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Queens Chronicle

Holden, Trottenberg disagree on bus lane

Councilman, DOT commissioner exchange letters over Fresh Pond

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Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:30 am

A letter from Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg regarding the planned Fresh Pond Road bus lane has done little to inspire confidence from Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village).

The lawmaker, who called the DOT the Department of Congestion in an Aug. 8 Facebook post, called the agency’s efforts to reach out to the community “window dressing” in a response letter to Trottenberg.

DOT Queens Borough Deputy Commissioner Jason Banrey and Borough Planner John O’Neill agreed Holden offered solutions to the street’s traffic problem, the councilman said.

“Yet it seems that their input was overruled by the central DOT staff in Manhattan that has never actually visited the site to see the issues for themselves,” Holden said.

The agency could not be immediately reached for a response.

Trottenberg said after hearing concerns the DOT will be reducing the hours of bus lane operation from 2 through 8 p.m. to 3 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. She also addressed specific issues.

The plan is for a nine-block bus lane on the southbound side of Fresh Pond Road from Bleecker Street to Putnam Avenue. Seventy parking spaces will be lost during its night peak, mitigated by 61 new metered spaces on “spurs” with two-hour parking from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and alternate-side parking at other times. There would be new loading zones at key locations also.

The DOT does not plan to eliminate select parking spots in bottleneck areas, though Holden requested that, as several merchants expressed the importance of parking being available for business.

Trottenberg also wrote that the DOT examined widening the lane by the bus depot but that it is not feasible on Fresh Pond Road. She added, “the concrete neckdown at the bus depot entrance has no impact on the turning radius for existing buses.”

Holden said her statement was “totally inaccurate.”

The DOT does not believe any additional turning lanes are warranted as the bus lane permits vehicles to exit the lane of traffic, thereby maintaining traffic flow while they make right turns, according to Trottenberg.

Holden said that idea was “ridiculous.”

“It is ridiculous to believe that the bus lane will eliminate the need for turning lanes when it is only active for four hours per day, and will likely be filled with parked cars during off hours,” he wrote. “Even worse, the DOT had the opportunity to eliminate one parking spot to ease a bottle neck along Fresh Pond Road, but instead it plans to eliminate a bus stop and add a handful of parking spots in its place.”

Trottenberg wrote the DOT is working with the MTA’s New York City Transit to consolidate bus stops along the corridor that will provide additional metered spaces.

The DOT will also adjust the signal timing and sequencing of traffic lights and is working with the 104th Precinct for increased enforcement to mitigate congestion.

Trottenberg also noted that Community Board 5’s Transportation Committee voted in favor of the plan on June 18. Holden responded, “you conveniently ignored the fact that the board as a whole voted overwhelmingly against the proposal, 28-6. The board also voted 29-5 in favor of a resolution calling on the DOT to attempt other recommended changes before installing the bus lane.”

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1 comment:

  • Hunkster posted at 11:42 am on Sat, Aug 17, 2019.

    Hunkster Posts: 16

    And the war between tens of thousands of Q58 bus riders and car drivers are gaining steam real fast of course since day number one. 😀