PS 58 neighbors decry school bus parking ills

By Joe Anuta

Maspeth drivers want yellow buses busted.

Residents who attended a meeting with the 104th Precinct April 20 complained of school bus drivers who double- and sometimes triple-park outside PS 58 with impunity.

“It seems to me if you’re yellow, you’re sacred,” said resident Manny Cavuana, who called on the officers to write more tickets. “This has been going on since the school opened.”

When the buses double- and triple-park outside the school, at 72-50 Grand Ave., they effectively narrow the road to 1 1/2 lanes of traffic, Cavuana said, causing a dangerous situation. Cars often have to swerve into the opposite lane of traffic to get around the yellow vehicles.

And yet there is ample room along the avenue for the buses to park normally.

The only problem is that the spaces are often occupied by parents who are also determined to drop off or pick their kids despite its being illegal to park in front of the building during school hours.

“God forbid little Johnny should walk a block to school,” said another woman at the meeting. “I’ve always seen the handicapped bus double-parked because some mother is in the space.”

Last Thursday, lines of minivans along with an ice cream truck pulled into the spaces reserved for the school buses, forcing many to double park right beside the vehicles of parents.

“It’s my only option,” said one testy parent who pulled directly into the lane and hopped out of his car. “I can afford the ticket.”

At one point, a bus driver stopped and asked the crossing guard to tell a car to get out of a prime spot near the playground. The man obliged.

“It’s terrible,” said one resident who sees the chaos on a weekly basis. “Parents’ cars line the street, especially on Mondays and Fridays. I worry about the kids. There is nowhere for the buses to park.”

From Tuesday through Thursday, the school releases the children in two waves, but on Mondays and Fridays they are let loose all at once.

“It’s a real problem,” said one bus driver, who did not want to be named.

With the parents’ vehicles parked, and the buses double-parked beside them, Grand Avenue became clogged as city buses attempted to squeeze past each other along with the rest of the traffic.

Detective Tony Jimenez of the 104th Precinct said parents who park in front of the school are doing so illegally and promised officers from the precinct would look into the situation. Jimenez had personally been out to the school, but wrote tickets for cars who passed buses that had stop signs extended while loading children, which is also illegal.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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