Robert Lai, deputy director of Service Design Operations Planning for the MTA, told the members of CB10 that the agency was proposing to change the current 131st Street segment of the route, which runs from Rockaway Boulevard to North Conduit Avenue, to 130th Street, which he said was wider compared to the narrow 131st Street. Lai said that on the current route two buses cannot pass each other in opposite directions.
“One has to wait for the other to pass,” he said.
Lai also noted other reasons why the MTA believes the Q10 route change would be beneficial; it is a more direct route avoiding extra turns and use of a wider street would give drivers improved visibility and provide for safe operation of the buses.
According to Lai, three new bus stops at primary intersections would be established at 130th Street and Sutter Avenue and 133rd and 135th avenues. The changes are slated to take effect in late June.
A survey conducted by the MTA found that 8 percent of the 1,260 Q10 daily riders would have a shorter walk to the 130th Street bus stops, 44 percent would have a similar walking distance, and 47 percent would have a longer walk.
Community residents affected by the proposed bus route change expressed their views to the board.
Martha Taylor Butler, representing Assemblywoman Michelle Titus, said that when she first heard about the change she thought is was a good idea. She said that 131st Street is very narrow and it is indeed unsafe traveling on it. However, Butler said that after thinking about it and talking to neighbors and constituents, she now had concerns about the change.
One of her main concerns was that it will be difficult for riders to transfer to the Q9 bus at the new bus stop at Rockaway Boulevard and 133rd Avenue. Butler also said she had safety concerns about the bus stop at Rockaway Boulevard and 130th Street since it is by a gas station.
“It’s not a safe place to stand,” she said.
Board 10 chairwoman Betty Braton told Butler that although the board concurred with some of her concerns with the bus stops, when an agency says that the change is being made for safety the board has to evaluate those issues in making their recommendation.
South Ozone Park resident Adelle Rogers, who lives on 130th Street, said the two blocks of 130th Street between 133rd and 135th avenues are the widest, with the street narrowing from there to Rockaway Boulevard. She added that with P.S. 96 located on 130th Street and Rockaway Boulevard, when school is in session there is so much traffic congestion from the school buses and parents parking their cars on the street that the buses are unable to get through.
Rogers said that in the morning traffic is backed up on 130th Street from the Conduit to 133rd Avenue. She told Deputy Director Lai she didn’t understand why the MTA would change the whole route when only two blocks were wider. Rogers also wanted to know where, with the MTA having a deficit, the money was coming from to make this change.
Bianca Peebles, a lifelong resident of 130th Street, said she didn’t understand the MTA’s reason for making the change since the Q10 bus had been going down 131st Street for years. She concurred with Rogers about the congestion at 3 p.m. when P.S. 96 lets out, and agreed that the bus would not be able to get through.
She added that the corner of 130th Street and Rockaway Boulevard is not safe for people to wait for the bus.
“I see no purpose (in changing the bus route) for two or three blocks,” said Peebles, adding, “personally, I don’t think that it’s a good idea.”
The board recommended that the MTA meet with the 130th Street residents and see if their concerns could be addressed. Lai said the residents' comments would be taken into consideration and the agency would particularly look at the bus stop along Rockaway Boulevard at 130th Street and see what can be done.
After concluding two additional informational public hearings on the board’s agenda: a Stormwater Management Pilot Project in Ozone Park and a Department of Transportation design proposal for additional parking on 156th Avenue between 77th and 78th streets in Howard Beach, Braton noted the valuable function that community boards play and asked that residents support the board and urge the city administration give them a budget that will allow them to function.
Braton said that if the board’s budget is cut to $144,000, as proposed by the city, “we are essentially out of business.”
The MTA is proposing moving the Q10 bus from 131st Street to 130th Street.