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Juniper Park Civic mulls Atlas bus route

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The bus, which currently stops at the Roosevelt Avenue bus depot in Jackson Heights before heading into Maspeth and Middle Village and returning to the depot, would make a stop at the Shops on Cooper Avenue before returning to its original route. Glendale residents have questioned how the MTA would turn the buses around without clogging up residential streets in their community.Glendale resident and civic member Dori Capace said the plan could result in the elimination of parking on some neighborhood streets, such as 78th Avenue or 79th Place, and that the buses would add to the community's traffic congestion. She also criticized MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger's involvement in the project, since his ATCO Properties & Management developed Atlas Park and his son, Damon Hemmerdinger, acts as director of development at the center."This plan would mean a lot of congestion and eliminating a lot of parking," she said. "And I feel there is a conflict of interest and an abuse of power here. We are not against Atlas Park, but this is affecting our quality of life."Damon Hemmerdinger, director of development for Atlas Park, said he thought the re-routing plan would benefit borough residents."I think the more connections there are between the various parts of Queens, the more residents will be able to get where they are trying to go," he said.Juniper Park President Robert Holden said the as-of-right project would be a "traffic nightmare." He said the civic had not yet taken a stance on the project, but plans to extend the bus route could be improved."I personally don't see the need to go down to Myrtle Avenue - there aren't many stores there," he said. "[The route] should end at Atlas Park."Juniper Park Vice President Edward Kampermann said he thought the plan would provide an important service."It would allow people who live in Maspeth, Elmhurst and Middle Village to go into the Myrtle Avenue commercial district," he said. "It's an advantage for seniors. But some people in the neighborhood are saying, 'Not in my backyard.'"But former state Assemblyman Michael Cohen said he did not like the MTA's dealings with the community on the proposal."You don't just jam things down people's throats," he said. "[Hemmerdinger] should turn buses around on his property. This is not in the interest of the people of Glendale."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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