April 28, 2016 By Michael Florio
An East Elmhurst supermarket illegally moved bus stops to create an impromptu parking lot.
Trade Fair Supermarket, located at 99-10 Astoria Blvd., tried to make its own parking lot by breaking into the ground, removing concrete and moving bus stop signs for the Q19 and Q49, according to Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
Trade Fair moved the bus stop signs about six feet, Ferreras-Copeland said in a Facebook post. They also built a curb cut, which would allow vehicles to enter the vacant lot.
The supermarket went as far as painting the remaining sidewalk to make it look like a city job.
“This is beyond unacceptable,” Ferreras-Copeland wrote on Facebook.
“This is not only blatant disregard for the City’s planning and transportation system but it is illegal and dangerous,” she added. “We cannot have cars stopping and piling up to turn in the middle of a street like Astoria Boulevard, particularly where a bus stop and Elmcor Senior Center are located.”
State Sen. Jose Peralta shared her outrage.
“In more than a decade in public office, I have not seen anything like this before,” he said. “This is inconceivable.”
Trade Fair received numerous violations for this stunt.
The Department of Buildings issued violations for an illegal curb cut and for creating a parking lot on a residential lot, according to an agency spokesman.
The Department of Transportation issued violations for defacement.
The agency also inspected the removal and unauthorized alignment of the bus stop sign on Monday. The bus stop sign was relocated to its original place, according to a DOT spokesman. The work was completed on Tuesday.
Peralta was pleased that the City agencies issued violations.
“The actions that have been taken by the supermarket were illegal, and I am glad the community got together to tackle the situation by informing the proper City agencies,” he said.
Trade Fair was not interested in discussing the matter.
“Show me evidence of us moving a bus stop,” a spokesman said. “Then I will talk about it.”
In order for Trade Fair to properly turn this vacant residential lot into a parking lot they would have to submit an application to change the certificate of occupancy to allow this use, the DOB spokesman said.