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

Bedfellows! Rival pols Levin, Restler battle — together and apart — to move MTA bus depot
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

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.