Last week, a trio of Flushing elected officials – State Senator Toby Stavisky, Assemblyman Ron Kim and Councilman Peter Koo – held a closed-door meeting with the Department of Transportation to discuss a bridge in Flushing that has been closed to traffic for an astounding four years.
The bridge on a stretch of 149th Street that crosses the Long Island Rail Road tracks was closed in May of 2010 for repairs. But the contractor who was hired to do the work botched the job so badly the city had to close it because it was simply to dangerous to allow cars to drive on it.
Flash forward to last Friday, when DOT representatives let the elected officials know that the bridge would have to be torn down and completely rebuilt. The elected officials promised that going forward they would stay on top of the issue and make sure that DOT sticks to a timeline to get the bridge open again – no more waiting four years to tackle the issue.
But curiously absent from the meeting was State Senator Tony Avella, who was calling attention to the closed bridge and urging DOT to take action at least as far back as February of 2013, when he held a press conference criticizing the agency for not being forthcoming about what had happened and how it was going to get fixed.
Avella wanted DOT to meet with the public to explain the mess. Apparently, the agency was much more comfortable with a closed-door meeting with a group of elected officials that weren't named Tony Avella.
Clearly, Avella's decision to join a breakaway faction of Democrats in the State Senate who caucus with the Republicans really has made him persona non grata when it comes to his Queens colleagues.