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Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together COMET Newsletter · Fall 2017 Calamus Avenue Nightmare The
Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together COMET Newsletter · Fall 2017 Calamus Avenue Nightmare The
Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together COMET Newsletter · Fall 2017 Calamus Avenue Nightmare The

Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together

COMET

Newsletter · Fall 2017

Maspeth and Elmhurst Together COMET Newsletter · Fall 2017 Calamus Avenue Nightmare The three-year long combined
Maspeth and Elmhurst Together COMET Newsletter · Fall 2017 Calamus Avenue Nightmare The three-year long combined
Calamus Avenue
Calamus
Avenue

Nightmare

The three-year long combined sewer reconstruction nightmare on Calamus Avenue may be coming to an end but it doesn’t mean it’s over for the Woodside homeowners who have to fight to be reimbursed by the contractor who they claim damaged their property. Under the contract, the City is not liable for damages. The contract also states the contractor will pay for damages in their front yards but doesn’t mention damages to their foundations and cracked walls inside their homes which some folks allege occurred during the construction. The residents have not ruled out a lawsuit if the damages are not repaired.

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MTA – No Express Bus Service Warranted for Maspeth

On March 28, 2017, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley reached out to the MTA requesting express bus service for Maspeth. The agency gave several reasons why we don’t need an express bus. One reason was the lack of access to the HOV lane and another excuse was that it would lengthen travel times on existing routes. The closing statement in the agency’s July 10th letter said “Moreover, Maspeth already has ample bus-to-subway connections to Manhattan; therefore, we cannot add express bus service to the Maspeth community at this time”. They enclosed the following report card for our buses.

REPORT CARD FOR BUSES SERVICING MASPETH

Q18

6.5 mph

At 8,665 riders per day, the Q18 ranks 34th in ridership out of 82 Queens routes. This represents a 1.6% decrease in ridership since 2010.

Q39

8.0 mph

At 5,503 riders per day, the Q39 ranks 56th in ridership out of 82 Queens routes. This represents a 16.1% decrease in ridership since 2010.

Q47

7.0 mph

At 7,680 riders per day, the Q47 ranks 39th in ridership out of 82 Queens routes. This represents a 4.2% decrease in ridership since 2010.

Q58

6.7 mph

At 29,027 riders per day, the Q58 ranks 1st in ridership out of 82 Queens routes. This represents a 7.9% increase in ridership since 2010.

Q59

6.7 mph

At 6,844 riders per day, the Q59 ranks 44th in ridership out of 82 Queens routes. This represents a 0.8% increase in ridership since 2010.

Q67

9.0 mph

At 2,848 riders per day, the Q47 ranks 74th in ridership out of 82 Queens routes. This represents a 10.9% increase in ridership since 2010.

B57

5.7 mph

At 7,072 riders per day, the B57 ranks 33rd in ridership out of 55 Brooklyn routes. This represents a 27.3% increase in ridership since 2010.

Council Member Crowley responded to the agency’s letter and stated that the MTA could work with NYS DOT to work on a second access point for express buses to enter the HOV lane when entering Maspeth. She suggested implementing a new express bus route. She reminded the agency how some buses, such as the Q39 and Q58 are filled to capacity during rush hours and the Q47 has been on a three-year detour during the Calamus Avenue sewer reconstruction. She also stated that the Q67 has sporadic service. Lastly she stated, “Finally you must consider that not one of the buses listed has an average speed over 9 mph according to the Bus Turnaround Coalition and it takes Maspeth residents about 40 minutes to get to work according to census data. While Maspeth has ample transportation on paper, commuting is not ideal for many of the residents that rely on local bus service. You should identify ways to speed up local bus service and re-examine the possibility of express bus service for Maspeth”.

COMET VP Mike Fordunski read the agency’s response and said that 40 minutes is the OPTIMAL time to get to work, but many days the trip is longer. Although the #7 train is less than 2 miles from his house, the weekday morning trip to the 61st Street station averages about 20

minutes. He stated that the Q18 is at capacity during morning rush hours and many folks can’t get on the bus. He said some Woodside people have given up and now take the long walk to the #7 train. Mike also mentioned that although the Q58 runs frequently, it is known to be one

of the slowest bus routes in the city. As for the Q67, he said the service

is erratic.

In a follow up phone conversation, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley spoke with Vice President of Government Relations Robert Marino, Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations Luke DePalma, and MTA Bus Company representative David Moss. They stated that Express Bus Service is a highly subsidized service that was inherited by the MTA in 2005, replacing private bus companies.

The MTA is in the process of re-organizing express bus operations in New York City to match service levels with demand. Express bus ridership is declining city wide except in Staten Island. The MTA does not want to add stops to existing express bus lines because this would increase travel time and decrease reliability for riders further east in Queens.

A new route may be possible in the future if their review of express

bus lines frees up equipment and resources. In the meantime, the MTA

is open to working with the community on ideas to improve local bus

service.

COMET Proposes an Express Bus Route to Service Maspeth, Winfield/Woodside & Elmhurst

The folks in Winfield/Woodside oftentimes can’t get on the overcrowded Q18. The Elmhurst community is experiencing an explosion of new high rise residential buildings cropping up along Queens Boulevard. Our buses are overcrowded and so are the trains.

We reached out to Council Member Daniel Dromm and asked if he would support an express bus that would service his residents. He fully supported the idea.

The route we suggest would begin on 65th Place at 50th Avenue, travel up 65th Place with a stop on the Plateau, a stop on Grand Avenue at 69th Street, a stop at Grand Avenue at 84th Street and a final stop at Grand Avenue and Queens Boulevard. The bus could then get on the HOV lane at Woodhaven Boulevard.

Crowley & Dromm Will Continue to Work for Improved Transportation Options

The Council Member Crowley is working with the MTA to get more data

on bus service and Council Member Daniel Dromm will also be working

to improve public transportation to help offset the overcrowding on the

trains and increased development in his district.

Pg. 2

Fall 2017

COMET

Maurice Avenue to Get More Street Lamps Last September we submitted a request to the

Maurice Avenue to Get More Street Lamps

Last September we submitted a request to the Department of Transportation (DOT) asking them to conduct a lighting survey on Maurice Avenue between the LIE service road and 65th Place to determine whether or not this strip meets the minimum lighting requirements as mandated by the agency. The strip looked much darker once the LED lighting was installed.

Queens DOT Deputy Commissioner Jason Banrey recently responded stating that a survey of the area revealed the need for additional lighting on the existing wood poles and that the installation will take place during the third quarter of 2017.

This comes as welcome news since the improved lighting will make it safer for the businesses, the folks who live in the area and those who frequent Maurice Park.

55th Avenue Water Main Update

Council Member Dromm’s office has still not heard anything back from the Department of Environmental Protection’s legal bureau concerning the water main on 55th Avenue in Elmhurst in spite of them reaching out to the agency several times to determine how residents can “opt in” to the city maintaining the main sewer line.

“opt in” to the city maintaining the main sewer line. In our spring newsletter we wrote

In our spring newsletter we wrote about a surprising twist residents faced when the water main burst on February 4th and the city advised them that property owners were responsible for its repair although other water mains throughout the city were repaired by the Department of Environmental Protection. They were told that whoever lived on the block many years ago when the sewer was installed opted not to become part of the city’s system. As a result, homeowners have to bear the burden of having it repaired. Repairing a water main is not covered under the insurance many folks have that covers their house connection.

Luckily a snowstorm was headed our way and thanks to pressure put on the agency from Councilman Dromm’s office, the agency repaired the water main. It is still not known who will be responsible for paying for the repair and how residents can “opt in” to the city’s infrastructure so this doesn’t happen again.

We’ll work with the Councilman’s office to keep the pressure on and get an answer!!

More Inconvenience for Q47 Bus Riders

Residents on Calamus Avenue have had no bus service for three years as a result of the sewer project that has taken longer than expected. Now that Calamus Avenue’s construction is completed, work has begun on 69th Street between Maurice and 47th Avenues. This work will now affected the Q47 stops on 69th Street. Let’s hope they stick to their schedule and restore the stops without any delays.

Effective August 1, 2017 and lasting through the end of September, 2017 (approximately 8 weeks):

1)

2)

Photos by NYPD

The northbound Q47 stop at 69 St/49 Av will be temporarily discontinued. Customers will be directed to use the bus stop on

69 St/48 Av for the nearest available northbound Q47 service.

The southbound Q47 stop at 69 St/48 Av will be temporarily

discontinued. Customers will be directed to use the bus stop on

69 St/50 Av for the nearest available southbound Q47 service.

COMET

Fall 2017

Pg. 3

Claremont Terrace Update Council Member Dromm has been actively pursuing the 1 Claremont Terrace site

Claremont Terrace Update

Council Member Dromm has been actively pursuing the 1 Claremont

Terrace site for use as a school. The abandoned building has become

a haven for drugs, graffiti vandals and homeless. For some reason the

School Construction Authority is dragging their feet even though they are well aware that School District 24 is overcrowded and in need of more schools. The increased construction of high-rise buildings will only bring more children into the district who will need a seat. The Councilman has promised to bring this issue higher up the ladder, if necessary, to insure District 24 gets additional space for our children.

West Maspeth Commercial Traffic & Parking

While parking is at a premium throughout our area, folks in west Maspeth have the added problem of having to share on-street parking with employees from the numerous businesses and factories in the area as well as local auto repair shops storing vehicles that need to be serviced on the street and taking up residential parking. This huge car carrier was parked in the vicinity of 59th and Grand Avenue taking up about three parking spaces!

If they are lucky enough to find a spot, there is the concern that a huge tractor trailer will try to make a sharp turn and hit their parked car. This tractor trailer is making a turn from Grand Avenue onto 58th Avenue!!

We are working with the 104th Precinct to have overnight commercial parkers summonsed. The truck traffic has been a concern for years and we are still trying to come up with a solution.

years and we are still trying to come up with a solution. One-Way Studies Underway in
years and we are still trying to come up with a solution. One-Way Studies Underway in
years and we are still trying to come up with a solution. One-Way Studies Underway in

One-Way Studies Underway in Northern Maspeth

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, numerous folks have been asking that our northern Maspeth streets be converted into one-way. More and more vehicular traffic is impacting the residential streets and oversized school buses are using the narrow streets as a shortcut to local schools. Cars are being side-swiped, mirrors are being knocked off and snow plows have difficulty getting through with the two-way traffic. This photo shows an accident that occurred on 72nd Street this past March. DOT Queens Deputy Commissioner Jason Banrey responded as follows:

RE: Request for One Way Studies in Maspeth Area bounded by Grand Ave, Calamus Ave, 71 Street and 74 Street

Please make all the individuals aware that DOT has opened up several studies for one-way conversions in this area. Here are the request numbers:

DOT-340012-T3H9

One-Way conversion requested on 71st St from

DOT-340016-H1X5

53rd Avenue to Calamus Avenue One-Way conversion requested on 72nd Street

DOT-340017-J1R7

from Grand Avenue to Calamus Avenue One-Way conversion requested on 72nd Place

DOT-340018-V4Z7

from Grand Avenue to Calamus Avenue One-Way conversion requested on 73rd Street

DOT-340019-B5D1

from Grand Avenue to Calamus Avenue One-Way conversion requested on 74th Street from Grand Avenue to Calamus Avenue

We were told that recommendation by the agency will not be made until they assess the traffic this fall which increases greatly when schools reopen and folks go back to work.

It is likely at some point all these streets will be incorporated into one project number. We will continue to follow this issue closely.

Pg. 4

Fall 2017

COMET

Dirty Water Still a Problem. What's Happening?

Dirty Water Still a Problem. What's Happening? COMET’s Vice President Dick Gundlach, who lives on 72nd

COMET’s Vice President Dick Gundlach, who lives on 72nd Street between 51st and Calamus Avenues in Woodside, continues to deal with dirty water. This photo shows the filter after only nine days! This problem was brought to the attention of Council Member Crowley, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Design and Construction several months ago but obviously the condition has not been corrected. Council Member Crowley’s office is following up with the agency.

Dromm Conducts Tree Survey in Elmhurst

This summer, Council Member Dromm submitted to the Parks Department a list of forestry issues in Elmhurst south of Queens Boulevard. Such issues include empty tree pits, stumps, and damaged and diseased trees. Members of COMET, Joanne Ferguson and Richie Polgar, joined staff from Dromm’s office to conduct the block-by-block survey. The Parks Department has committed to reviewing each site and taking appropriate action, including replanting empty pits during the spring and fall 2018 planting seasons. (The current waiting period for a new tree in Queens is 12 to 18 months.) It remains to be seen how many pits will remain empty because the Department deems them inappropriate for replanting.

Mazeau Street Accident

Someone passed along this photo of an accident that occurred on Mazeau Street at 56th Drive in mid-August. We were told folks tend to run the “Stop” sign and drive fast along the residential street.

We passed the photo along to DOT and we were told that they were looking at the streets in this area and would consider the resident’s suggestion to possibly install a speed bump in that area.

suggestion to possibly install a speed bump in that area. If anyone has ideas about how

If anyone has ideas about how to make our community safer, we’d love to hear from you!!

to make our community safer, we’d love to hear from you!! Upcoming 70th Street Sewer Reconstruction

Upcoming 70th Street Sewer Reconstruction

Folks on 70th Street may have seen utility companies digging up the street to check the utility boxes, etc. They need to be sure the utility in the street actually coincides with its location on the plans for the sewer design. This project is slated to begin next summer around July 2018.

Before

We are working to insure that property owners on 70th Street between Calamus and 54th Avenues don’t have to experience the extreme property damage that occurred along Calamus Avenue. We are working on setting up a meeting with the agency and will invite homeowners to attend so they can see the sewer design first-hand and ask questions.

After
After
can see the sewer design first-hand and ask questions. After Deadly Accident at LIE 69th Street

Deadly Accident at LIE 69th Street Exit

It was heartbreaking to hear a young man died as a result of driving into an illegally parked truck at the 69th Street exit of the LIE. The illegal parking has irked us for years and although the 104th Precinct summonsed the trucks from time to time, the activity never ceased. We actually reached out to DOT back in 2013 and had a photo of the illegal parking on the cover of our spring 2014 newsletter! Since the accident truckers still park at the exit.

The Department of Transportation reinstalled the bollards after the service road was repaved but more work needs to be done. Captain Mastronardi, 104th Precinct, said that the NYPD has submitted some ideas to the agency. Let’s hope the agency does some quick thinking and puts safety measures into place that will rectify this problem once and for all.

COMET

Fall 2017

Pg. 5

Calamus Avenue Sewer Reconstruction – A Nightmare for Homeowners When the Calamus Avenue sewer reconstruction

Calamus Avenue Sewer Reconstruction – A Nightmare for Homeowners

When the Calamus Avenue sewer reconstruction began in the fall of 2014, none of the homeowners realized how a project such as this could affect the way they live. It would be impossible to describe what folks have endured so we are including photos that show some of the damage and the environment these residents were forced to live in for the past three years.

Assemblyman Barnwell and Council Member Crowley have met with the Department of Design & Construction (DDC) on several occasions, met with residents and visited the site to get a first-hand look at the damage. After assessing the damage they asked City Comptroller Scott Stringer to come to the site and witness the destruction for himself. He agreed there was a basis for concern and immediately

He agreed there was a basis for concern and immediately fired off a letter to DDC
He agreed there was a basis for concern and immediately fired off a letter to DDC
He agreed there was a basis for concern and immediately fired off a letter to DDC

fired off a letter to DDC voicing concern about allegations of significant structural damage to the exterior of some homes, internal cracks inside of some homes, extremely short or no notice relating to water delivery service disruption and safety of the drinking water due to the use of temporary red hoses that residents believe are unsuitable for potable water transmission, and other issues.

Safety of Residents’ Drinking Water

and other issues. Safety of Residents’ Drinking Water One sharp eyed resident noticed the contractor using

One sharp eyed resident noticed the contractor using red flexible hoses to temporarily connect to the homes and discovered it was not to be used for drinking water. Another resident contacted the company and was told, “None of our products we make is for drinking water. We don’t make drinking water hoses – it’s for industrial and air use …” The contractor has supposedly replaced the improper hoses but this issue is far from over.

industrial and air use …” The contractor has supposedly replaced the improper hoses but this issue
industrial and air use …” The contractor has supposedly replaced the improper hoses but this issue

Pg. 6

Fall 2017

COMET

Reading of the Declaration of Independence

Reading of the Declaration of Independence On Friday, June 30th, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell held a reading

On Friday, June 30th, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell held a reading of the Declaration of Independence at Maspeth Memorial Plaza. School children and community leaders took turns reading a paragraph of the Declaration. There was a great turnout and everyone was treated to ice cream! Senator Addabbo stopped by to say hello to the crowd.

cream! Senator Addabbo stopped by to say hello to the crowd. Support your community! COMET Dues
cream! Senator Addabbo stopped by to say hello to the crowd. Support your community! COMET Dues
Support your community! COMET Dues for 2018 $10.00 Checks or money orders please NAME: ADDRESS:
Support your community!
COMET Dues for 2018 $10.00
Checks or money orders please
NAME:
ADDRESS:
EMAIL (optional):
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Mail to: COMET
P.O. Box 780151
Maspeth, NY 11378
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C.O.M.E.T. Meetings Please check our website at www.cometcivic.com for our upcoming meetings. All meetings are
C.O.M.E.T. Meetings
Please check our website at www.cometcivic.com for our upcoming meetings. All meetings are held at St. Adalbert's Parish Center
Newsletter Committee
Mike Fordunski, Tom Porembski, Richie Polgar, Christina Wilkinson, Geraldine Walsh, Howard Moskowitz, Teresa Marrero,
Lucille Winsko, Dick Gundlach, Roe Daraio, Maspeth Press
Special Thank You
This newsletter is made possible by funding from Council Members Elizabeth Crowley, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer
through the Department of Youth and Community Development
COMET
Fall 2017
Pg. 7

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October 8th 12:00pm to 5:00pm Grand Avenue Street Fair & Car Show ECCA Newsletter Spring
October 8th
12:00pm to 5:00pm
Grand Avenue Street Fair & Car Show ECCA
Newsletter
Spring 2012
October 14th
10:00am to Noon
Join Assemblyman Brian Barnwell in a Principe (Maurice Park) cleanup
October 14th
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Maspeth Federal Savings, Recycle electronics, paper shred, pet adoption,
NYPD will VIN Etch your vehicle (you may save money on your theft
insurance) register phones and bicycles, crime prevention literature.
October 31st
2:00pm to 5:00pm
Maspeth Federal Savings Halloween event
Upcoming Upcoming
October 31st
7:00pm
Ragamuffin Parade – Lions Club
Parade begins outside Mt. Olivet Cemetery,
65th Street/Grand Avenue
Events Events
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Club Parade begins outside Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 65th Street/Grand Avenue Events Events Printed by www.MaspethPress.com
Club Parade begins outside Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 65th Street/Grand Avenue Events Events Printed by www.MaspethPress.com