The furor over a city-owned empty lot in west Maspeth continued this week after the chairman and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority sent a letter to a deputy mayor indicating the agency finds the lot suitable for an Access-A-Ride facility.
In the April 6 missive to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel, Jay Walder stated “the property situated on 49th [Street] in Maspeth, Queens would meet its needs,” and that NYC Transit “is ready to begin the process with the city of studying the feasibility of constructing” the facility.
Earlier this year, the city asked the MTA to relinquish the Brooklyn waterfront site it now uses for Access-A-Ride vehicles so that the administration could install a park in Greenpoint. Last month, Maspeth civic leaders and elected officials blasted Mayor Bloomberg for even proposing the location without any community input.
On Monday, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) announced his displeasure with the latest development.
“Any move to build a depot in Maspeth would take millions of taxpayer 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,” he said in a prepared statement.
Van Bramer’s spokeswoman told the Chronicle on Wednesday that he “is considering all options including legal options at this point to deter this from happening.”
Walder’s letter said the Maspeth site would require a parking lot to accommodate 150 paratransit sedans and vans, and a small building to train operators.
“This space is needed when new vehicle orders are received and when old vehicles are retired,” Walder noted. “In both instances, storage space is needed while vehicles are being processed into and out of commission. These vehicles would only be accessing the site once on their way in and once on their way out. They will not be traveling in or out of the location on any other basis. In no way would the Maspeth site be operated as a depot.”
In March, Van Bramer said a deal for the location “was about to be sealed” until phone calls and letters to City Hall from area pols halted proceedings, citing the city’s failure to include in the selection process any notice to officials and the community.
At the time, a city spokesman said “nothing is final and there are no plans to move [the facility] yet.” City Hall did not return a request for comment this week.