Dozens of people living in a row of private homes in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn face relocation for at least six months, and possibly much longer, when the MTA renovates a section of its elevated M Train line next year.
But residents who live in the two-family homes on Ditmars Street told Newsday last week that they had yet to hear from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority about the relocations, approved by the agency’s board last month.
In addition, a coffee shop, a bicycle store and an apartment house with five units around the corner on Myrtle Avenue face the same fate, and workers in those stores said they had not heard about the relocations. Messages left for the owners of those stores were not returned.
“We still haven’t heard from the MTA,” one homeowner on the triangular block said. “I’ve talked to my neighbors about it. Everybody’s worried. Everybody’s confused. We don’t know what to do next. We’ve got to get together and talk about it, but everybody works. It’s hard.”
He and another owner interviewed by Newsday asked that their names not be used because they were uncertain how to deal with the MTA. The other owner said she had allowed MTA workers into her backyard to examine the elevated structure, but they did not mention the relocations.
“No. They told me nothing. How can I do that [relocate]? How can I move out like that?” she said.
An MTA spokesman said Friday that notices of the agency’s plans were mailed to affected parties Thursday and hand-delivered Friday.
“We know this is going to be a serious inconvenience ... We intend to to help them however we can because it is essential we do this work,” MTA spokesman Stephen Morello said.
MTA documents show 26 dwelling units on the block with an undetermined number of occupants would be displaced for at least six months, possibly 10 months, “but potentially longer.”
The MTA said it planned to hire a relocation consultant “to provide suitable accommodations” and compensation to the residents.
The agency said some property owners might not want to return, and it would pay them fair market value for their homes. The MTA said it would resell them after the project was finished.
The elevated tracks were built in the early 1900s, cutting through the block and the existing homes, one MTA document said. The tracks come “within 10 feet of seven two-story residential buildings to the east and within one foot, in places,” the document said.
The MTA Board authorized the relocations March 23 as part of two projects to renovate the elevated track — one section curving just feet behind the Ditmars Street homes in Brooklyn and one section near the M terminus at Middle Village in the Maspeth section of Queens.
A news release on March 18 announced the renovation work, but made no mention of the relocations. The news release said the first section in Middle Village would be done during the summer months to minimize the impact on Christ The King Regional High School, just across the street from the last stop, Metropolitan Avenue in Maspeth.
A school spokeswoman, Joanne Castellino, said the MTA had not contacted the school, and that officials there knew only what they read in newspapers the day after the news release. “We do have summer school, so there will be some impact,” Castellino said.
The work in Bushwick will begin after the Maspeth section is completed, the MTA said.
Newsday attempted to interview several people entering and leaving the Ditmars Street buildings during the past two weeks, but most said they did not speak English or did not want to talk.
Newsday left copies of an MTA Board document outlining the plan in mailboxes at each of the affected properties, but only three property owners responded.