Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ANA 6/12 Meeting Minutes/ Notes

Albemarle Neighborhood Association Meeting - June 12, 2008

MTA elevator installation: Installation of the MTA elevator on McDonald Avenue near Church Avenue is expected to be completed by the end of June.

Foodtown renovation: The renovation of Foodtown is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Kensington Post Office aggravation: The Kensington Post Office (KPO) has a new manager and a new delivery supervisor. According to the KPO, a lobby director is required to be on duty in the lobby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to direct people to the post office’s various resources, such as the stamp machine and the passport line, and answer customers’ questions about which forms to use and how to fill them out. If you are in the KPO between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and do not see a lobby director on duty, report it to 1-800-ASK-USPS.

At last month’s ANA meeting, an ANA member volunteered to attend the May 21st meeting of the Brooklyn Post Office’s Community Advisory Council (CAC) on behalf of ANA. The CAC, chaired by the Brooklyn Postmaster, was founded a year ago as a result of borough-wide complaints about Brooklyn’s post offices. Its goal is to be accountable to the public. The ANA member’s report included this information:

Report complaints, such as misdelivered mail, to 1-800-ASK-USPS.
The name and phone number of the KPO manager are supposed to be on view inside of the post office.
Based on the amount of credit card usage by customers, the KPO is not eligible for a self-service kiosk. However, an attendee at the ANA meeting stated that credit card usage is low because the credit card machines are broken.
KPO is eligible for scales for use by customers, foreign language posters, and passport fairs.
A Contract Postal Unit (CPU) will open in Kensington (a CPU is a privately-run kiosk that is inside of an existing retail store and has a person in attendance) if a retailer can be found who has an appropriate space and is willing to house the CPU.
The Brooklyn Post Office participates in the USPS’s Mystery Shopper project (http://www.usps.com/strategicplanning/stp2007/improve_002.htm).

The manager of the KPO has been invited to participate at the next ANA meeting. Assemblymember Jim Brennan pointed out that zip code 11215 (Park Slope) has three post offices, but Kensington only has one. He said that Congress would have to designate money for an additional post office for us and suggested that Yvette Clarke, our representative in the House of Representatives, be invited to the September meeting.

Traffic congestion: An ANA member reported on a Department of Transportation (DOT) meeting about street traffic congestion on Church Avenue between McDonald Avenue and Utica Avenue caused by double parked cars, cars making illegal U-turns, bicyclists, and the lack of ten-second pedestrian phasing (which turns the WALK light on ten seconds before the green light goes on) and on sidewalk congestion caused by merchandise placed in front of stores. On Thursday, June 19th, DOT will conduct a walk-through of Church Avenue to learn about specific problems. We are invited to meet up with the DOT representatives at Church Avenue and Coney Island Avenue at 5:15, walk with them to McDonald Avenue, and point out the problems as we see them.

Express bus service elimination: The MTA’s Vice President of Planning and Operations unsuccessfully attempted to justify to the large number of aggrieved commuters the elimination of the BM1 and BM2 express bus stops in Kensington.

The major issues mentioned by the Kensington commuters are: 1) During the day, there is often a forty-five minute wait between buses because the staggering is “off.” This is detrimental to the community because the bus functions as a viable transportation alternative for the elderly and the sick. 2) Kensington commuters often see BM1 and BM2 buses that are only half-filled drive past them as they wait for the very full BM3 and BM4 buses to stop for them. As a result, some Kensingtonians have to stand up on these BM3 and BM4 buses (the MTA VP told us that that does not happen). It is clear that resources need to be allocated better.

The VP told us that Command Bus left a mess that the MTA has been cleaning up. We in Kensington are defined as part of that mess: When an express bus stops to pick us up, we make the commute longer for passengers who boarded at the beginning of the route. He promised that larger buses will be assigned to the BM3 and BM4 lines. He said that if those get overcrowded, the MTA will think about restoring some of our BM1 and BM2 service. If the MTA does change the schedule, it will not go into effect until September.

In response to requests for Sunday service, the VP told us that we have no Sunday service because we do not use the bus much on Saturdays. If you have problems with the bus and would like to complain about them, call:
James J. Harding, Jr.
Vice President, Intergovernmental and Community Relations
128-15 28th Avenue
Flushing, NY 11354
Work: 718.445.3100 x 3420
Cell: 347.203.8382
Fax: 718.961.2660

To complain about the F train, call 646.252.5800 and ask for:
Lois Tendler
Director, MTA NYC Transit Government and Community Relations2 Broadway, D 17.140
New York, NY 10004

The VP will report back to the ANA president in two to three weeks.

ANA committees and changes: Over the summer, the ANA will establish a committee to draft changes to the by-laws in order to address boundary issues for members, membership and membership dues, and streamline the officer core. Once complete and in effect, the ANA will nominate officers for the new positions and hold elections.

Next meeting: The next full meeting of ANA will be in September, date to be announced.