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MTA to Boot Dozens of Bushwick Residents From Their Homes Along M Train

By Gwynne Hogan | April 18, 2016 1:12pm | Updated on April 18, 2016 4:19pm
 Here are the homes and buisnesses that the MTA says it needs to vacate for repairs to the M line.
Here are the homes and buisnesses that the MTA says it needs to vacate for repairs to the M line.
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BUSHWICK — Dozens of homes, a coffee shop and bike store along the M train line have to be vacated for between six and ten months, or even longer, during repairs to a section of the elevated tracks, according to MTA documents.

Twenty-six apartments along Myrtle Avenue, Broadway and Ditmars Street as well as the coffee shop and Asian fusion eatery Little MO and Harvest Cyclery have to be relocated, according to the MTA. Board members signed off on the relocations on March 21.

"Because of the close proximity of residential and commercial properties to the work site, NYCT has determined that all occupants in properties adjacent to the Viaduct...may need to be vacated while Viaduct demolition and new construction work is underway," according to minutes from the March meeting.

Work will take "an estimated 6 to 10 months, but potentially longer."

The MTA says it has to tear down and rebuild the "Bushwick Cut", a section of the M train viaduct that connects 310-foot located between Broadway and Bushwick Avenue which connects the M to the J and Z lines.

The news was first reported by Newsday.

The MTA said it would "provide suitable accommodations, relocation assistance and compensation to the affected individuals and businesses, and without delay to the project."

They plan on awarding the contract this November. A letter addressed to property owners said that they needed to be out by the summer of 2017.

Residents will be asked to leave voluntarily, but if they refuse, the agency will start eminent domain proceedings in state court for temporary rights to the properties, though the agency will also fight for permanent right to enter those properties for "future access and maintenance," of the new viaduct.

"Because of the potentially long durations of the relocations, it is possible that some property owners may not wish to return or may wish to sell their properties while NYCT’s work is underway," according to meeting minutes.

In March the MTA put out a press release saying that they needed to repair the viaduct and that sections of the M line would be shut down, but made no mention of the dozens of homes and businesses that it needed to vacate during that time.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA said that the agency was recently authorized to contact affected property owners and tenants and said that soon they'd be setting up meetings with a "highly trained relocation specialist" to help figure out where they'll go. 

"We understand the serious inconvenience that each of these individuals are likely to experience in order to allow us to undertake this critical infrastructure project and we will do everything we can to minimize the distress," said spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Abby Campbell, 25, a tenant in one of the buildings that the MTA said it needs to vacate, said learned that her home's future was up in the air from a news reporter and not directly from the MTA.

"I figured that it was something that hadn't been finalized, that they still had to get approval for," Campbell said.

"Our landlord didn't even know about it, it can't be that serious," she'd thought. 

"We all live here because it's affordable and we're right by the train, The M train turns in our backyard," said Campbell. Her lease expires this summer it's not clear if the landlord will let them renew it or if they'll have to move out preemptively and if they do if the MTA will help them pay for the move.

"We don't get anything, we just have to move."