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Disappearing Bus Stop

Dear Editor:

We often ask what makes a good neighbor? And now we have to ask, “what makes a bad neighbor tick?”

About a month ago, the bus stop sign at Beach 145th Street and Newport Avenue mysteriously disappeared. The consequence was that anyone waiting for a bus at the place that formerly had a Q35 bus stop sign risked being bypassed by younger drivers unfamiliar with the fact that this was a legitimate stop.

The nearest stops were Beach 147th and Neponsit Avenue and Beach 143rd and Newport Avenue. Disappearance of the 145th Street  stop would make the distance between those stops greater than any other two stops on the peninsula. It would seem that this was the only sign removed along the entire bus route. Some of the affected passengers contacted the MTA and were informed that it wasn’t an MTA matter, signage was a NYC Department of Transportation function. When contacted, DOT said no sign removal had been authorized.

Some passengers asked sympathetic drivers, but the drivers said they knew nothing about changes in where the bus was supposed to stop. If one was lucky or the arriving bus had a driver that was familiar with the route the bus might stop. Often the helpful driver would say “If there is no sign I don’t have to stop (but I did)”.

It’s difficult to guess at the mentality of whoever removed the sign. Someone who apparently doesn’t like having a bus stop where it was. What kind of attitude would that signify? Maybe “Who cares; people should have cars if they want to travel.”

The fact that several neighborhood people dependent on the Q35 bus, including elderly and people with disabilities, were inconvenienced—indeed put at risk—by longer, often difficult and painful walks, and nursing and service employees who help them were inconvenienced, apparently didn’t matter.

Actually, it was Ciara Donley of City Council Member Joann Ariola’s office who got things moving. After a short interval, the DOT sent a team to replace the bus stop sign… This must have upset the selfish vandal jerk because he dug up and disposed of the replacement sign within a couple of days of its installation!

What’s next? Does this vigilante have plans to remove other signage that displeases him, say: “stop” signs, “school zone” messages, “speed limit” signage or “summer parking restriction” notifications just because they displease him?

Isn’t this destroying/vandalizing of public (government) property a criminal act?

Stephen Keller

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