he estimates it would cost between $20,000 and $30,000 to install a concrete bus pad, finally putting an end to years of repairing the streets at his own cost. He said he asked the MTA to pay for the bus pad, but the agency told him that the city Department of Transportation was responsible for repairing roads. When he contacted the DOT, he was told it did not fix private roads, Galletta said.
“I do not think my request is unreasonable. They ought to repair it,” he said.
Galletta said he agreed more than 10 years ago to allow the MTA’s buses to turn off of 23rd Avenue onto 213th Place and make a left through the shopping center’s parking lot where they turn onto Bell Boulevard and head back down 23rd Avenue on their return trip to Flushing.
Galletta claims that representatives from the MTA said they would sign an agreement covering some kind of maintenance contract, but that did not happen, and in subsequent years he has written letters complaining about the damages.
“I finally said that’s enough,” he said. “I can’t keep paying money for these repairs.”
Galletta said he has not set a deadline, but that he is “definitely seriously contemplating” getting rid of the stop, which he said is used by senior citizens and the center’s customers and employees. He said he does not think removing the stop would be detrimental to those businesses, but an MTA spokesman thinks otherwise.
“Having the stop located in front of the shopping center brings in added customers and is of great convenience to residents in the area,” said spokesman Kevin Ortiz, adding that should the stop be eliminated the MTA would have to devise an alternate route.
Galletta said there are other buses on Bell Boulevard, such as the Q13 and Q16, that shoppers can use.
Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, said he thought the MTA and DOT were wrong to expect Cord Meyer to continue to pay for repairs. He said that several years ago the MTA devised an alternate route that would take the Q28 up residential 212th Street, past PS 169 and turn right on the steep slope of 16th Avenue to make it back to Bell Boulevard.
“That would have a detrimental impact on the community,” he said.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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