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MTA reaches impasse in Bayside bus debate

Residents of the co-op at the corner of 23rd Avenue and Bell Boulevard had been complaining about the noise and fumes from buses that they said have been stopping and idling near their co-op for years. The building is separated from the Bay Terrace Shopping Center by a truck route owned by Cord Meyer Development, which owns the mall.

Building residents said buses from the MTA and Queens Surface use the truck route to get from stops on 212th Street behind the co-op to Bell Boulevard. A spokesman for the MTA said Friday the agency had made several adjustments to their bus routes in an attempt to ameliorate the situation, including using a different turnaround location at night.

"This is a situation that has been in existence for almost 20 years," said Albert O'Leary, spokesman for the MTA. "We've taken a number of steps over the years to lessen the impact. There is nothing else left for us to do - we're between a rock and a hard place."

Representatives from several city agencies and Queens Surface President Myra Burke met with residents from the co-op on Oct. 24 to discuss the problem at a meeting organized by community activist and political candidate Joyce Shepard. Gene McSweeney, a representative for state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) also attended. A representative from the MTA did not appear at the gathering.

Rita Krich, 74, has a ground floor apartment in the co-op and has been complaining about the buses for several years. Krich claimed that in any given day there are about 100 MTA buses encircling the building and that vehicles from both the MTA and Queens Surface are left idling for long periods of time.

Krich and other residents were surprised to learn that other Bay Terrace community activists held a meeting on traffic issues in the area at Borough Hall earlier in the month.

A spokesman for Borough President Claire Shulman said the meeting on Oct. 4 was organized by community activist Barbara Jobo and that she invited residents and agency representatives. Spokesman Dan Andrews said no solutions on any traffic issues were reached at that meeting.

"There was no attempt to exclude anybody," Andrews said. He said a follow-up meeting slated for Nov. 21 was not open to the public.

O'Leary did not respond to questions as to why the MTA did not send a representative to Shepard's meeting on Oct. 24. Neither O'Leary or Andrews could confirm whether the MTA was present at the Borough Hall meeting.

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