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Long-awaited construction at Little Bay Park has forced the city to reroute buses around northeast Queens through residential streets and near area elementary schools for the next year, and State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) wants that changed.
The temporary changes affect the Q13 and Q16 routes near Fort Totten and Bay Terrace, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where construction bars buses from hitting their regular stops. Both buses run between Fort Totten and Flushing.
Braunstein met at Fort Totten Tuesday with community leaders and agency representatives to consider any alternatives for the rerouted buses. He said the goal was to keep Fort Totten as a turn-around point even despite any construction in the area so the routes would not be so drastically changed.
The reroutes went into effect Wednesday and will continue for about a year.
After years of waiting, the city broke ground on a new Little Bay Park comfort station project last month, closing the area parking lot and leaving nearby residents worried over where the summer traffic might divert. The $5 million project also includes an expanded 100-car parking lot and should be finished by fall 2014, the city Parks Department said.
MTA plans showed that the Q13 will have six stops discontinued: five along Bell Boulevard and one on Totten Avenue at the Cross Island Parkway. A new stop for the route was drawn near 212th Street and 16th Avenue.
The Q16 will also lose six stops, with five of them along the Cross Island Parkway and one on Totten Avenue. The MTA said a new stop would be put near the Cross Island Parkway and Willets Point Boulevard.
Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, lives blocks away from the construction site and said he was worried the new temporary routes would lead to dangerous conditions in residential areas. The new Q13 route, he said, would run buses past Bell Academy and PS 169 on 212th Street, where children are already abundant.
“MTA buses would be navigating past not only school buses, but also triple-parked parents who will be dropping off or picking up their children,” Schreiber said. “Our children will be placed in danger.”
The MTA will continue to work with the area’s elected representatives to explore alternative options to keep heavy bus traffic off quiet residential streets. If not, Schreiber said he and neighbors would act.
The Bay Terrace native and Community Board 7 member warned of potential protest rallies in the future if necessary to have the routes changed.
“This disruption to our community can be avoided if the Parks Department devised a construction plan that would allow city buses to operate on their normal routes,” Schreiber said. “I think we all agree that the proposed reroutes will drastically alter the quality of life in Bay Terrace.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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