The recent column “Select Bus Service will make Woodhaven worse” attempts to raise groundless fears about SBS, and dismisses its potential to benefit riders, drivers and pedestrians. The success of other SBS routes in New York City and the daily experience of bus riders on Woodhaven Boulevard tell a much different story, about both the need and the potential for improvement.
On Webster Avenue in the Bronx, ridership on the Bx41 has increased, and new bus lanes have eliminated delays. SBS also makes streets safer. The M15 First and Second Avenue SBS saw a 21 percent reduction in traffic injuries on the route segments where improvements similar to those being considered for Woodhaven have been installed. Traffic congestion has also been reduced over most of the M15 corridor, as demonstrated by before-and-after taxi GPS data.
Of the three design concepts the DOT and MTA presented for Woodhaven, concepts 2 and 3 would transform a dangerous, congested corridor into a street that works for the entire community. To the two agencies’ credit, all three options have been presented for discussion in community meetings wher
e plenty of substantive feedback was provided. Many more meetings are planned, to examine bus performance and traffic impacts, and design treatments of key street segments and intersections. The DOT and MTA to date have made good on their commitment to conduct an open and fair process — while ensuring that an urgently needed project moves forward.
And the need is truly urgent. Over 30,000 riders per day now suffer from slow, unreliable service on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards. Long lines of riders now wait for buses throughout the day and late into the evening at Queens Center mall and major subway transfer points, without even the minimal comfort and dignity that a decent bus shelter would provide. These riders deserve better, as do the drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who deal with these boulevards on a daily basis.
And they deserve to see those improvements soon. The column’s writers attempt to frame SBS vs. rehabilitating the Rockaway Beach Line as an either-or choice, but their costs, benefits and timeframes are vastly different and need to be evaluated on their own merits. Select Bus Service has the potential to transform Woodhaven — today one of Queens’ most dangerous streets — by late 2017. That transformation will be very much for the better, and can’t come a moment too soon.
Close to a dozen people gathered at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue on Sunday to call on the city to improve transportation infrastructure.
“There’s nothing that we don’t disagree with when it comes to improved transportation in Queens,” said Phil McManus, president of the Queens Public Transit Committee.
Action needs to be taken to improve mobility between northern and southern Queens along the Woodhaven Boulevard corridor, including to and from Midtown Manhattan.
A new study by Queens College, Community Impact Study of Proposed Uses of the Rockaway Beach Branch Right of Way, reports that the region’s transit users must endure a subway trip that is 42 percent longer than the New York City average. In some cases, such as from Far Rockaway to Midtown, the subway journey time is at least an hour. Travel to other parts of Queens can exceed two hours. In contrast, the Long Island Rail Road trains that crossed Jamaica Bay on the Rockaway Beach Line took as little as 43 minutes.
Residents and visitors driving into Howard Beach will now see a new welcome sign, following an initiative started over the summer by the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association. The group proposed to raise money to revamp the sign, but American Legion Post 1404 stepped in and paid for the entire cost.
“They were so generous and donated the entire sign. It was a very pleasant surprise,” said civic President Joanna Ariola.
It may have taken more than 35 years, but the city has finally approved funding for the long-awaited HWQ411B project in the Centreville section of Ozone Park.
According to a Dec. 1 letter from Stephen Malmberg, assistant director for the Office of Management and Budget, close to $50 million will be distributed to several city agencies for the decades in the making road reconstruction project, with about $7 million in contingency funds being pledged.
For many families, uniting to eat around the table is a warm and memorable highlight of the holiday season.
In many restaurants throughout Queens, seasonal touches — such as festive dishes, rich decor and options for catered meals or parties — create enticing options for holiday dining.
A group of streets in Howard Beach are being overtaken by people meeting up in the Waldbaum’s parking lot on Cross Bay Boulevard and playing loud music, conducting lewd acts and racing along the corridor.
“This needs to stop,” one resident who identified himself as Neal said.
A Verizon Wireless store at 159-20 Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach was robbed at gunpoint on early Saturday morning, according to the business owner.
Jodi, the owner of the Verizon store, who did not give her last name, said one of her employees was at the register when a man entered and pointed a gun at them.
It has been said the small businesses are the backbone of our communities here in Queens, and I am certainly one to reiterate that sentiment. The small businesses, many of which I frequent myself — convenience stores, delis, restaurants and more — are what keep so many of our borough’s commercial corridors going.
Small Business Saturday, this year set for Nov. 29, is a time to acknowledge the services our local stores have to offer. The everyday items we may not always take the time to note, the comfort you have in being a “regular” somewhere or simply just having a convenient place to shop are certainly reasons to appreciate our local stores. Cross Bay Boulevard, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, Grand Avenue, Beach 116th Street and Beach 129th Street are just some of the corridors that see thousands of people every day. Where would we be without them?
Former Howard Beach resident Joseph Parenti has a new book out about surviving a car crash on Cross Bay Boulevard 26 years ago. “Miracle on 91st Street” tells the story of his recuperation.
Joseph Parenti had just filled up his car with gas when he was on his way back to his Howard Beach home on Dec. 5, 1988.
As he was driving down Cross Bay Boulevard a man, who was being chased by cops, sped down 91st Street and collided into the passenger side of Parenti’s car.
Residents who live along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards last Wednesday expressed mixed opinions about a series of proposals that would turn one lane of the corridor into a dedicated bus lane, saying they were concerned with how the proposal would be implemented.
“This is a consolidation and when you consolidate, someone’s going to win and someone’s going to lose,” said Rockaway resident Phil McManus, a member of the Queens Public Transit Committee.
“Ukiyo-e Heroes,” gamers and art lovers unite as modern icons meet an ancient art form, RESOBOX, 41-26 27 St., Long Island City, Opening reception, Fri., Nov. 14, 7-9 p.m. Exhibit runs thru Dec. 4. Free. RSVP to reception: firstname.lastname@example.org; info: resobox.com/ukiyoe-heroes.
A Muni-Meter by a Howard Beach senior center was removed by the city Department of Transportation last week, according to Ozone Park Civic Association President Howard Kamph.
“Homeland [In]security: Vanishing Dreams” by Margaret Matthews-Berenson, Dorsky Gallery, 11-03 45 Ave., Long Island City, exhibition thru Nov. 16; Info: dorsky.org.
Angelina Ballerina was there. Donatello, too. Even an Oompa Loompa. Joining them and scores of other generally recognizable characters were an estimated 500 revelers from near and far, as the Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach hosted the neighborhood’s 28th annual Halloween parade. Kicking off at 159th Avenue on Saturday, the event transformed a six-block-long strip down the middle of Cross Bay Boulevard into a colorful wonderland, complete with police escort and punctuated by hundreds of high-flying black and orange balloons. — Mark Lord
Angelina Ballerina was there. Donatello, too. Even an Oompa Loompa.
Joining them and scores of other generally recognizable characters were an estimated 500 revelers from near and far, as the Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach hosted the neighborhood’s 28th annual Halloween parade. Kicking off at 159th Avenue on Saturday, the event transformed a six-block-long strip down the middle of Cross Bay Boulevard into a colorful wonderland, complete with police escort and punctuated by hundreds of high-flying black and orange balloons.
Councilman Donovan Richards, left, joined by his staff, Riders Alliance members and Executive Director John Raskin, second from right, with some of the 5,000 petitions they have gathered in support of BRT bus service along the Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard corridor.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) brought his fight for faster bus service along the Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard corridor to the steps of City Hall on Tuesday morning.
Backed by members and leadership of the Riders Alliance, Richards brought more than 5,000 petitions from bus riders along the corridor, all asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city’s Department of Transportation to dedicate the money and manpower to establish a Bus Rapid Transit route.
On the cusp of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Broad Channel residents are still trying to rid surrounding wetlands of debris caused by the storm’s wrath.
The unexpected golden opportunity: a torn-down home.