Howard Beach, NY (November 24, 2015) After months of feedback and concerns from the public and elected officials over a proposal to bring Select Bus Service (SBS) to Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is glad to announce that the city Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to consider the plans further and hold public open houses and meetings with local stakeholders on the issue in 2016 for it to gather more information.
“Since this plan was announced, I have stated that the changes DOT and MTA are looking to make must have our community’s best interest in mind,” said Addabbo. “I don’t want Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard to be even more congested, or residential streets becoming dangerous with traffic looking to bypass the main road, nor local businesses located on streets such as Jamaica and Liberty Avenues suffering due to the implementation of a ‘no left turn’ rule. We have been very vocal with our hesitations regarding this SBS proposal, and I am truly grateful that both DOT and MTA have listened to our concerns and are willing not to rush the project along, while we continue to work on a plan that benefits not only bus riders, but drivers, pedestrians, businesses and the surrounding communities.”
After a meeting at Addabbo’s office last week with DOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), city officials working on the proposal agreed to more community engagement and a review of that input due to the concerns that have been voiced in recent months and the complexity of the project. The proposal seeks to remove a lane of traffic from Rockaway Boulevard to Park Lane South in both directions in order to create a ‘Bus Only’ lane for the Q52 and Q53 routes, therefore having pedestrians wait for a bus on the median. The Senator contends that this plan would ultimately add unnecessary congestion to a main thoroughfare that is already extremely overcrowded and would place pedestrians at serious risk.
The SBS proposal has been met with varying opinions from residents who live near the Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard corridor, those who ride the buses, as well as those who drive the roadway frequently. Addabbo has remained in close contact with DOT and MTA throughout their planning process to make sure these concerns are taken into account – which included arranging a tour of the route with both agencies in August prior to the follow-up meeting that took place last week.
DOT originally planned to hold a series of open house meetings this fall to gather public input on the project. As a result of numerous requests, these meetings will now begin taking place in 2016, while the city continues to look for ways to amend its SBS plan.
“There are many communities in Queens that are in need of improved public transportation, and my district is no different, but these improvements should not come at such a high cost to residents and businesses,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven). “The SBS plan put forth by the city is a questionable solution to our transportation woes, and I am glad to see that our voices are being heard. I thank DOT and MTA for making an effort to compromise on this proposal and look forward to continuing to work with the agencies, as they hold open houses and gather more valuable input from the public.”