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Front Page July 2, 2009  RSS feed

MTA PLAYING CATCH UP ON

Plans Detailed For Ridgewood Site
by Ralph Mancini

Project delays regarding the Palmetto Street Intermodal construction in Ridgewood took centerstage at the Tuesday, June 23 meeting of Community Board 5's Transportation Services and Public Transit committees.

Metropolitan Transit Authority official Joseph Raskin sat down with committee members at the board's Glendale office to provide a status report of the undertaking.

The assistant director of government and community relations acknowledged a host of issues have led to delays, but was satisfied with the fact that all sidewalk and road work has been completed.

He also mentioned the recent delivery of steel to the site, as city workers prepare to add a new canopy structure on Palmetto Street between St. Nicholas Avenue and the convergence of Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues.

Canopy and lighting work on the east side of Palmetto Street, he said, should be finished by August.

Subsequent labor on the west side is reportedly scheduled to come to a close during the first week of October.

Co-chair of the Public Transit Committee Theodore Renz urged the agency representative to ensure the repainting of the entire steel structure under the subway train tracks, which will consist of new materials attached to an existing portion.

"With the way you're welding and bolting now, it's not going to match," he noted.

"When you come down Gates Avenue toward Palmetto, [you can see] some idiots went up there and vandalized the whole el line. Laymen are going to take a look at this and say 'The MTA is spending millions of dollars, so why isn't it being painted?'"

As far as painting is concerned, explained Raskin, the MTA typically operates on a 20-year schedule, but did promise to send construction experts to location and have them inspect all areas of exposed metal.

On the subject of tying in an electronic signal system informing bus drivers of the arrival of L trains, Raskin advised committee members that the installation of any new electronic interface would be part of a separate contract.

Citywide budget cutbacks made Raskin noncommital about giving a firm date on the communication device designed to help L train passengers avoid getting stranded at the bus stop.

Committee member John Maier lobbied for the system to also keep track of M train arrivals and departures if and when it's finally placed.

The co-chairperson of the Transportation Committee, John Schell, apprised Raskin of several autos he recently witnessed neglecting signage indicating that only buses are permitted to park in the intermodal area.

The MTA spokesperson promised Schell that his department would work closely with local police on alleviating the matter.

Raskin estimated the entire project— which includes the provision of a new public address system—to be about 40-percent complete.

Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri also pressed for bus driver toilet facilities at that intermodal, along with painting work on the elevated line and the addition of the electronic interface, which aren't part of the MTA's current plans.

M train station repairs

Maier voiced his concern for what he described as the deteriorating conditions of M train stations, particularly at Seneca Avenue, Forest Avenue and Fresh Pond Road. He focused on the station platforms as areas that need to be immediately addressed.

Raskin recognized previous plans in place for those stations, but budget constraints, he repeated, are preventing the MTA from committing to anything.

Arcuri further pointed out that graffiti markings are "out of control" at those stops.

Both he and Maier noted that graffiti can not only be seen on the train tracks, but on rooftops as well, particularly along Fresh Pond Road.

In addition, Arcuri made Raskin aware of the hazards that MTA employees are exposed to due to missing covers on station light fixtures. In the instance of a fluorescent bulb breaking, he explained, MTA workers would run the risk of coming in contact with mercury.

Schools

In response to committee member Michael Fordunski's inquiry regarding the infusion of more buses in neighborhoods housing new schools, Raskin said that his agency will review what the demands are for more buses and evaluate current bus schedules.

Capital projects

Schell touched upon street work on tap for South Middle Village in the areas south of Metropolitan Avenue along Cooper Avenue generally bounded by 80th Street to 73th Place.

On that note, he identified 69th Road as a street that was missing from the Department of Transportation's (DOT) plans.

"The city might not have taken title to the land yet. We called that to their attention," said Schell, who also serves on the Middle Village Property Owners and Residents Association.

He went on to mention some modifications that need to be made to the current work plan, such as increasing the radius along curbsides to prevent trucks from mounting the sidewalk area at 73rd Place and Metropolitan Avenue.

Schell further cited an alternative request for a retaining wall design along the 73rd Place near the railroad tracks.

The wall would reportedly have vines going down along it to prevent graffiti.

One potential issue that may occur, said the Middle Village-based civic leader, is the replacement of sidewalks by city contractors that have been known to perform their work without the property owner's consent.

The same type of situation previously took place at Penelope Avenue, according to Schell, with numerous land owners who refused to pay for new sidewalks that they never asked for.

Another project discussed was the repair of retaining and parapet walls along Glendale's Cooper Avenue underpass, extending from 74th to 79th streets to facilitate road travel for trucks.

Resurfacing update

Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano distributed a follow-up tentative list of local resurfacings from the DOT in which the agency cut out several proposed locations due to a diminished budget.

The remaining sites included portions of Cooper Avenue, Union Turnpike, Cypress Avenue, Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue.

Giordano acknowledged that he would accept having Metropolitan Avenue redone from 80th Street to 69th Street, excluding the portion extending to Fresh Pond Road, if that ensures that renovative work would be done along Cypress Avenue from Myrtle Avenue to Flushing Avenue.

Asphalt concerns

Adhesion problems were referenced by numerous committee members on a number of roadways, such as one stretch in the area of Eliot Avenue and 80th Street in Middle Village.

Arcuri was of the opinion that the recycled asphalt being used by city workers lacks consistency from batch to batch.

Said Arcuri: "The asphalt is a mixture of sand plus aggregate plus asphalt, and now you are adding an unknown [substance]."

"It could be four years of rock salt causing an unknown chemical reaction creating the adhesion issues," he surmised.

Arcuri and Giordano both conceded that poorly-assembled asphalt could ultimately explain why newlypaved roads don't quite have the same shelf life they once did.

Community driveway

Also addressed was a written complaint made by a Glendale resident about trucks exiting The Shops at Atlas Park and driving through a community driveway in the area of 83rd Street and Doran Street.

Arcuri proposed placing a gate to ward off the vehicles.

Community Board 5's Transportation Services and Public Transit services committees regularly meet on the third Tuesday of the month at the group's Glendale office at 61-23 Myrtle Avenue. No meetings have been scheduled for July.