By Bill Parry
An elected official is crying foul on her neighborhood supermarket after an MTA bus stop was moved to allow customers to park in a vacant lot.
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhust) was outraged to discover that workers from the Trade Fair at 99-10 Astoria Blvd. broke into the ground and dug up the Q19 and Q49 bus stop sign at 100th Street, moving it six feet away and creating their own curb cut without permission from the Department of Transportation or the Department of Buildings.
“This is not only blatant disregard for the city’s planning and transportation system but it is illegal and dangerous,” Ferreras-Copeland said. “We cannot have cars stopping and piling up to turn in the middle of a street like Astoria Boulevard, particularly where a bus stop and the Elmcor Senior Center are located. This is beyond unacceptable, and I will see that it is immediately corrected and all the proper fines are issued.”
A spokesman for the Trade Fair chain refused to comment.
The Department of Buildings said the owner did not apply for a curb cut at the property and the Department of Transportation sent work crews to restore its bus stop.
“DOT has inspected the removal, and unauthorized alignment, of the bus stop at this location,” an agency spokesman said. “We are relocating the bus stop to its original location as well as issuing violations for defacements.”
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), who has held public office for more than 13 years, has never seen a stunt like this one.
“It is unreal, to say the least, that a business decided unilaterally to move a bus sign for its own advantage,” he said. “This is public property, and for a supermarket to act like this goes beyond any logical reasoning. I am glad the community came together and brought this to the attention of the proper City agencies.”
Meanwhile, Ferreras-Copeland wants her constituents to be watchful.
“If you see dangerous traffic conditions in our district, let my office know,” she said. “It is my job to inform the Department of Transportation and work with them to keep our streets safe.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr