Just because Helen Marshall is now Queens Borough President does not mean she forgot what it was like to be a college student struggling to use public buses to get to class.
I know what it means to be waiting for the bus when its freezing cold and when you have late classes and are walking down dark streets its an uneasy feeling, the former Queens College student told a crowd of more than 100 Monday afternoon at Baysides Queensborough Community College.
Marshall was recalling her days on the public bus this week to celebrate Queensboroughs newest addition: a new on-campus bus stop and turnaround area for the Q27 bus, which runs from Flushing through Auburndale and Oakland Gardens into Bayside. The route also includes parts of Queens Village.
QCC President Eduardo Marti praised Marshall for helping to complete the project, which puts the new bus stop on the 56th Avenue side of the campus a short distance from Springfield Boulevard. The original bus stop was at the intersection of 56th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard, about a half mile from QCC.
This lady here made it happen, Marti told the crowd assembled outside the colleges administration building. We have been waiting for the words service extended into Queensborough Community College.
Students and staff cheered and clapped as the Q27 bus took a ceremonial lap around campus, bringing Marshall, Marti and City Council members David Weprin (D-Hollis) and John Liu (D-Flushing) as well as representatives of the Metropolitan Transit Authority from the new bus shelter to the administration building. According to a survey done by the college, about 59 percent of Queensboroughs students use buses to get to the school.
Farisha Gajraj, 19, of Queens Village, takes two buses to get to classes at Queensborough.
This is so convenient, said Gajraj, a business administration major who has some late night classes. This is right on campus and its safer.
Lizette Fonseca, 24, of Flushing, appreciates that the new stop on campus shaves about 15 minutes off her commute.
This saves a lot of time, the education major said.
MTA officials said there are no other major changes to the Q27s route.
Paul Gawkowski, director of bus service for the MTA in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, said the colleges willingness to build and maintain the on-campus bus stop sealed the deal.
It takes up about 80 parking spots, Gawkowski said of the bus stop. But every bus brings in about 30 to 40 students.
While students approved of the new on-campus bus stop as safer, quicker and more convenient, the effort it took to get the on-campus stop was anything but easy.
Jhack Sepulveda, 22, of Corona has been going to Queensborough for four semesters and has been working with the New York Public Interest Research Group and Queensboroughs student government to help get the Q27 change made.
Its actually great to see it happen, Sepulveda, a liberal arts major, said. The Corona resident said the change also was good for disabled students who use the bus to get to Queensborough.
Weprin said the City Councils allocation of about $200,000 for the new bus stop and shelter on the campus was a key reason the project was completed.
The councilman, who chairs the City Councils Finance Committee, said the new Q27 bus stop got down through the Councils pushing and ... the borough president was very diligent and persistent.
Before the new bus stop at Queensborough was officially opened this week, it took Jamaica resident Natasha Thomas nearly two hours to get to campus.
I have to take the bus, I have no other choice, said Thomas, a former student who has worked at the school for nearly nine years. This saves me those extra 15 minutes.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2002 Community News Group
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