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.
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it makes sense to have eliminated stops along that route since the bus stops every couple of blocks. but it doesn’t make any sense to remove the one from in front of the senior center, and it’s crazy it takes so long to get it restored. bottom line is this city treats its senior citizens very poorly.
Tony this stop was taken away for no reason at all except the mta gods just did what they want and do not feel they have to answer to any one. If they felt they were right they would never have changed it.
In my opinion alot of things the mta does is a power thing just to do things without meetings or thought. It takes true grit like gertrude to stand up for your rights. You do not have to disagree with me.
There are 12,499 bus stops in the city, on 200 some odd routes that run (mostly) around the clock. I for one am proud of the system we have in place.
Congratulations to Gerturde for all her hard work..However why does it
take two years for the mta to make changes. What kind of a system do we have that makes us wait so long for change to be made.Maybe they think that people will stop chasing after a while. But this is crazy.