Northeast Queens community leaders said they were outraged at the MTA’s plan to cut Q79 bus service from Floral Park to Little Neck and that the line was a vital means of transportation in the two neighborhoods.
Elected officials gathered at Little Neck’s Long Island Rail Road station, one block away from the Q79’s stop, Friday to call on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to keep the line intact.
“The outer boroughs always play second fiddle to Manhattan,” City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said. “They have 16 trains and 48 bus routes. We have one bus. They are going to take out the only north-south conduit for the people of eastern Queens.”
The Q79 travels along Little Neck Parkway from the Little Neck railroad station to Jamaica Avenue and 257th Street in Floral Park. The bus also travels through Glen Oaks.
The agency has said the line has very low ridership, but Queens elected officials said some residents depend on the route.
“It’s not a question of choice, but of necessity,” state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) said. “There are no alternatives for seniors.”
Padavan said elderly residents in the community used the bus to get to the LIRR station and then ride the train into Manhattan. The bus is also used by numerous students, city workers and Glen Oaks shopping mall customers.
The MTA has also proposed cutting the Q84 bus in southern Queens, which travels between Jamaica Avenue and Laurelton via Merrick Boulevard and 120th Avenue.
Trains full of transit union workers rode by and honked in support during Friday’s news conference.
Halloran said the MTA should consider running one or two buses per hour during off-peak hours and another every 15 minutes during peak hours, rather than cutting service altogether.
Little Neck resident James Romano recently brought a petition with 400 signatures to Halloran’s office.
State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) said Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed congestion pricing fees as a mean to discourage outer borough residents from driving into the city. But the mayor had also encouraged city residents to take public transportation instead.
“In my district, there is no subway,” Weprin said. “We, in this part of Queens, rely on buses. These cuts are unconscionable. This is a lifeline.”
A slew of community leaders showed up for the rally, including Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich and state Assembly contenders Edward Braunstein, Vince Tabone and Steve Behar.
Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council also turned out to show their support.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2010 Community News Group
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