A new bus route will help bridge two hip neighborhoods, but Western Queens residents said they would like more attention for their borough.
The route slated to begin in September will embark from Washington Plaza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and turn around at 44th Drive and 21st Street in Long Island City, Metropolitan Transit Authority Assistant Director Joe Raskin said.
Community Board 2 members would rather have the route than not, but had a list of critiques at a monthly board meeting on Thursday night.
“This is Brooklyn getting more waterfront service,” CB2 Chairman Joe Conley said.
Conley said this route is Phase 1 and expects Phase 2 to be implementation of bus stops in Hunters Point, the most southwest blocks of LIC, where large-scale apartment buildings, stores and a school are being built.
“The MTA will look at Hunters Point,” Conley added.
Besides expanding the route southwest board members would like to see more coverage to the north. Extending the proposed route to Queensboro Plaza would eliminate the need for shuttle buses during No. 7 train construction slated off and on for the next five years, board member Moitri Savard said. The latest set of weekend No. 7 train closures from Queensboro plaza to Times Square will last until March 25.
“When the No. 7 train is out for 13 consecutive weekends, it’s really hard on Hunters Point,” Savard said.
City Planner Dorian Statom said the MTA does not have enough money to transport riders to the plaza.
CB 2 board members voted to send a letter of approval to the MTA with a few stipulations: extend the route to Queensboro Plaza, consider bus service through the Midtown Tunnel and look at stops in Hunters Point.
Exact stops for the proposed route will be decided later, but the MTA hopes to share some stops with the Q27 and B62. The bus will visit each of its stops every 30 minutes, Statom said.
Although buses typically stop every three blocks or 750 feet, Conley said he doesn’t see more than two stops on the nine-block stretch of 11th Street because of sidewalk cutouts and packed blocks. A resident in the audience said he didn’t want a bus stop in front of Murray Playground in LIC because of exhaust and the effect the pollution could have on children playing in those areas.
A public hearing about the route will be held sometime in the next three months.
The new route would go towards the river on Broadway in Brooklyn and then take a right on Kent Avenue, which turns into Franklin Street. The bus will then turn right on Greenpoint Avenue, left on McGuinness Boulevard and then over the Pulaski Bridge into Queens.
Once in Queens it will drive up 11th Street to 44th Drive, where it will turn right and head back down 21st Street, take a right on Jackson Avenue for about two blocks and then head back over the bridge.
Board member Sheila Lewandowski worried that Franklin Street is too narrow. Statom replied that recent test drives did not yield any problems.
The proposal addresses coverage areas that were cut for budgetary reasons in past years, but now are being added back. Another route restored in this effort is the B24, which gained weekends starting on Sunday, state Sen. Mike Gianaris announced. The B24 line runs from Williamsburg Bridge Plaza to Sunnyside.
In September, Gianaris pushed to extend Q103 service on Vernon Boulevard in LIC by 40 minutes each weekday.