MTA moving its way out of Commercial Street in Greenpoint
by Lisa A. Fraser
Feb 22, 2011 | 4398 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Lincoln Restler and other community leaders rallied outside 65 Commercial Street last Tuesday in efforts to get the MTA out of the lot.
The MTA might be leaving 65 Commercial Street – a move that, for the community, comes after a long wait.

The transit authority has set their sites on a parcel of city-owned land in Maspeth and the vehicles that sit at the lot could soon be shuttling their way over.

The new site, currently still being discussed between the Bloomberg Administration and the MTA, sits at 49th Street, on the east side, between 56th Road and Galasso Place. The space would be used to relocate the MTA's Access-a-Ride vehicles.

“We are optimistic that a replacement facility can be built there once environmental issues are resolved,”said MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan.

The MTA has come under fire recently surrounding their presence at 65 Commercial Street in Greenpoint. The space was promised as open space by the city as part of the 2005 rezoning. But six years later, it is still being used by the transit authority.

The city offered at least a half-dozen sites to relocate the vehicles, but the MTA didn't deem any of them as fit.

The MTA originally turned down the Maspeth site because it is being used as an active freight railroad. Recently, the city agreed to build a facility there, but first the long-time industrial site would have to be tested for contamination before construction could begin.

The authority has decided to take a new look at the 49th Street site to speed up the process of moving out of Greenpoint. Local leaders, including Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Councilman Stephen Levin and District Leader Lincoln Restler, continue to work on getting the MTA out so that the park can be constructed.

“The Williamsburg-Greenpoint community has been forced to wait far too long for construction to begin on this park," said Levin. "Discussions with the administration and the MTA are ongoing, and I expect to see significant progress in the near future.”

Restler and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez held a rally at the site on Tuesday, issuing a notice of eviction to the MTA. “We have to hold the MTA accountable,” Restler said. “Residents in Greenpoint have to walk 25 minutes to find a green space to walk their dogs; it's egregious.”

The MTA is also searching for a site to house its Emergency Services Unit vehicles,which also sit at 65 Commercial Street. A “central” location beneath the Williamsburg bridge is being considered.

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