Tag Archives: Ridgewood

Ridgewood library brought thousands of visitors to June events

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan's office

Ridgewood’s local library is the place to be this summer.

The Ridgewood library attracted over 5,400 visitors with its regular and special programs last month. In addition, the Ridgewood branch is fourth in the library system in the number of programs offered and the number of people who visit the library, according to Joanne King, the director of communications for the Queens Library.

Three events in June helped catapult the Ridgewood branch to these strong numbers.

The first was Fun Day at the Library, which took place on June 20. Volunteers from the Friends of the Ridgewood Library (FORL) and students from Christ the King High School in Middle Village helped set up 39 tables for the flea market-style event.

Fun Day at the Library was an important factor in the future funding of the library. The money raised will help bolster the library’s collections and programs.

“We were so grateful to the hundreds of people who bought items and those who donated items and those who helped us sell the items,” said Thomas Dowd, president of FORL. “We raised about $1,200. That money will help us improve the library.”

The event brought out 27 vendors, local civic organizations, members of the fire department and face painters for the children. Another part of Fun Day at the Library was a telecast from Lincoln Center. This kind of telecast for world-class performers comes to only two libraries in Queens, Ridgewood being one of them.

“Because of our donations to the collection and the active pursuit of programming opportunities by our librarian, Vesna Simon, the Ridgewood branch is considered a principal library in the Queens System,” Dowd said.

Another well-attended Ridgewood library event was the “Invest in Libraries” rally held by Councilman Antonio Reynoso. The rally was in support of adding additional funds to the mayor’s executive budget for the three library systems in New York City.

Representatives of elected officials at all levels of government joined members of the Queens Library staff to promote the importance of library programs for informal education, early childhood development and English as a second language classes.

The June library participation numbers were also enhanced by the Ridgewood branch’s participation in I.S. 93’s 100th birthday celebration.

Located directly across the street from the library, the intermediate school is a chief beneficiary of the library. The relationship between the library and the school has become so close that the principal and two assistant principals often visit the library after school to help kids and to channel the enthusiasm of the young teens.

Volunteers from the FORL watched as kids and parents participated in events like “dunk the principal” during the celebration. Free library gifts were also given out and parents were encouraged to join the FORL group.

The FORL thinks that the Ridgewood branch can become an even more integral part of the cultural life of the community going forward. The library has just undergone a renovation of the 100-seat performance space, and a balcony and the children’s room was built.

In addition, FORL will launch a new initiative to read in the public parks. They will start on July 20 at 11 a.m. at Grover Cleveland Park.

“We now have many more laptops and tablet PCs for use. All the computers have been moved to the balcony to give more seating space,” Dowd said. “Our outdoor performance and exhibit space is underutilized for lack of security. Right now the budget does not allow the meeting room to stay open after the library closes.”


Participatory budgeting coming to Councilwoman Crowley’s district

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is the latest city lawmaker to hop on the participatory budgeting bandwagon.

Crowley announced on Tuesday that residents in the 30th City Council District — which includes all or parts of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside — will get to decide how to spend $1 million in city funds on community improvement projects.

She is the 11th member of the City Council’s Queens delegation to host participatory budgeting. During the 2015 fiscal year, City Council members Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Julissa Ferreras, Karen Koslowitz, I. Daneek Miller, Donovan Richards, Antonio Reynoso, Eric Ulrich, Paul Vallone and Jimmy Van Bramer — along with former City Councilman Mark Weprin — pledged to fund $12,871,000 in projects through the process.

“This year, I am able to bring participatory budgeting to my constituents and give them insight into the often lengthy and sometimes very expensive city budgeting process,” Crowley said in a statement. “This will provide a forum for active engagement between residents and myself to decide on capital projects, and calls for the participation of every community member.”

Through participatory budgeting, local residents brainstorm and then vote on a number of proposed capital budget projects for their community, such as street tree planting, park improvements, school technology upgrades, security cameras and street resurfacing.

The first round of community meetings focused on the process will be held in September, with voting taking place in February 2016. For additional information, call Crowley’s Glendale office at 718-366-3900.


Cops seek suspect in Ridgewood bus stop robbery

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD released video footage Friday night of a man wanted in connection with a recent robbery at a Ridgewood bus stop.

According to authorities, the incident occurred at 3:20 a.m. on June 17 at the bus stop located on Metropolitan Avenue near Woodward Avenue.

Reportedly, a 59-year-old man was standing at the location when he was approached by the suspect, a black male, and two white male cohorts. Police said the black male demanded the victim’s property, and the two white males grabbed the man from behind and threw him to the ground.

Authorities said the three perpetrators searched the victim and removed cash along with his wallet, which contained credit cards, then fled from the scene.

Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the incident; the victim refused medical attention.

Through their investigation, detectives learned that the black male later used the victim’s credit cards at locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The video shows him making one of the illegal purchases.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.



104COP thanks Frank Kotnik for 25 years of service

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

For 25 years Frank Kotnik has served the communities of Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Ridgewood as a member of the 104 Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), formerly known as G-COP (Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol).

During those two and a half decades, Kotnik devoted his time and energy to making those communities as safe as he could by organizing patrols, coordinating parades and lending help during times of need, such as after 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy.

At Thursday night’s 104COP meeting at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, family, friends, colleagues and local politicians surprised Kotnik to celebrate his 25 years of service as he stepped down as president of 104COP.

As his final act as president, Kotnik handed over the gavel to Mark Pearson, the new president of 104COP. Although Kotnik stepped down as president, he will remain an active member of the board.

After the installation of all the newly elected officers of 104COP, the guests began showering Kotnik with thanks and gifts.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo presented Kotnik with a proclamation from the New York Senate, thanking him for his years of dedication to the communities that 104COP serves and for lending help to other communities in need.

“I will forever be grateful to 104COP, and to Frank, because a third of my district was severely impacted by Sandy,” Addabbo said. “And Frank led the charge down there for many of you members to help my people after Sandy. And I don’t mean a month after Sandy, but days, hours after Sandy, Frank was helping my constituents, who are still hurting. So for that I will forever grateful to Frank, so thank you.”

Kotnik was honored by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Councilman Antonio Reynoso with a proclamation, thanking him for his service.

“When I think of G-COP, I think of Frank,” Crowley said. “He’s always been president and the leader, and there is no other organization in the city of New York like G-COP.”

“As the newest member of this elite team here, let me tell you, I just wanted to say, Frank, I think I graduated preschool when you started at G-COP,” Reynoso said, to which the crowd erupted with laughter. “That speaks less of my age and more of his commitment to the mission of G-COP. A lot of people do things in short [stints], but he made a commitment to this community for much longer than that…and I truly want to thank you.”

Commanding Officer of the 104th Precinct, Captain Mark Wachter, personally thanked Kotnik for helping to keep the communities he has lived in since he was a child safe for so many years.

“Frank watched out for this community when I was very young,” Wachter said. “Because of Frank and the members of G-COP, this community is still safe. So on that personal level Frank, I thank you.”

Wacther then presented Kotnik with a plaque from the NYPD, thanking him for his years of service.

Among the others that honored Kotnik throughout the evening were representatives from Borough President Melinda Katz’s office, Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct, representatives from the 104th Precinct Community Council, and the members of 104COP.

Kotnik thanked everyone for their love and support, now and over the years.

“Thank you, thank you for the support,” Kotnik said. “One thing that was forgotten, I know everyone is saying it was me, but it was ‘we.’ This patrol is always, as far as I’m concerned, is ‘we.’ We were going to do this together…All I can say to everybody, thank you for coming, God bless you all.”


CB 5 sounds off on waste-by-rail company’s permits

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

After learning of the extended time frame for public comments regarding two waste-by-rail permits, members of Community Board 5 (CB 5) collectively voted against them during its meeting Wednesday night at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.

The board unanimously recommended denying the renewal of permits for One World Recycling Inc. and Coastal Distribution, which operate through the Fresh Pond Rail Yard that runs through parts of Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, until certain stipulations are met.

One World Recycling submitted a permit renewal and modification application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), requesting to increase their daily throughput from 370 tons to a total of 1,100 tons.

The permit submitted by Coastal Distribution requests to expand the type of waste it transports to include commercial and residential waste.

“The big problem we have is that somehow the idea of mixing commercial solid waste and construction and demolition debris…we disagree with that,” said Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB 5. “We also had a concern over the years, and continue to be concerned about the lack of solid covers on the construction and demolition rail cars.”

The current method for sealing construction and demolition debris in rail cars is by using a mesh lining to cover the rail car. The mesh leaves the waste vulnerable to rain and pests, as well as subjecting residents of the communities the rail cars pass through to dust, odors and vectors.

“We had success with the Department of Sanitation and them getting Waste Management to put the, what I would call, the putrescible or municipal solid waste in sealed containers,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “But the construction and demolition debris continues to move back and forth in our neighborhoods.”

Another issue raised by Arcuri about waste-by-rail operations is the lack of control of pollution from the rail cars traveling through the communities in CB 5.

“We’ve been working with the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration), the state and the CURES (Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions) group to basically upgrade all of the engines in the Long Island Rail Road’s transportation department,” Arcuri said.

The official stance of CB 5 is that “putrescible solid waste garbage should be transported separately in sealed containers as Waste Management currently does in its agreement to transport city garbage in sealed, odorless containers,” Arcuri said.

“Construction and demolition debris should also be loaded and transported in sealed, odorless containers that will totally prevent dust and odors from escaping,” he continued. “There should not be a renewal of, or granting of any permits to these two companies unless the above mentioned items are accomplished. And these companies should certainly not be permitted to expand their operations until these stipulations are included in their permits by New York State DEC.”

The board’s next step is to send their recommendation to NYSDEC before Aug. 9, the deadline for the public comment period.


Strong game plan ignites a bidding war in Ridgewood

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Greiner Maltz

Two mixed-use properties, situated one block from each other, were held in an estate. Despite their ideal location in the rapidly developing neighborhood of Ridgewood, their sale faced a particular challenge.

The executor of the estate could not act independently, as he was accountable to multiple family members who held conflicting perspectives regarding the handling of the properties. For the sake of simplicity, they desired to sell the properties as a single package. The executor lives out of town and is neither familiar with the neighborhood nor its local market, and did not know how best to proceed, much less negotiate with the relevant parties.

Taking a referral from his lawyer, the executor contacted Swain Weiner at Greiner-Maltz Investment Properties. After targeted research on comparable sales in the area, Weiner executed appropriate asking prices for each property that would both push the market in the favor of his client and maintain the ability to attract prospective buyers.

Tailored marketing strategies were implemented for both properties as each was introduced to the market. Weiner made personal phone calls to owners in the area who held similar properties, and oversaw an effort that distributed postcard advertisements via direct mail, and sent listings via email. The market for potential buyers was completely covered.

Not only were the properties sold simultaneously and within an efficient time period, but they also sparked bidding wars. Each resulted in separate buyers purchasing the properties at their full asking price, closing at only 60 and 40 days’ due diligence respectively. The final purchasing price for one of the properties set a new record in the area, selling at 31 times the rent roll.

Its impressively low capitalization rate—coming in at 2.7 percent—is similar to what is seen in Manhattan. The other property’s full asking price was met at 14 times the rent roll, representing a 5.5 capitalization rate (a rate that is still quite low for the area).

With the two properties yielding an optimized purchasing price far above the sales price of a package deal, Weiner not only effectively served the interests of the estate, but far exceeded their expectations.


Glendale, Middle Village residents get more time to vent on waste-by-rail permits

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Residents of Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village scored a victory in their fight for the containerization of all solid waste transported by rail Tuesday, when elected officials secured an extension of the public comment period regarding permits regarding two waste haulers’ plans to increase their rail operations.

In the permits, One World Recycling Inc., which operates out of Lindenhurst, is looking to expand the total quantity of waste they transport via the Fresh Pond Railyard, which runs through parts of Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village.

Coastal Distribution in Farmingdale, which also uses the Fresh Pond Railyard, also seeks to expand the type of waste it hauls to include commercial and residential waste, and is planning to test out three types of containerization methods.

In a letter to Joseph Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), dated June 26, U.S. Representatives Grace Meng and Nydia Velázquez, state Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi and Michael Miller, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Borough President Melinda Katz got the NYSDEC to extend the public comment period for permits.

“We are concerned about the impact that increased operations will have on the quality of life for our constituents in these communities, specifically in regards to odor from open containers that sit idle, the attraction of pests, and pollution stemming from the construction and demolition debris and other waste that are not adequately sealed,” the lawmakers wrote. “A public forum should be held in order to provide an opportunity for the residents to voice their concerns and reach an understanding with the companies planning these operations.”

Prior to this extension, the comment period was only 19 days long, not the typical time frame of 30 days. The public can now submit comments through Aug. 9.

The NYSDEC will factor in comments from the public when deciding whether or not to grant the permits.

For the One World Recycling permit, the public can submit written comments by email to OneWorldRecycling@dec.ny.gov or by regular mail to Mark Carrara, NYSDEC, SUNY at Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790-3409.

For the Coastal Distribution permit, the public can submit written comments by email to NYAR.Coastal@dec.ny.gov or by regular mail to NYSDEC, Susan Ackerman, SUNY at Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790-3409.


Cops arrest Middle Village, Ridgewood residents in fireworks bust

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD104Pct

They won’t be having a blast this Fourth of July.

Two Middle Village residents and a Ridgewood man were arrested Thursday for illegally possessing fireworks as part of the NYPD’s ongoing crackdown on unlawful pyrotechnics leading up to Independence Day.

The 104th Precinct stopped Middle Village’s Jason Rodriguez, 28, and Tina Foley, 29, at 9:50 p.m. Thursday night at the intersection of 65th Place and Admiral Avenue in Middle Village. Reportedly, they were found in possession of $2,000 in illegal fireworks, some of which were left unattended with a 3-year-old child in their car.

Additionally, the precinct also took into custody Wilfredo Maisonave, 32, of Ridgewood after he was caught possessing fireworks in front of a location on Woodward Avenue between Flushing Avenue and Troutman Street at about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy professionally-operated and permitted fireworks displays such as the Macy’s 4th of July spectacular on the East River, but it is illegal for residents to set off their own fireworks.

“The 104th Precinct will have extra patrols out all day and night to deal with illegal fireworks,” Det. Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit said in an email. “If you get caught, you can be subject to arrest.”

Anyone who witnesses fireworks being illegally used or sold in New York City is urged to call 911.


SPOILER ALERT: Gotham films second-season scene in Ridgewood

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


The streets of Ridgewood were transformed into the gritty backdrop for the filming of Fox’s hit television series “Gotham” on Tuesday afternoon.

The show’s lead actor, Ben McKenzie, brought his character Det. James Gordon to life in a fast-paced action sequence filmed beneath the Seneca Avenue M train station. The intersection of Palmetto Street and Seneca Avenue was transformed into the fictitious Gotham City corner of Harlow Avenue and Wattford Street for the shoot.

The daytime shoot captured a scene with McKenzie facing off against an original costumed super-villain claiming to be the “Zarnod, Reaper of Souls.”

McKenzie’s character Gordon was busy directing traffic on real-life Seneca Avenue when the villain struck, taking a pedestrian hostage on the sidewalk.

Gordon approached with his gun drawn and battled the fiend beneath the bright red awning of the Crown Fried Chicken restaurant on the corner of Seneca Avenue and Palmetto Street.

The cast and crew filmed multiple takes of the scene from a variety of angles and vantage points, and filmed well into the afternoon. The Gottscheer Hall on Fairview Avenue served as the holding area for the film shoot. The hall’s main dining room served as a makeup and wardrobe area for the cast.

When filming wrapped, the cast and crew returned to the dining hall for a large meal before moving onto the next location on Johnson Avenue in Bushwick.

Tuesday’s shoot marks the second time “Gotham” used Ridgewood as the location for the Dark Knight’s hometown. Back in February, the show filmed a scene at the same location featuring classic Batman villain The Riddler, played by actor Corey Michael Smith.

The scene shot Tuesday will be featured in the upcoming second season of “Gotham” set to air on Fox in the fall.


Youth employment opportunities for Ridgewood teens this summer

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow

With the school year coming to an end, many teenagers may find it difficult to find any type of summertime employment, but one youth workforce development provider is looking to help teens enroll in internship programs.

In New York City alone, there are approximately 186,000 youths ages 17 to 24 who are not in school or working, according to Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT). They also believe that employing young adults is a key way to help them stay on the right track, finish school and move on to college.

This summer, OBT is offering teens in and around the Ridgewood/Bushwick area an opportunity to enroll in the Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP) at the Jamaica Y Roads Center, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater New York, as well as OBT’s Bushwick site.

The YAIP is a 14-week program, three weeks of job skills training followed by an 11-week internship, where participants will learn leadership skills, computer and office-related skills, critical thinking, interview techniques, business etiquette, public speaking and financial literacy. The participants will intern in a corporation, small business, government agencies or nonprofit organization.

“We enroll 40 trainees each cohort and we run three cohorts each year. Each program session is 14 weeks long,” said Baxter Townsend, communications associate for OBT. “In the job skills/training sessions the trainees do team-building activities, learn time management skills, career/college exploration, take classes in health and wellness, healthy relationships, financial literacy, professional development, computer classes so trainees can received their Microsoft Office Specialization Certification and customer service classes so trainees can earn their National Retail Federation Customer Service Certification.”

Some of the internship sites include Department of Motor Vehicles, El Puente-Taylor-Wythe Community Center, Wyckoff Medical Center, Councilmember Antonio Reynoso’s office, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and FSO Outsourcing.

Additionally, participants who finish the 14-week program earn over $3,000.

“The Young Adult Internship Program helps participants get their lives back on track,” Townsend said. “Of the approximately 80 percent of the trainees who complete the 14-week program, 87 percent of them either find employment, enroll in college or a high school equivalency diploma program, or enroll in an advanced skills/vocational training program.”

The deadline for enrollment for the next session is July 6. Interested candidates can enroll at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow located at 25 Thornton St., in Brooklyn from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


DOT commissioner headlines Myrtle Avenue BID meeting in Ridgewood

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso


The city’s top transportation official touted ongoing traffic initiatives during the 27th Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) yearly meeting on Tuesday night in Ridgewood.

As the event’s keynote speaker, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg spoke in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative and touted the success of the program. Trottenberg has referred to the Vision Zero initiative as one of the “signature priorities” of both the de Blasio administration and the DOT.

“We look forward to this partnership on safety projects, causes and all of the other things that will help make this neighborhood really thrive and be prosperous,” Trottenberg said.

The action plans are meant to target problematic intersections with high crash and fatality rates. The DOT hopes to reduce incidents of injury or death through a combination of education, enforcement and engineering improvements, including curbside neckdowns and designated bicycle lanes.

Capt. Mark Wachter, the 104th Precinct’s commanding officer, shared in Trottenberg’s optimism. “Vision Zero is working,” he said. “Fatalities are down, and that’s the biggest thing.”

Wachter employs a similar approach to the DOT’s action plans in his combination of community education and enforcement. This dual pronged effort focuses on preventing unsafe behavior through education while curbing ongoing hazardous behavior through hefty fines and enforcement.

According to Wachter, the 104th Precinct saw three fewer fatalities this year versus the previous year. For the captain, the success of Vision Zero is a joint effort shared among motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

“Everybody’s got to look out. It’s everybody’s job,” Wachter explained. He cautioned motorists and pedestrians alike to use be alert at intersections and dangerous turns, and warned pedestrians to avoid using cellphones while walking.

DOT Senior Project Manager Alexander Keating noted that the Community Board 5 area, which includes Ridgewood, is participating in the federally funded “Go Smart NYC” pilot program designed to reduce congestion and pollution while increasing foot traffic to local businesses and communities. Go Smart NYC aims to increase education regarding travel options and alternatives to driving, such as walking, biking, carpooling and mass transit.

As an added incentive, program participants sign in and log their trips on the Go Smart website in exchange for special discounts at local merchants and retailers. For example, local restaurants such as Ltauha and Ridgewood Eats are offering participants 10 percent off their dine-in orders through December 2015. Rudy’s Bakery, the Onderdonk House and Cook’s Crafts in Glendale are offering discounts for various goods and services.

Thus far, 289 Board 5 residents have signed up for the Go Smart NYC program, according to Keating. Out of the 229 total trips logged, 101 were on foot, translating into 15,000 total calories burned and a communal savings of $455.

Meanwhile, City Councilman Antonio Reynoso advocated for bike lanes and greater bike access throughout the district.

“Vehicles have a convenient way to get across in a way that bikes don’t,” he explained. “People are breaking the law to compensate for that, which is not acceptable, but as a city we need to make sure that we can put the infrastructure in place that would allow for them to move freely as well.”


Detectives collar suspect in Ridgewood rape attempt

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police charged a Brooklyn man on Tuesday with the attempted rape of a woman whom he followed into a Ridgewood apartment building last week.

Larry Williams, 24, of Bedford-Stuyvesant is accused of trying to sexually assault a 28-year-old woman on the 1900 block of Palmetto Street at about 9:15 a.m. on June 25. Reportedly, he was not known to the victim.

According to authorities, Williams followed the victim into the building, then confronted her as she attempted to enter her apartment. Reportedly, the suspect tried to pull the victim’s pants down.

Police said the victim engaged in a physical struggle with Williams, then managed to enter her apartment and lock the door behind her. Williams reportedly attempted to push the door open, but his efforts failed and he fled the scene.

The incident was reported to the 104th Precinct; the woman was not injured.

Members of the NYPD Queens Special Victims Squad tracked down Williams and arrested him Tuesday following questioning at the 112th Precinct’s Forest Hills stationhouse, where the squad is based. Williams is charged with attempted rape, burglary, sex abuse and forcible touching.



Katz provides $200K for countdown clocks at Queens’ busiest bus stops

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Robert Pozarycki

Where’s the bus? That common question among Queens commuters will be answered with countdown clocks set to be installed at the borough’s 10 busiest bus stops within the next two years.

Borough President Melinda Katz announced on Tuesday she allocated $200,000 in the city’s 2016 fiscal year budget to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) for the purchase and installation of the real-time devices that track the estimated time of arrival for buses.

While the MTA oversees the bus system, the DOT is responsible for the countdown clocks and other bus-related infrastructure such as signage and shelters.

“Countdown clocks eliminate the anxiety of waiting for the unknown, a feeling familiar to every traveler,” Katz said in a statement. “They’ll add more predictability to any commute and will be a boon for thousands of riders in a borough that boasts some of the longest commutes to and from work.”

The DOT, through analyzing data such as ridership levels, commuter transfers, proximity to prominent facilities and dependency of bus service, will recommend to the MTA and Katz which 10 locations will receive the countdown clocks. The final locations will be determined through conversations among Katz, the DOT and the MTA.

Judged solely on activity, it figures that at least a few of the countdown clocks will be installed at transit hubs along some of Queens’ 10 busiest bus routes. According to MTA statistics, the Q58 led all other borough bus ridership in 2014, with 9,787,420 customers. The Q58, which runs between Ridgewood and Flushing, connects riders at both ends to local subway lines and intersects with Queens Boulevard, where M and R train service is available at the Grand Avenue station.

Other heavily traveled bus routes in Queens include the Q44 route between Jamaica and the Bronx, which passes through Flushing (9,240,459 riders in 2014); the Q10 between Kew Gardens and JFK Airport (7,511,855); the Q46 bus between Forest Hills and New Hyde Park (6,594,164); and the Q53 limited line between Woodside and the Rockaways (5,140,345).

The clocks are scheduled to be installed and activated in 2017. Currently, riders can find information on bus locations through the MTA’s BusTime program, available online and through a mobile app.


Residents rally against MTA bus reroute on Ridgewood/Bushwick border

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy of United We Stand Neighborhood Association

In the face of a proposed bus route change by the MTA, members of the United We Stand Neighborhood Association and residents of Bushwick and Ridgewood rallied and marched to oppose the new B26 and Q58 bus routes, which on Sunday started traveling down their blocks on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border.

The march was set to take place Saturday afternoon, but after meeting with a representative from the MTA on Wednesday, the group decided to move the rally to Sunday, the day the bus routes officially changed, in order to maximize the protest’s impact.

“They did not give us any notification that they would be doing the reroute of the buses,” said Flor Ramos, member of United We Stand Neighborhood Association. “The MTA never informed the public that anything was happening.”

“There were around 150 people in the meeting,” Ramos added. “We have support from Councilman Rafael Espinal and from [Brooklyn] Community Board 4.”

On Sunday afternoon protesters marched down Putnam Avenue to Ridgewood Place and up Palmetto Street, the new route which the buses would be taking.

Residents took out their smartphones to snap photos and take videos of the buses trying to turn onto Ridgewood Place from Putnam Avenue. The protesters were not surprised when the buses could not complete the turn.

“This is our concern,” Ramos told the Ridgewood Times in a phone interview. “Those buses can’t fit through there. Even if they made it to Palmetto, they couldn’t turn there either.”

Ramos said that both the B26 and Q58 buses failed to make turns onto Ridgewood Place, at which point they were rerouted to another block, where they also had troubles making the turn. In the end, the buses were brought back to their original route, according to Ramos.

“I think the rally was very successful. It brought awareness to people in the area who didn’t know about it,” Ramos said. “We are bringing a lot of light to this issue. These buses turning on small residential streets is dangerous. The narrower streets will cause more accidents.”

According to Ramos, the MTA is looking to implement no parking restrictions on the corners of the blocks on the rerouted bus lines to remove vehicles from the corners, allowing buses to safely turn onto and off of Ridgewood Place, in order to complete the new route.


More road work closures on Jackie Robinson Parkway this week

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Ongoing renovations on the Jackie Robinson Parkway will cause even more headaches for drivers this week.

Portions of the eastbound lanes of the 5-mile parkway between Pennsylvania/Jamaica Avenues in Brooklyn and the Van Wyck Expressway will be closed overnight from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. through Friday, July 3, as crews replace existing guardrails.

Additionally, the right lane of the eastbound parkway between the Woodhaven Boulevard overpass and Metropolitan Avenue will be shut down on weekdays from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. through Thursday. The closure is needed as workers replace a retaining wall.

The closures are part of the state Department of Transportation’s efforts to upgrade the entire Jackie Robinson Parkway, which connects Kew Gardens to eastern Brooklyn and winds its way through Ridgewood, Glendale, Cypress Hills, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens.

Both sides of the parkway will be resurfaced in the $17 million project, which also includes the installation of new safety devices, lane markings and reflectors. The state DOT indicated in May that entire segments of the parkway would be closed to traffic on six separate weekends through the late summer.

Drivers are advised to use designated detour routes while closures are in effect. The DOT also reminds them to travel safely and slowly through work zones; by law, speeding fines are doubled in work zones, and convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone may result in a driver’s license suspension.