“This is a growing, thriving community,” said Costa Constantinides, Democratic district leader. “This community needs more options into Manhattan not less.”
“This is a commuter neighborhood, a lot of people live here and work just across the East River in Manhattan,” added State Senator Michael Gianaris. “We should be looking to encourage those people to come into these neighborhoods.
“There is no reason for one part of Queens to be left in the dark while the rest of the city sees restorations to bus service.”
With local businesses in mind Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said, “There are hundreds of businesses on 31st Street. We need more services to make sure that people can get to these businesses.”
She spoke about her senior citizen constituents at the rally who “rely on mass transit.”
“Not everybody drives a car,” she said, “and I thought that the city's mission was to get people out of their cars and to get people riding mass transit.”
The MTA announced earlier this month that they would restore bus service that had previously been eliminated throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.
In Queens, the MTA will extend the service of the Q36, which will include portions of the the old Q79 route. Also, the weekday service for the Q76 will be restored.
“For people who live or work in Little Neck, Bellerose, Glen Oaks, Floral Park, or New Hyde Park, the Q79 was the only north-south public transportation available,” said Councilman Mark Weprin in a statement. “Restoration of service along the route will make a huge difference in their lives.”
With these restorations and additions occurring in Queens, elected officials representing Astoria expressed outrage during the rally that the MTA did not include the W train and QM22 in the reinstatement of services.
When asked how the MTA should fund the W train and the QM22 line if they were to be brought back, Gianaris said, “The reason we are here is because the MTA has decided they have the money to make restorations, and they are making those restorations in a discriminatory fashion.”
“At a time when the MTA found a way to restore service, to somehow leave out this neighborhood is unacceptable to many of us,” he added. “There is no reason for one part of Queens to be left in the dark while the rest of the city sees restorations to bus service.”