March 11, 2011 By Christian Murray
In November 2008, the MTA abruptly removed the bus stop that was around the corner from Sunnyside Community Services on Queens Blvd (by 39th Street).
For many senior citizens, this decision brought hardship, as they had to walk two extra blocks to catch a Q60 or Q32 bus, including traversing the corner of a nearby car wash that is often hazardous in winter.
Many senior citizens started a campaign against the MTA’s decision, with Gertrude McDonald, 94, emerging as the cause’s most energetic and tenacious advocate. She organized a petition that included 300 signatures calling for the bus stop to return. Many, who suffered from arthritis and other ailments, signed on.
Last week, more than two years later, many of these seniors’ long struggle for the bus stop’s restoration finally came to end. They were notified that the stop would be restored within two weeks.
The news was delivered by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a personal friend of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, at the community board 2 meeting last week. Quinn called the MTA to restore it.
Van Bramer said that Quinn is aware of this neighborhood’s issues since he is in contact with her “several times a week.” The two have known each other for more than 20 years, he said.
He further added that “I told her about how the MTA removed the stop without any good reason and she said ‘I’ll take care of that.’”
The MTA had claimed that the stop was removed with 22 others in order to improve schedule reliability and efficiency — otherwise the buses would fail to move anywhere on a timely basis.
At the community board meeting, Quinn discussed the restoration of the bus stop and said: “Done”, adding that her only regret was that she couldn’t say it directly to McDonald, who was absent.