The owner of Midwood’s largest supermarket is seeking his own “special” by demanding the removal of a bus stop outside his business to clear up alleged traffic snarls — but community leaders say the oversized grocer has made one request too many.
Pomegranate owner Abraham Banda made the bizarre appeal at last week’s Community Board 14 meeting, where he lobbied members and officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to relocate the B68 stop outside his store at Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L — which is considered the Kosher whole foods and at one time put together an $1,800 order for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — claiming it would smooth out a traffic tangle that’s made worse by illegally double-parked delivery trucks unloading outside of his business.
“One of the reasons that you have double-parked trucks is because there is the bus stop. Without it, the trucks would be allowed to park there,” Banda told board members before turning up the charm. “I respectfully ask that you consider doing something special. It would be much appreciated if you handle this situation.”
Yet some panel members shot down the request, claiming that the community has already bent over backwards for Banda.
“There is only so much that can be done realistically, given that the facility does not accommodate the kind of demand that you’re experiencing,” said CB14 member Jonathan Judge, adding his group helped Banda launch his store in 2008. “We worked closely with you when you opened up, working with the MTA and the Department of Transportation to accommodate you.”
Banda already has half of Coney Island Avenue between Avenues L and K reserved as a no-standing zone, but claims it’s not enough to accommodate the 40–50 deliveries he receives every day.
But the shopkeeper should have bigger fish to fry than complaining about a lack of space, said other officials.
“You are a victim of your own success, sir,” said chairman Alvin Berk.
Banda said removing the bus stop would make it easier for patrons to exit his lot on Coney Island Avenue, free up traffic on Avenue L — where the entrance and exit to the lot is located — and make his delivery days headache-free.
The MTA spokesman said the authority would only consider relocating the bus stop if the board or area politicians pushed for it, although he couldn’t think of another suitable location.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions with Pomegranate and various agencies here in this room,” said Andrew Inglesby, assistant director of community relations at the MTA. “The borough commissioner’s office has their own safety concerns, and you’ve heard them loud and clear many a time — and you’ve heard transit’s concerns, loud and clear, many a time.”
City bus stops are separated by roughly three blocks, Inglesby said. Changing the equation would derail commuters, he claimed.
“Eliminating the stop would put out our customers who use the stop on a regular basis,” he said.