Concerns over route changes continue 1

Area residents are concerned about the MTA bus redesign, including changes to the Q23, seen here turning onto Austin Street from 71st Avenue. An MTA-NYC Transit representative will speak to Community Board 6 on Feb. 12 about the plan.

Peter Beadle, co-chairman of Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee, was pleased when the MTA announced it would redesign bus routes, believing the existing ones look “like spaghetti that’s been dumped on the sidewalk.”

But he believes there are issues with the agency’s draft plan.

“I’ve been wanting to see a bus redesign because I do think that our system is inefficient but I’m not happy with this,” Beadle said last Wednesday at a meeting of the Transportation Committee.

He said the MTA seems to be placing emphasis on using buses as a way of getting to trains.

“That’s great by itself but it really treats the buses sort of as a secondary accompaniment to the subways rather than a prime mode of transportation,” Beadle said.

CB 6 area residents, and borough residents overall, are bracing for changes if the plan is adopted as is. The Q60 will no longer go into Manhattan. The Q52 will no longer go to Jackson Heights. The Q23 will no longer run on Austin Street. The Q38 will no longer go from 108th Street and 62nd Drive to Queens Boulevard.

The MTA unveiled its plan with the agency looking to spread out stops and have fewer turns in order to increase speed and cut down on bus bunching. The plan has been criticized by many residents as well as Queens Council members, who rallied outside Borough Hall last Friday [see separate story at qchron.com].

The plan has faced criticism from residents who say fewer stops means longer walks for elderly and disabled people, in addition to riders being dropped off at subway stations not accessible to handicapped people.

Another issue raised is the need for riders to transfer not once, but twice, meaning commuters would have to pay a double fare.

John O’Neill, the Queens borough planner for the Department of Transportation, at the CB 6 committee meeting encouraged people to contact the MTA, community boards and elected officials as well as attend workshops in the borough regarding the redesign.

“The routes that have been laid out, they are preliminary, they are still open to public discussion and revision,” he said.

The next Community Board 6 meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the Kew Gardens Community Center at 80-02 Kew Gardens Road, Suite 202.

MTA-NYC Transit representative Lucille Songhai will discuss the bus redesign.

Public comments often happen at the beginning of meetings but CB 6 Chairwoman Alexa Weitzman said the board is thinking about having residents speak about the bus plan after Songhai’s presentation.

“We understand that this is a topic that everyone deserves a chance to speak about,” Weitzman said.

(1) comment

Linnster

Can anyone point me to a link which shows the new proposed stops on the bus routes. I'm concerned with the Q23 and QM 40 and QM 42 in particular. All I have been able to find so far is a map with a red line with some dots on it showing the new route and, presumable the dots are the new stops, but the map doesn't have street numbers which makes it virtually useless. Thank you.

Also, when the MTA talks about alleviating "bunching," do they mean a number of different bus lines converging at the same stops at the same time or, in the case of the Q23, when two or three Q23 buses reach the same stop at 62nd and 108th Street at the same time around 6:00-6:15 PM. Generally, the first bus at the stop takes all passengers and the two following it are almost empty which is not economical or good for the environment.

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