The Department of Transportation has taken action to eliminate a potentially dangerous situation near a school building in a residential neighborhood in Bayside, and neighbors are relieved.
The simple act of paving deteriorated Duane Road at Fort Totten is allowing two buses, the Q13 and 16, to turn around, rather than using streets near PS 169 and the Bell Academy, located inside the school.
The problem began almost a year ago when the city began construction on an enlarged parking lot at Little Bay Park, outside Fort Totten. Prior to that, the buses used the lot to turn around.
Buses were then forced to make the turnarounds on 212th Street and 23rd Avenue, off Bell Boulevard, near the school facility.
“They are very busy buses that start in Flushing,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Cooperative Section 1 and the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, as well as a member of Community Board 7. “They created a dangerous situation and added to traffic congestion.”
Area residents contacted Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and CB 7 to work with city agencies to rectify the situation, Schreiber said.
The problem was, he said, the Parks Department only gave three days’ notice to the MTA regarding the parking lot being off limits for turnarounds.
“But everyone made a good-faith effort to come up with a solution,” Schreiber added. “That includes elected officials, DOT, MTA and others.”
Braunstein said the repaving “is good news” and thanked the Army for continuing to allow the buses to travel within its area in the fort.
Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of CB 7, said she appreciates the cooperative effort in getting the road repaired. “I found out from MTA that because of the potholes, they needed to utilize the streets, because the holes, which were extremely deep, would ruin the undercarriage of the buses,” she said.
Meanwhile, Schreiber has been informed by the Parks Department that the parking lot and long-awaited comfort station in Little Bay Park will be completed next fall.
Fort Totten is operated by the Parks Department and the Fire Department. The Army maintains a National Guard unit there.