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Woodhaven residents rally against Select Bus Service

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Neighborhood residents and activist groups gathered in Woodhaven Saturday to protest the city Department of Transporta­tion’s new Select Bus Service plan. The route would reconfigure lanes and eliminate left turns at major intersections as well as install bus stops in the median of Woodhaven Boulevard, which opponents fear will create unsafe conditions along the corridor and interrupt flow of traffic.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), state Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, Maria Thomson of the Business Improvement District, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, the Task Force for a Better Woodhaven, and the Queens Public Transit Committee all spoke out on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard and blamed not only the unwillingness of DOT to accept resident input on the plan but also the de Blasio administration for not taking an active role in the dispute.

“They could have off-board fare collection, extra-long articulated buses. They could have signal priorities so that buses don’t have to wait at red lights,” said Alex Blenkinsopp, director of the block association and longtime opponent of the plan. He favors adding a bus route along the inactive rail road tracks of the Rockaway Beach Line that would expedite service for commuters and reduce traffic along the boulevard.

“But the only thing that they’re going to do is commit in advance to a plan that’s going to costs hundreds of millions of dollars and raises numerous problems,” Blenkinsopp said.

Protester Charles Jusino said a bus stop in the median would be dangerous because the number of people who gather at the current stop in front of Queens County Savings Bank would crowd out the median where they would be expected to wait in the future.

“When you think of a plan that costs well over $200 million of taxpayer dollars, you need to make sure it’s right for the taxpayer,” Addabbo said. “The long-term effect of this plan has to be taken into considerat­ion.”

Philip McManus, chairman of Queens Public Transit Committee, made the point that traffic patterns will not only become more congested, but they could change altogether to affect residential parts of the neighborhood.

“If you have a glass and you fill it up to the top and you put something else in there, what’s going to happen? It’s going to overflow. And where is it going to go? It’s going to go into your residential streets,” McManus said. “People are going to adapt to this and avoid this roadway, and that’s going to hurt business and your property values.”

Other speakers at the rally cited roll-over traffic accidents, which have involved the median where DOT plans to put the new bus stops, as well as the city neglecting to remove snow around the current stop during the last major storm. Participants in the protests expressed the need for improved transportation along the boulevard, but stood firmly against the city’s Select Bus Service plan.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Posted 9:44 am, August 12, 2016
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Reader feedback

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. says:
This is not the world of "Animal Farms," where one particular group is dominating over the other: This is about transportation equity for all transportation users, from cyclists, to drivers, to straphangers, to pedestrians, to truckers. I will be sure that next year will be an ultimate climax of this hot buttoned transit issue in the "spine" of Queens.
Aug. 12, 2016, 10:14 am
Guest from NYC says:
This is crazy.

The city just needs to ignore these self-centered residents and push for improved mass transportation.

Buses should have priority on city streets, period.
Aug. 12, 2016, 11:21 am
Philip McManus from Queens says:
Self centered? People should have priority on our transportation system. We are trying to save people lives. The median bus stops are dangerous. Now bus riders will need eyes in the back of their heads. Kids will jump into the street to catch a bus on the divider.

We support sharing traffic lanes and increasing access for all commuters. It's wrong to discrimate against commuters who don't have transit options.

How come our buses are slow and overcrowded? We don't have enough buses, trains, ferries and traffic lanes.

Let me make this clear. We need to treat all commuters fairly and provide transportation for all. Everyone has a right to equal access and must be held accountable to the rules.
Zero Vision takes away reasonable speed limits, traffic lanes, left turns, parking, bus stops, increases travel times and expenses for the underserved and will unfairly ticket commuters for broken fare machines and drivers who have no transit options to travel in Queens.
We need the QueensRail back, more buses trains and ferries. We need our traffic lanes and bus stops restored. We need to restore our speed limits and expand the transportation system with buses on our highway and bridges. Do you know that most of our highways and bridges in NYC have no local, limited and express bus options. Why's that? It's time to get rid of Mayor DeBlasio and his discriminating Zero (car) Vision. Give us new subways, bus and ferry routes so we can leave the car at home. Stop punishing people who just want to live. Give us options not tickets and poverty. People need reliable, fast and safe transportation options not Zero Vision, Select Baloney Service and the QueensWall to Separation and Isolation. Unite Queens with the QueensRail today. Help us promote the QueensRail.

Philip McManus
Chairman,
Queens Public Transit Committee
PhilAMcManus@gmail.com
www.qptc.org
718-679-5309
Aug. 12, 2016, 3:34 pm
Vance Barbour from Woodhaven says:
Once again transit activists lose the forest for the trees. The communities along the Woodhaven/Crossbay Blvd corridor are not against SBS, they are against this ill conceived and unsafe plan. But this is typical and why no one at the DOT chooses to listen to the people who actually use the corridor and pay their salaries. Most of these advocates are not from the area- hell, some not even from NYC- or are paid consultants.
Aug. 12, 2016, 4:36 pm
Sarah from Woodhaven says:
The amount of money this plan will cost if it fails is something to seriously consider. If people are, as seems likely, put in danger by this bus route being in the middle of a fast moving expressway it will only last so long. The other routes which have been put forward such as the Queens Rail and LIRR etc seem to be both more cost effective and feasible in the long term.

People of Queens deserve a long term solution not a long term problem.
Aug. 13, 2016, 3:38 am

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