Ron Hagel, who lives on 109th Avenue between 115th and 116th Streets, said the narrow, two-way road has been affected by the Q41 bus route’s change and estimated about eight parking spots had been lost on either side of his block alone.
The route change, which went into effect on July 1, was designed to streamline the Q41 path and eliminate turns on 111th Street, an MTA spokesperson said.
Because of this, Hagel said he’s heard of residents getting parking tickets after they’ve been forced to find new spots in a neighborhood where parking is already difficult.
Hagel said that aside from one meeting — which he claims residents were not informed of — the MTA did not communicate the changes to residents of Ozone Park.
Trash and noise have become additional problems, Hagel said, because of the new route.
“You now have people leaning on people’s gates,” he said. “We don’t have trash cans here all the time, so garbage is a problem at times.”
The MTA spokesperson added that local elected officials and community boards were notified in January of the planned changes, and notified riders through posted messages on the bus line.
“Advance notice of the changes was given to customers through service notices posted on the buses and on the MTA website,” the spokesperson said. “Bus stop notices were posted [by MTA Road Operations] at all of the affected former bus stops; however, many of these bus stop notices were vandalized and removed by other parties, and had to be reposted.”
The MTA said there were no plans to go back to the original route.
Geraldine Bruccoleri, also a 109th Avenue resident, has been active in getting residents to petition against the changed stop, and said she’s already collected nearly 500 signatures. She’s also planning on attending the MTA’s July 25 board meeting to represent the concerned citizens.
The South Ozone Park resident said the MTA did not come to the community and listen to the concerns of people living on the block.
“Everything on paper can be black and white,” she said. “Nobody came to the community to discuss our quality of life – the gray shades.”
Elizabeth Braton, chair of Community Board 10, said the board voted nearly unanimously against the MTA changes last September; the board, however, is only advisory and the plan went through regardless, she said.
Assemblymember Philip Goldfeder said he had requested the MTA hold a public forum to hear residential concerns when the now-active route was in planning. Goldfeder said, however, that the MTA does not have to hold a public hearing if the change in route is less than 25 percent.
Goldfeder said he’d drafted legislation to have the MTA hold a public forum for any changes, hoping there can be “some balance where the community can have a say in the process.”