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Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together

COMET NEWSLETTER / WINTER 2017

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Q58 Designated for
Select Bus Service
Council Member Dromms office advised us that the Q58 bus has been
designated for Select Bus Service. The date of implementation is not
known at this time.
Select Bus Service is New York City's version of Bus Rapid Transit: an
improved bus service that offers fast, frequent, and reliable service on
high-ridership bus routes. Completed in much less time and at much
lower cost than subwayswhich take years to construct and require
expensive up-front infrastructure and equipmentSelect Bus Service
offers a more immediate improvement to New York Citys transit
network benefitting the entire city through improved mobility, cleaner
air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced congestion.
Designed to provide rail-like service, Select Bus Service uses techniques
and technologies such as dedicated bus lanes, off-board fare collection
and transit signal priority to improve the quality and performance of
transit and, in turn, to improve mobility and access in the neighborhoods
that it serves.
Select Bus Service projects are also designed to make bus service easier
to use, through features like bus bulbs, and high quality passenger
information and overall attention to pedestrian and vehicular safety.
Select Bus Service features can also be applied individually in locations
not appropriate for the full Select Bus Service treatment.
For more information about Select Bus Service visit www.nyc.gov//brt

General Bus Information

For general information about all New York City buses and subways
including route maps, schedules, construction, and delays, please visit
the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) website.
Safety Measures for the LIE
More Transportation Options Needed
to Service Our Communities Exit Ramp at 69th Street
After the fatal accident that occurred at the 69th Street exit of the
While Select Bus Service is a start, it doesnt benefit everyone in our LIE, Assembly Member Brian Barnwell asked NYS DOT to look at
community since many folks dont live near Grand Avenue or Fresh what could be done to deter truckers from parking at the bottom of
Pond Road. Instead, folks rely on the Q18, Q39, Q67 and the Q47 buses. the exit ramp which would make it safer for motorists.
Some of these routes are very circuitous and slow, not to mention the
undependability and frequency of arrivals. COMET President Roe Daraio had the opportunity to join Assembly
Member Barnwell, representatives from NYS DOT, and NYC DOT
Some folks with disabilities or senior citizens who have trouble getting Queens Deputy Commissioner Jason Banrey at the location. As the
up and down into the subway rely on the Q60 bus to get to work or group was talking, a huge tractor trailer pulled over into the illegal
doctor appointments. We dont have to elaborate about the spotty spot! It didn't take long for NYS DOT to realize the severity of the
service, over-crowding and time-consuming ride into Manhattan along problem.
this route. Assembly Member Barnwell's office forwarded to us the following:
I wanted to send you an update from the state DOT meeting on
If you walk along Queens Boulevard in Woodside and Elmhurst you can 10/2/17 to discuss trucks that park on the left side of the westbound
see the huge residential development that is cropping up along this LIE service road (Queens Midtown Expressway) off the 69th Street
strip. We cant help but ask how these new residents will manage to exit ramp. As a result of the meeting, NYS DOT issued a work
squeeze onto our already over-crowded buses and subways. order to its maintenance contractor to install hatch line pavement
markings and Qwick Kurb devices in the left shoulder area. NYS
We will continue to push for express bus service which we believe would DOT is also requesting that NYC DOT install No Standing signs at this
benefit our residents in Maspeth, Woodside and Elmhurst. location, signs at this location.

Pg. 2 Winter 2017 COMET


Important Reminder
We cant stress the importance of making sure your house numbers
are posted in a location that can be clearly seen from the street. If
you have a medical, fire or police emergency every second counts!
If you walk around the community you will see that many house
numbers are obscured or not posted at all.

West Maspeth Traffic


61st Street between Flushing Avenue and Fresh Pond Road is taking a
lot of abuse as a result of traffic detours. The additional vehicular traffic
only further congests the street especially when buses or sanitation
trucks are passing through.
We have been told motorists have to park with their tires on the curb
in order not to be sideswiped by two large vehicles trying to pass one
another. We will reach out to NYC DOT to find out if any improvements
are planned for the future.

LIE Roadwork Disturbing


Residents Sleep
Maspeth residents in the vicinity of the LIE between Hamilton Place and
Maurice Avenue have had to contend with loud grinding noise as a result
of a NYS Department of Transportation project that is aiming to reduce
the noise of the traffic along the roadway. COMET Vice President Mike
Fordunski told us that residents are woken up between 2:00 am and
4:00 am as a result of the noise. He said its gotten to the point that he
wears earplugs at night.
In response to Mikes complaint, Assemblyman Barnwell stated that the
LIE mainline is scheduled to be completed by the end of December. The
LIE Collector-Distributor Roads, which were added later to the project to
enhance the noise mediation may need to go to next spring."
As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, the diamond grinding will
minimize the noise output by removing potential surface irregularities
in the pavement. Other improvements on the LIE from Maurice Avenue
to 108th Street will include repair of the pressure relief joints and other
minor repairs.
Luckily much of the noisy work is being done now when folks have their
windows closed. Hopefully when the work is completed Maspeth will be
relieved of some traffic noise!

COMET Winter 2017 Pg. 3


Vacant House in
Elmhurst Secured
The Matthews Homes on Grand Avenue
are brick attached row houses. It came as a
surprise to us in mid-September when one
of our sharp-eyed members noticed the front
yard of 82-11 was full of debris, the doors
were unsecured and it appeared as though
Woodsides Truck Traffic Problem squatters had taken up residence there. Our
biggest concern was that if this attached
It seems Maspeth isnt the only community suffering from commercial house were to go on fire, as did a couple of
traffic. A Woodside resident took this photo of a huge tractor trailer other vacant houses in our area, a lot of people would be put in danger.
heading from 51st Avenue up 72nd Place and trying to turn onto Calamus What really astounded us was that squatters identified this building
Avenue. He was surprised to see the driver was able to make the turn as being vacant, moved in and even parked their bicycles outside. Our
without damaging parked vehicles. We were told commercial trucks sharp-eyed member called 911 every time he passed by and suspected
oftentimes use Calamus Avenue even though it is not a truck route. someone was inside. The 110th Precinct would respond.
At the request of residents, COMET submitted a request to the NYC We reached out to the Department of Buildings, Councilman Dromm
Department of Transportation asking them to look into the feasibility and the 110th Precinct. Buildings issued violations but neither COMET
of converting 71st Street to 74th Street between Calamus and 51st nor the Councilmans office were able to reach the owner. 110th Precinct
Avenues into a one-way pattern. This may deter some of the trucks as Commander Ventre reached out to the precinct on Riverside Drive and
well as motorists who use these streets as a shortcut to avoid the traffic asked if they would speak to the owner and explain the residents
signals on 69th Street or Grand Avenue. concerns. The officers assigned to precinct where the owner resided
were unable to reach anyone.
Luckily, Elmhurst has newly assigned NCOs (Neighborhood Coordination
Officers) who have been trained to address various problems such as
this. We dont know how they managed to do it, but they were able to
get a telephone number for one of the owners who promised to take
swift action to secure the building. PO Lee advised us that on November
2nd the Department of Buildings did an inspection and as per their
instructions the contractor reinforced the house with bars on the doors
and windows. See the rear view. We want to thank Police Officers Lee
and Arubella for their assistance.

Elmhurst Zombie Property


Supposedly Purchased
For several years 85-44 54th Avenue has been vacant and during this
time residents had to contend with squatters, illegal dumping and seeing
the house set on fire. Complaints called into 311 netted the property
owner about $350,000 worth of violations yet the property remained
untouched. Neither COMET nor Councilman Dromms office were able
to get a response from the bank or find the owner.
A new resident moved into our civic area who is a real estate attorney
and he was able to track down the property owner who happens to own
a business in Elmhurst. The owner wasnt there at the time but he was
told the property has finally been sold. Our real estate attorney told us
oftentimes its difficult to sell properties with violations. Lets hope the
new owners take quick action and restore this property!

Pg. 4 Winter 2017 COMET


Multiple Streets Involved
in 70th Street Sewer Project
BEGINNING 2018 TO 2022
Combined sewers and distribution water mains on Calamus Avenue
between 69th and 70th Streets, 70th Street between 54th and Calamus
Avenues; combined sewers on 54th Avenue between 70th and 71st
Streets; combined sewers and distribution water mains on 71st Street
between Grand and 54th Avenues; combined sewers on Grand Avenue
between 71st and Mazeau Street; combined sewers and distribution
water mains on Mazeau Street between Grand Avenue and the Queens
Midtown Expressway; distribution water mains on 53rd Road between GENERAL SCOPE OF WORK:
69th Street and the dead end; distribution water mains on 53rd Drive Reconstruction of 3,000 feet of 96 RCP combined sewer; reconstruction
between 69th and 71st Streets and distribution water mains on Grand of approximately 1300 LF of 20, 24, 18 and 15 sewer; reconstruction
Avenue between 71st Street and 72nd Place. of approximately 4000 LF of 20, 12: and 8 water mains; 1300 LF of box
sewer; chambers, manholes, hydrants, tree pruning.
The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) gave residents a
presentation of the sewer project at a meeting held at IS 73 on November
MORE INFO:
13th. We will try to give you the information in a nutshell:
Real time vibration monitoring; new shafts at every intersection;
acceleration of the contract, if needed; zero vibration during micro-
PROJECT SCHEDULE: tunneling; open cut vibration limited to 0.5/SEC; pre-construction
Design completion - January 2018; Bid Date - April 2018; Notice to report; tight sheeting in open cut excavation. Each block should take 3-5
Proceed - November 2018, construction completion 2022 months.

OUR PROJECT IS SE859


The design was done by DDC in-house engineers, funding through the MICRO-TUNNELING
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the job will be awarded We were told that our streets will not be dug up like Calamus Avenue.
to a low-bid contractor experienced in micro-tunneling and sewer work. Instead, micro-tunnels will be installed at intersections, will be 60 down
and will run underground for about the length of a block. Supposedly,
sidewalks, curbs, driveways or private property will not be affected.
WHY IS THIS PROJECT BEING DONE?
Based on the drainage plan this project will relieve street flooding. Water
main placement is necessary based on the history of breaks, pressure WHAT WE DONT KNOW
issues and age; hydrants replaced. This is the third out of four projects to We were not given answers about restricted parking or where the large
relieve sewer backup in Middle Village and street flooding. The project construction equipment will be stored. We will continue to research this
includes SE814, SE 860 and SEQ002693. issue.

KEEPING US INFORMED: IMPORTANT:


An on-site Community Construction Liaison (CCL) will be assigned. The We are urging homeowners to take photos of their property, inside and
liaison will provide regular updates and advisories, assist in coordinating out, prior to construction. Include sidewalks, driveways, shingles and/or
services when necessary, i.e., sanitation pick-up, access-a-ride, merchant bricks on outside of the house, retaining walls, your ceilings, walls and
deliveries, etc. floors to document there are no cracks. DDC will request permission to
come onto your property and will take photos of the inside and outside.
One of the problems with the folks on Calamus Avenue is that they did
WORKING HOURS & TRAFFIC STIPULATIONS: not let the agency come into their house and that presents a problem
Normal working hours are 7:00 am 3:30 pm; working hours could be now when theyre trying to get reimbursed for the damage.
extended to 6:00 pm; weekend work as required. There will be weekend
or night work near the school, night work at Grand Avenue with other
areas being worked on during the daytime or as needed. There will be
a 72-hour advance notification for shutdowns with a 24-hour notice for
confirmation of the shutdown.

COMET Winter 2017 Pg. 5


LIRR Overpass at 69th Street
A Woodside resident reached out to us about the pigeon problem under
the LIRR overpass at 69th Street and 47th Avenue. As she was walking
under the overpass on the way to the bus, she was hit with pigeon
droppings.
We immediately reached out to Assemblyman Michael DenDekkers
office asking if he would look into the feasibility of having meshing
installed under the overpass to prevent pigeons from cooping there. He
was able to do this for us on 70th Street at 48th Avenue near St. Marys
and it made a big difference.
The Assemblyman has already reached out to the agency and they said
it was a feasible request. They also re-inspected the 70th Street meshing
and will make any necessary repairs. Assemblyman DenDekker has
always been available to help us when we call!

Q47 Bus
Many folks have been asking when the Q47 bus will return to its original
route. We were hoping the route would be restored once Calamus
Avenue was completed but a portion of the project on Calamus Avenue
between 69th and 70th Streets had to be delayed as a result of problems
discovered when the project first began back in 2014 and will now be
included in the 70th Street project. Since the Q47 turned from Calamus
Avenue onto 69th Place on its regular route to Queens Boulevard and
turned onto Calamus Avenue from 69th Street on its way home, there
would be no way for it to return to this route until the Calamus Avenue
Calamus Avenue Finally
portion of the project is completed. Being Restored
Its been a long three years for Calamus Avenue residents. Their sewer
We are hoping our elected officials will work with the MTA to come up project, which began in November 2014, is finally ending. Folks were
with a temporary solution that would allow the bus to turn down other living with open trenches and no sidewalks for months.
streets until it can return to its original route.
The contractor has been making repairs to some of the private
properties, but we have been told there are some outstanding issues
that still need to be resolved.

Pg. 6 Winter 2017 COMET


Support your community!
COMET Dues for 2018 $10.00
Checks or money orders please

NAME:

ADDRESS:

Snow & Ice Removal


With winter approaching, we want to remind folks that every owner, EMAIL (optional):
lessee, tenant or other person having charge of any lot or building must
clean snow and/or ice from the sidewalk within 4 hours after the snow
has stopped falling, or by 11:00 am if the snow has stopped falling after
9:00 pm the previous evening. Snow may NOT be thrown into the street.
If the snow or ice becomes frozen so hard that it cannot be removed,
Existing Member New Member
the sidewalk may be strewn with ashes, sand, sawdust or similar suitable
material within the same time limits. The sidewalk must be thoroughly
cleaned as soon as the weather permits. FINE: $100-$150 for the first
offense; $150-$350 for the second offense. Mail to: COMET
If there is a sidewalk that hasnt been cleaned and it is causing a P.O. Box 780151
problem for pedestrians, call 311. Maspeth, NY 11378
If you live near a footbridge and it hasnt been shoveled, report it
to 311. If the Operator doesnt have the location in her system,
which has been a problem in the past, call your council person.
We worked on this extensively in the past couple of years with our
council members and hope this shouldnt be a problem. We need
your support
Keep in mind that footbridges are not the first priority but should to continue
be addressed in a timely fashion. our efforts in
the community.
Some of our bus routes are on residential streets i.e. 50th and 53rd
Avenues between 65th Place and 69th Street are routes for the
Q18. Bus routes are a priority and 311 should be called.

Report Plane Noise


http://www.planenoise.com/panynj/daPRAbr9/qs114wbt.php

C.O.M.E.T. Meetings
St/ Adalbert Parish Center, lower level, 52-40 84th Street parking available. In the event of inclement weather, meetings will be
cancelled. Check for updates on our website: www.cometcivic.com
Mondays: February 5th, March 5th, April 9th, May 14th, June 4th

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 Winter 2017 Pg. 7


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Newsletter Spring 2012