Efforts to halt nefarious activity has adverse reactions

Problematic bus shelter discussed at chamber meeting


During the first Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce meeting of the new year, local leaders addressed a problem that has been plaguing Bay Shore for years: nefarious activity at the bus shelter located on Mechanicsville Road and Park Avenue.

President of the Chamber of Commerce Donna Perricone invited Suffolk County Legis. Steve Flotteron gave context to the issue and explained the efforts to clean up the bus shelter.

“Nefarious activities were going on there. I heard neighbors saying they find bricks and break car windows, and other things going on besides maybe drug sales and sex work,” explained Flotteron. “Most people that waited for the bus were unable to use the bus shelter; they waited 20 feet away.”

To clean up the bus shelter, Suffolk County Transit and the Suffolk County Department of Public Works (DPW) have made strides to put a stop to the loitering and nefarious activity. In January, surveillance cameras were installed inside the bus shelter as a crime deterrent, along with signs stating “warning, security cameras in use.” Additionally, the benches inside the bus shelter were removed to prevent people from sitting in the bus shelter 24 hours a day.

Even after the removal of the benches, Flotteron shared that the loitering is continuing, as he has seen individuals sitting on tipped-over shopping carts and folding chairs that they brought inside the bus shelter.

“A normal bus rider does not just bring a folding chair there,” said Flotteron. “And that goes with the claims that people are just going there to hang out all day. So again, we are calling over the DPW to hopefully please remove them.”

Flotteron explained to attendees of the chamber of commerce meeting that while he will continue to monitor the bus shelter with the county DPW and Suffolk County Transit, patience is needed to see if the changes made will be effective before deciding to remove the shelter.

A group of concerned Bay Shore residents that live in a condominium complex known as Cortland Square shared that the strides to limit nefarious activity at the bus shelter have caused an adverse reaction: the crimes are moving across Mechanicsville Road to their complex.

“There is nowhere for them to sit and nowhere for them to hang out, so they have been coming to our back parking lot where we park our cars,” shared Stacey Tierney, speaking on behalf of Cortland Square residents, including her sister. “We come home at night and there are people behind our dumpster. They are urinating, doing sexual activity, and shooting up drugs behind the dumpster.”

Cortland Square residents shared that while they understand it may take time to see changes, in the meantime, their residents fear walking to their cars to go to work, or having their children get on the school bus 30 feet away from that bus station.

Flotteron offered to set up a meeting with himself, Cortland Square residents, and the Third Precinct of the Suffolk County Police Department to come up with a plan to stop the activities occurring in the parking lot. The legislator also explained the importance of not making a rash decision, as a bus shelter can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and removing the bus shelter because of the individuals using it for the wrong reasons would also punish those that really do need it.

Suffolk County Legis. Samuel Gonzalez also offered words of encouragement to the concerned residents.

“I just went through that at the Brentwood stop,” shared Gonzalez. “Now that Legis. Flotteron has tried to do everything he can do for the moment, the learning curve that I already learned is that the Third Precinct is phenomenal, but it is not going to work overnight. It just takes a little time.”

The discussion of the bus shelter came to an end as Third Precinct SCPD Officer John Wright and Flotteron gave closing comments about the difficulty in resolving the issue, and the future measures to be taken.

“I hate to say it, but sometimes it comes down to our state laws being more liberal. In the old days, you were not allowed to just loiter. It ties the hands of our police officers when we do get complaints, of how much we can do.” said Flotteron. “We will continue cleaning it out, and if it keeps on being a continued nuisance, then we will work on getting the shelter removed.”

“Not all activity is a crime. We cannot just remove people,” explained Officer Wright. “I am sure there are ways we can help and get things better over there.”