Today’s news:

BREAKING: MTA will move its Greenpoint bus fleet to make room for park

The Brooklyn Paper

Park that park in Greenpoint!

The MTA has finally agreed to move buses from a Commercial Street lot that locals have long desired for a waterfront park.

MTA Chairman Jay Walder announced that the agency will move its fleet to two locations — one underneath the Williamsburg Bridge and another in Maspeth in Queens.

The move will free up the asphalt lot off Box Street at the edge of Greenpoint to become the neighborhood’s largest waterfront park.

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) hailed the decision, the culmination of six years of negotiation.

“This agreement signifies the commitment of both the city and the MTA to ensure that 65 Commercial becomes public open space in the near future,” said Levin.

But Queens residents have been incensed that the city and the MTA even considered putting buses in Queens — a plan that Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Queens) called “horrible, reckless and dangerous.”

For Greenpoint residents, it’s a long time coming.

The city promised a park to the community at that location as part of the 2005 Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning agreement that precipitated a boom in residential development.

But as glass and steel condominium towers rose along Williamsburg’s coast, few waterfront parks were built.

Indeed, the MTA gradually expanded its operations on the lot, fixing buses and emergency vehicles behind an unsightly chain link fence for several years.

But Greenpoint community leaders ratcheted up the pressure on the city and the MTA in recent weeks to move the facilities from Commercial Street.

As such, District Leader Lincoln Restler, who organized a demonstration at the site two months ago, called the decision a “big victory” for Greenpoint.

“The community activism, the rallies, and the public eviction notice forced the MTA to heed the demands of the Greenpoint community and vacate a parking lot that we will finally see developed into a new park,” said Restler.

Updated 9:35 am, April 11, 2011: Now includes special Lincoln Restler quote!
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Reader Feedback

mmb from greenpoint says:
wow....finally!
April 8, 2011, 7:52 pm
Voter from Park Slope says:
Well done Levin!
April 8, 2011, 8:21 pm
Outrage from Maspeth says:
This is horrible. They get a park we get a bus depot. Im sick to my f'ing stomach and my rage will not be contained any longer.
April 9, 2011, 8:10 am
Outrage from Maspeth says:
I'm forming a PEA party. Pushed Enough Already. If you are an elected official, regardless of party affiliation, you are going down! NY City politicians stink from the bottom of the Newtown Creek to holy high heaven.
April 9, 2011, 8:16 am
Not happening from Greenpoint says:
A letter was sent from the MTA that says the sites are suitable and that makes it a done deal? What has Rami Metal been drinking over there other than Zywiec?

Dream on, Levin. And I think you owe Greenpoint an apology for pretending to be against the homeless shelter on McGuinness but secretly giving your blessing to the idea.
April 9, 2011, 8:23 am
Malignant thoughts from Here says:
Put the new Greenpoint homeless shelter in the new Greenpoint waterfront park and put the proposed new Maspeth bus depot on the Jersey side of the new Cross Harbor tunnel. Win win situation for everyone.

Where can I join ths PEA party?
April 9, 2011, 8:39 am
Ben from Greenpoint says:
well done Mr.Liclon Restler!!!! sounds like a plain, we more people like him, working for and with the community,
April 11, 2011, 11:13 am
Holowacky from Greenpoint says:
Okay so if I get this correctly...

1) remediation of the Maspeth and Williamsburg sites must first happen.
2) then the new MTA facilities need to be built
3) then the depot will be moved out of Commercial
4) then the current facilities will have to be remediated
5) then the park can be built at Commercial Street

We're looking at 10 years as a conservative estimate.

What a victory!
April 11, 2011, 11:29 am
Christina from Maspeth says:
“We are deeply disappointed that the MTA has changed its mind and has now said the Maspeth site is “suitable” for their access-a-ride garage/depot. Our understanding is that a feasibility study will be conducted to determine if a move to Maspeth is even possible. Any move to build a depot in Maspeth would take millions of tax payer dollars to accomplish and it would be a disgrace for this city to take this funding away from our senior centers, libraries and schools to fund this irresponsible relocation. Contrary to some early claims of victory, this is far from over. We have just begun to fight.” - Council Member James Van Bramer
April 11, 2011, 3:12 pm

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