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Queens Chronicle

W'haven civic starts anti-SBS petition

WRBA: The plan is not right for us

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Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2016 10:30 am

For more than two years, many community activists and Queens residents have stated their opposition to the Department of Transportation’s proposed Select Bus Service plan for Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association is now asking them and anyone else who is against it to sign a petition stating their disapproval of the plan to take away a lane of traffic to make room for a dedicated bus lane.

“This is your opportunity to put your money where your mouth is,” WRBA spokesman Alex Blenkinsopp said at the group’s meeting. “Sign the petition if you want alternatives explored before they push for this. We need numbers on our side.”

The petition is online at saveourstreets.nyc and a paper version is also available at WRBA’s office at 84-20 Jamaica Ave.

Blenkinsopp said it’s important for people to show that they don’t want SBS in Woodhaven, even if they’re being told the project is going to happen despite their opposition.

“That is a way of convincing us that we don’t need to continue to fight,” he said. “It might be true, but we cannot give up the fight.”

Woodhaven leaders at the meeting spoke out against the plan — which includes proposed left-turn bans onto Jamaica Avenue and other key corridors, requiring commuters to wait for the bus on the median and having them pay the fare before they board the bus.

Maria Thomson, executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp., spoke out against the proposed turn bans, which she said would “close the stores of Jamaica Avenue.”

“People are not going to come and shop,” Thomson said. “It’s going to be depressing for our community.”

If the bans are put into effect, drivers going soutbound would have to turn down 86th Road to access the commercial corridor and northbound motorists would have to use 85th Road.

Thomson believes motorists would no longer want to shop on Jamaica Avenue because of the roundabout way they would have to take to get there.

Thomson earlier had set up a separate petition asking the DOT not to ban the left turns.

The only aspect of SBS Blenkinsopp said the group is not opposed to is requiring commuters to pay the fare before boarding the bus.

“As long as they don’t remove a lane of traffic, as long as they don’t ban left turns, as long as they don’t put people on the median,” he added.

No one at the meeting spoke in favor of the plan.

Woodhaven will be the home of the first 1.3 miles of SBS bus lanes along the corridor from Park Lane South to the Rockaway Boulevard/ Liberty Avenue intersection, a project slated to be completed in 2017.

The full SBS capital project does not have a targeted completion date.

The plans are separate from the rush-hour bus lanes in Rego Park from Dry Harbor Road to Metropolitan Avenue.

DOT officials have told the community about successful SBS projects in other parts of the city, but those at the meeting said it won’t work for their community.

“We’re not against change, we’re not against making Woodhaven better,” Martin Colberg, president of the WRBA, said at the civic’s meeting. “But the plan they’re proposing right now, we don’t think it’s going to work for this district.”

State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) echoed that sentiment.

“I don’t care if SBS has been accepted somewhere else,” Addabbo said. “I’m interested in Woodhaven.”

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • 100PCCPres posted at 2:53 pm on Sun, Jan 24, 2016.

    100PCCPres Posts: 71


  • Boulevard Improvement Group posted at 2:32 am on Tue, Jan 19, 2016.

    Boulevard Improvement Group Posts: 4

    Everyone with internet can access the petition by visiting the website at www.SaveOurStreets.nyc.

    For those who don't have the internet, here are a couple of options:

    1. Have them call us at 718-296-3735 (the office of the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association). If they get the voicemail, they should say they want to be a signatory of the petition against the SBS plan for the Boulevard. They should clearly state their name, the spelling of their name, their address, and their phone number.

    2. Have them send a letter to us, indicating that they would like to be a signatory of the petition against the SBS plan for the Boulevard, and providing their full name, address, and phone number. The letter can be mailed to:

    Boulevard Improvement Group
    c/o Woodhaven Residents' Block Association
    84-20 Jamaica Ave.
    Woodhaven, NY 11421

    We are also happy to provide paper copies of the petition to anyone who will distribute them in their communities. Please e-mail us at info@woodhaven-nyc.org.

  • VBarbour posted at 8:21 pm on Mon, Jan 18, 2016.

    VBarbour Posts: 50


  • 100PCCPres posted at 4:44 pm on Mon, Jan 18, 2016.

    100PCCPres Posts: 71

    Maria post the petition I will sign and I know many others here in Rockaway will also.