No more, not in our backyard.
That was the loud and clear message of local politicians to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which recently deemed a Maspeth site “suitable” for another Access-A-Ride bus hub.
That means, according to the office of City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, there would be three such sites less than a mile apart in the area.
“We are deeply disappointed that the MTA has changed its mind and has now said the Maspeth site is ‘suitable’ for their access-a-ride garage/depot,” said Van Bramer. “Any move to build a depot in Maspeth would take millions of tax payer dollars to accomplish and it would be a disgrace for this city to take this funding away from our senior centers, libraries and schools to fund this irresponsible relocation.”
“Maspeth already has two other bus depots and a plethora of truck traffic on its local streets,” added State Senator Michael Gianaris. “It is time to stop dumping on Maspeth and give the residents of Queens the respect we deserve.”
The third garage would be located on 49th Street and Galasso Place; the other two are on 58th Street and Maurice Avenue and 49th Street and Grand Avenue.
There is also a depot with over 200 MTA buses on Grand Avenue at 47th Street, according to the Community Board.
“The chairman sent a letter to the city last week saying the site would meet our needs,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.
The MTA stresses that the Galasso Place location would not be a depot.
Van Bramer did say that a feasibility study will be conducted to determine if a move to Maspeth is even possible, but he and his colleagues are outraged at what they say was a lack of community input and notification.
Additionally, they say that there has been no environmental impact study to determine the impact on the community and there are no estimates as to how much remediation cleanup will cost taxpayers. Currently, the project is unfunded.
“My biggest concern would be air pollution, additional traffic backups and the added potential for accidents,” said Gary Giordano, Community Board 5 District Manager. “There was no prior knowledge to the community and that is unhealthy.”
“Maspeth residents have been burdened with the city’s truck traffic for over a decade —we need to be greening these streets, not polluting them,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “As the community looks forward to finally implementing the Maspeth Bypass Plan that will reduce truck traffic on our local streets, the MTA’s plan for a Maspeth bus depot will sets us back to ground zero. I stand with my colleagues in government and the residents of Maspeth when I tell the MTA to do right by Queens and keep the bus depot out of Maspeth.”
“Contrary to some early claims of victory, this is far from over,” echoed Van Bramer. “We have just begun to fight.”