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Aggressive Driving

Illegally Parked Minivan Causes Borough Park Gridlock And MTA Bus Stalemate 

1:23 PM EDT on March 19, 2021

One of the B35 buses stuck because of an illegally parked minivan. Source: @NYC Scanner via Twitter

It’s always about parking.

Two bus drivers got into an MTA standoff on Thursday, causing gridlock for nearly 15 minutes on a congested Borough Park thoroughfare during the evening rush hour — thanks, of course, to an illegally parked car.

The drivers of two B35 articulated buses each refused to back up to allow the other to turn safely at the intersection of 13th Avenue and 39th Street without side-scraping parked cars nearby, or driving up onto the sidewalk, according to a now-viral video taken at the scene — both of the bus operators, one of whom was not properly wearing his mask against proper protocol, hopped out and started blaming each other for causing the gridlock as drivers behind them honked incessantly.

But the only person to blame is the driver of the minivan who selfishly left little room for the buses to turn by parking in a clearly marked "No Standing" zone on the southbound side of 13th Avenue just north of 39 Street, according to the MTA.

“While this very New York traffic jam should have been resolved more professionally, a significant cause of the gridlock appears to be an illegally parked minivan and shipping container,” said MTA spokesman Shams Tarek. "This is an illustration of why well-enforced bus priority and street parking regulations are so critical to the smooth operation of our buses -- we will be in touch with local authorities to ensure that this is not a chronic trouble spot."

And not only did the illegally parked minivan cause issues, but one of the buses couldn't make its wide turn at the intersection because of a shipping container also parked in the street, on the eastbound side of 39th Street just west of 13th Avenue, according to the MTA. [Update: the shipping container was there legally, according to the DOT.]

Tensions escalated as fed-up New Yorkers, many of them only contributing to the gridlock while in their private cars, berated the bus operators trying to do their jobs.

“Two babies over’re blocking the whole 13th Avenue,” said the person apparently filming the incident.

One the operators responds that he has no room to move the bus because of all the cars.

"Because theres so many cars right here, I don't want to cause any problems," the MTA-uniformed driver says in the video.

A third bus driver at the scene, who was traveling as a passenger at the time, ultimately helped the buses maneuver around the gridlock and got traffic moving 12 minutes later, according to the MTA. (That's a hero right there — a bus driver who ... rides the bus.)

Both drivers have been temporarily "taken out of service" while being investigated for "operational, conduct and mask violations," according to the MTA.

We're reaching out to the union about that.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect that the two MTA bus drivers are not "suspended" but have been temporarily "taken out of service" pending the investigation. 

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