Big wheels, keep on turning — away from a historic Flushing church.
The MTA will redirect five city bus routes from St. George’s Episcopal Church after local leaders and parishioners complained about idling buses and its drivers who relieve themselves on the side of the church.
“What was happening to our beautiful church was devastating,” said Assemblymember Ron Kim. “It’s very sad that when their congregation meets every week, they have to walk through all that pollution and smell.”
Drivers use the streets adjacent to the landmark church at 135-32 38th Ave. as a bus depot, Kim said, contaminating the block with noise, pollution and even urine at night.
Serving Flushing since 1702, the church is the only one in the city to be surrounded on three sides by city buses, said Kim and St. George’s Reverend Wilfredo Benitez.
“These buses have been a hardship on this parish for too long,” Benitez wrote to the MTA in February.
But come September, no city bus will travel along or stop on 38th Avenue, between Main and Prince streets, the MTA said.
The heavily-used Q17 and Q27, which currently have layovers there, will instead rest on 138th Street, between 39th and 37th avenues. And the Q19, Q50 and Q66 will idle near the municipal parking lot on 39th Avenue.
“The community requested the MTA study how to decrease the number of buses stopping near the church,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “This reroute of Q17 and Q27 accomplishes that with minimal inconvenience to customers.”
Local leaders praised the adjustments but said they need to come sooner. Benitez also wants the Q20A, Q20B and Q44’s stops moved away from the front of the church.
“Waiting until Septembers means another summer of bus drivers urinating on the side of our buildings and the summer heat festering the stench,” he said. “All the other hardships already enumerated to the MTA in the past will remain in effect until then.”
The change is part of Kim’s new initiative, launched last November, to clean downtown Flushing.
Residents can click here or call Kim’s office at 718-939-0195 to suggest other blighted sites.