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FedEx Trucks Mean Headaches For Upper West Side Seniors

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER WEST SIDE — FedEx is supposed to make the world run on time, but for some Upper West Side seniors the overnight shipping company is doing just the opposite.

Officials at Council House senior center on West 72nd Street and Broadway say FedEx trucks park illegally in front of the center for hours, blocking the spot where Access-A-Ride, a transportation service for disabled people, usually pulls up.

That means Access-A-Ride either has to park down the block, forcing seniors with walkers or wheelchairs to go out of their way, or Access-A-Ride double parks, making seniors venture onto busy West 72nd Street, said Council House executive director Ed Bartosik.

Bartosik wrote to FedEx several months ago explaining the problem, and the company promptly wrote back and apologized. A customer relations representative said then that FedEx would direct Bartosik's complaints to management for follow-up.

But a few months later, the truck problems started again, Bartosik said.

"They're not being very neighborly," Bartosik said. "As big a company as FedEx is, they should have some sort of corporate responsibility to the community."

Council House serves about 80 to 150 seniors a day, many of whom use Access-A-Ride to travel to and from outer boroughs or elsewhere in Manhattan, Bartosik said.

Among them is a woman named Rama, who didn't want her last name or age printed. She lives on West 104th and Broadway and takes art classes at Council House.

Rama, who gets around on a motorized scooter, said the FedEx trucks create problems for her and she's not shy about complaining to the truck drivers. "They block my access to Access-A-Ride," she said.

With a FedEx store just a few doors down from Council House, the block is sometimes lined with trucks, Bartosik said. They're not making quick deliveries to neighborhood businesses —  they're stopping for hours to sort packages, Bartosik said.

A few years ago, there were legal parking spots in front of Council House. But City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side, had the spots converted into a no parking zone so Access-A-Ride could pull up directly to the curb, Bartosik said.

Now Brewer and other elected officials are pushing to make the Upper West Side an "age-friendly" neighborhood, which makes the FedEx trucks all the more troubling, Bartosik said.

"If we're really thinking about an age-friendly New York City, then we need to get businesses in line to think about these things and be aware of their surroundings," Bartosik said.

A spokesman for FedEx told DNAinfo on Tuesday that local managers had spoken to drivers in the area and reminded them not to park in front of Council House.

"We apologize for the inconvenience, and it shouldn't happen anymore," said FedEx spokesman Christopher Stanley. "We definitely strive to be a good neighbor everywhere we are. We've let the drivers know that's not a place they should be."