Whitestone residents fed up with bus
by Shane Miller
Jul 17, 2013 | 674 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Senator Tony Avella and Whitestone residents called on the MTA to re-route a city bus off their street.
State Senator Tony Avella and Whitestone residents called on the MTA to re-route a city bus off their street.
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Residents in Whitestone want the MTA to get the Q15A off their street.

When the MTA eliminated the Q14 bus in 2010, it extended the Q15 route so that every other bus – the Q15A – runs down 10th Avenue for a brief stretch between Clintonville and 152nd streets. But resident say the two-way street is too narrow for two cars to pass each other, let alone buses.

Resident Denise DiGirrolomo's car has scrapes up and down the side from buses clipping it. She said when the changes were made, the community suggested instaed re-routing the bus down 14th Avenue, a much more commercial and wider street.

“We even got Community Board 7 to agree with us, but nothing ever came of it,” she said.

DiGirrolomo's neighbor, Kevin Leibowitz, said that when bus drivers see that the entire stretch of road is clear, they speed up to try to make it to the end of the block before another car comes, making for a dangerous situation.

“People are afraid to get out of their cars when the bus is speeding down the street,” he said.

At the intersection of Clintonville Street and 10th Avenue sits The Clinton Restaurant. When the bus was rerouted, the MTA put a bus stop in front of the business, taking up four parking spaces on the restaurant's side of the street and four across the street.

“A lot of clientele are older, and they can't walk blocks to get here,” said owner Karen Babich. “A lot of times they get dropped off in front of the restaurant in the bus stop, but if the bus comes then it creates a whole other problem.”

Babich said that the buses also have a hard time making the turn from Clintonville onto 10th Avenue, and often get stuck.

“Then the driver has to come into the restaurant and ask people to move their cars,” she said.

A spokesperson for the MTA said the agency did look into alternate routes, 7th and 14th avenues, but determined they would not be feasible.

“This would take many of the riders along a long, circuitous, U-shaped routing and greatly slow their commute,” read a statement from the MTA. “We believe 10th Avenue is a wide enough street on which to operate the Q15. There are no plans at this time to reroute the Q15/Q15A.”

When the bus was first re-routed, State Senator Tony Avella held a large rally protesting the changes. According to the senator, on several occasions the police have had to be called to clear up traffic jams.

He joined residents of 10th Avenue again on Saturday to call on the MTA to move the bus.

“It is incomprehensible that the MTA would consider such a narrow street for the routing of a city bus,” he said. “Although this section of 10th Avenue is a two-way street, it is impossible for even two passenger cars to pass each other.

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