Boxed in! Illegally parked buses obstruct businesses around MTA depot

How are we doing?: Buses lined up on Fillmore Avenue block the Floridian Diner, even though the depot entrance is mere yards away.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

They’re causing a busload of problems.

Bus drivers for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are illegally parking their buses on the streets around a Marine Park depot, obscuring local businesses during the day, and often completely blocking access to 24-hour businesses overnight, according to local business owners and community leaders.

The owner of the all-night Floridian Diner across the street from the Flatbush Bus Depot said that the nightly wall of buses around his eatery even blocks his parking lot.

“Not only are they parking their commercial vehicles around the diner and in front of the other stores so nobody can see that we exist, they also come in at night to park and block the driveways so people can’t get in and out,” said Steve Zaharakis.

Despite having a four-and-a-half-acre dedicated bus depot just across Fillmore Avenue from the Floridian Diner, drivers routinely leave their buses parked on nearby streets such as Flatbush, Fillmore and Utica avenues — and have been doing so for the past 40 years, according to Zaharakis. So many buses line local streets at night that he said they often box in his diner on all sides.

“My diner is open 24 hours and at night the buses are left so that they circle the diner so I’m in between buses,” he said. “They put them on Fillmore, on Utica and Flatbush, so they encircle the whole diner.”

On Utica Avenue, the buses frequently block one of the driveways to a parking lot that is shared by a local Petco, a Burger King and a Popeyes. This blocks access for both employees and customers, according to one Petco supervisor.

“Around 9-10pm buses start to fill up across Utica Avenue and they do tend to block the shared driveway,” said the supervisor, who declined to give his name because he wasn’t authorized to speak for the company.

Besides blocking the view of and entrances to the diner, the buses are also damaging the sidewalks, according to Zaharakis.

“I had brand new sidewalks last year, they go on the sidewalk to line themselves up and they cracked the sidewalk on Fillmore Ave,” he said.

The district manager of the local community board confirmed the longstanding abuse of local streets by Transit Authority bus drivers.

“If you go by the bus depot any night, the buses are lined up along Fillmore Avenue, along the side street of the diner,” said Dottie Turano of Community Board 18.

The buses should park their buses either in the depot or at the designated parking lot one block away on Avenue N and Utica Avenue, according to Turano, who said the issue negatively affects the local businesses.

“It’s not fair to the businesses that are there or the diners that want to go to the restaurants,” she said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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