MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger could unfairly influence controversial bus-route changes that would benefit the shopping mall his family owns in Queens, critics charged Wednesday.
Fear MTA chair could guide bus change
But Hemmerdinger's son, who runs The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale, insisted his powerful dad won't advocate for the stops at the upscale mall.
"He'll have nothing to do with it," snapped Damon Hemmerdinger, the mall's development director. "This is not about him."
Dale Hemmerdinger - president and co-owner of ATCO Properties, which owns the mall - was confirmed in October as chief of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The MTA has proposed extending the Q45 route so passengers will be let off at Atlas Park. Changing the course of the Q23 is also under discussion.
Locals worry the new routes will take away parking spaces and increase noise, traffic and pollution. They are urging the elder Hemmerdinger to recuse himself from the decision.
Irate Queens residents blasted the proposal at a community board meeting last night and were expected to do so again at a property owners' gathering tonight.
Damon Hemmerdinger, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and the local community board asked the MTA in 2005 for "enhanced bus service" to the Atlas Park area, leading to reviews of the Q45 and Q23 routes, Donovan said.
Sources say the mall is tanking rapidly. I really like the mall, but don't expect the surrounding community to suffer sacrifice more because you can't make a go of it. Start better relations by dropping the slogan "just outside Forest Hills"... it's in GLENDALE!
Updated 1/11/08: Bus reroute benefits Queens mall owned by MTA chairman's family