CB5 debates Queens bus network redesign plan
by Benjamin Fang
Jan 15, 2020 | 4885 views | 0 0 comments | 118 118 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the MTA begins collecting feedback on its draft of the Queens bus network redesign plan, some members of Community Board 5 are unhappy with the proposed changes.

At their monthly meeting last week, CB5 members opposed rerouting or cutting bus lines they and their neighbors use regularly.

Maryann Lattanzio from Maspeth said she’s against the route changes to the Q18 and the Q67 buses. Specifically, she would prefer the Q18 connect to the 7 train station at 61st Street in Woodside, which has elevators and access to the Long Island Rail Road.

She doesn’t want the bus rerouted to 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, which she noted is not accessible. Lattanzio said many co-op residents on 65th Place in Maspeth count on the Q18.

“It is imperative that Maspeth keeps the Q18 and Q67 running to get to school, to work and to handicap-accessible trains,” she said.

Kathy Masi from Glendale, who noted that the neighborhood already doesn’t have reliable public transportation, said the changes would hurt the community.

She said she doesn’t want to see the Q23 or the Q47, which takes riders to Jackson Heights and along 80th Street, to be cut.

“We have express buses blowing by Glendale coming from Howard Beach,” she said. “If they just add a stop at Metropolitan Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, that would really increase transportation for us. We don’t have much.”

Masi said she personally made an attempt to take public transit in and out of Manhattan. She said it was “disastrous.”

“It gave me no choice,” she said. “It pushed me back in a car.”

The Glendale civic leader said she hopes the bus network redesign works so it encourages more people to use mass transit. But based on the draft plan, she believes that goal is “a little more difficult.”

“I know that’s not the intent, but it’s the reality of it,” she said.

The MTA unveiled their draft redesign plan at the end of last year. Part of their goal is to have fewer stops and straighter routes that connect to subways.

The MTA also wants to speed up buses frequently stuck on congested streets.

Over the next few weeks, the MTA will host more than a dozen public workshops to collect input from residents, businesses, riders and other community members. Within the CB5 area, the workshop will take place at the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council on January 21 from 6 to 8 p.m.

After a period of feedback, the MTA will release a final draft, take more input and then implement the changes in 2021.

John Maier, who co-chairs the board’s Public Transit Services Committee, said the MTA approached the task of the redesign with the goal of being revenue-neutral.

That means while they may add services further out in eastern Queens, they would have to balance the cost by possibly removing service in other areas, he said.

Maier said he’s trying to arrange a presentation from the MTA directly to the Public Transit Services Committee, hopefully for their February meeting.

In the meantime, he encouraged all board members and the public to voice their thoughts on the MTA’s website or at one of its workshops.

“Put in your feedback,” he said. “Make it productive.”

Maier, who is from Ridgewood, said he likes that the plan would break the Q58 into two lines. One line would be “super fast” and would get riders from Ridgewood to Flushing with “very minimal stops.”

The other line would follow the original route, more or less, he said.

“What they’re looking at doing is a wonderful thing,” he said of that particular change.

Masi echoed Maier’s call to the board to take advantage of the public comment period.

“We can take this as a golden opportunity to get the right set-up for Community Board 5,” she said, “and not miss this.”
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