Bus stop removal hardship for seniors

The Metropolitan Transit Authority's (MTA) removal of a South Flushing bus stop in front of five-building housing complex has residents and public officials upset. The stop, located in front of Carom Caf Billiards at 34-02 Linden Place, was a frequent place for residents to catch the Q25, Q34 and QBx1.
The change has specifically affected senior citizens and children heading to downtown Flushing who reside at Latimer Gardens, and who've depended on the stop that was located across the street from the complex.
&#8220It is terrible, terrible,” said Ida Ledbetter, treasurer of the Latimer Gardens Tenants Association. &#8220I've been living in this development for 36 years now, and the bus stop has always been there.”
Ledbetter said the extra walking - 350 feet to be exact - is a hardship on the elderly, and the closest stops - at 32 Avenue and Linden and the one on Northern Boulevard - create a health risk. &#8220The one on Northern Boulevard is located [by] a garage - cars are going inside and out,” she said.
Furthermore, there was no warning. &#8220One day you rang the bell to get off, and they weren't stopping there,” she fumed. &#8220People were waiting to get off the bus.”
Sometime this spring, the MTA removed the stop, claiming it added to delays and didn't follow proper guidelines that stops should be spread out every 750 feet.
But at no point was Community Board 7 contacted, which, although the decision didn't break any laws, was an unprecedented move. &#8220Any time you take a bus stop, and you change it, it affects people,” said CB 7 District Manager Marilyn Bitterman. &#8220And it has always been [up to] the Community Board to review it with the local community.”
They've since sent two letters to the MTA's bus president Thomas Savage, requesting the stop be reinstated. &#8220I'm concerned about the seniors,” Bitterman said. &#8220I mean it effects a large population from Latimer Gardens, and you have a lot of seniors that use that stop.”
Savage has yet to respond to CB 7, although the MTA did contact transit chairperson, Millicent O'Meally, but have yet to respond in writing.
Assemblymember Jimmy Meng also addressed Savage, attaching a petition with 250 signatures. &#8220Your explanation regarding the change of the location for these bus stops is unacceptable,” the Assemblymember wrote in the letter. &#8220While reduced customer travel time and improved reliability are certainly important, these goals should not come at the expense of senior citizens, handicapped individuals, and young children who have relied on the bus stops at their original location for 25 years.
The MTA wouldn't put a timetable on any plans to renew the stop. &#8220We are in discussions with Community Board 7,” said Mercedes Padilla, a spokesperson for the MTA, &#8220and we hope to achieve a compromise for this bus stop.”

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