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Consensus elusive over proposed Woodhaven SBS

Elected officials discussing the details of the proposed SBS route along Woodhaven Boulevard with city transit officials, this Monday.
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Woodhaven Boulevard is a dangerous and congested mess. That much, transit advocates, city politicians, transit officials, and local community members can all agree on—but not much else. From the very name of the proposed $200 million redesign to the proposal’s effect on pedestrians, businesses and traffic, consensus is hard to come by.

The MTA contends the Select Bus Service route will provide more reliable service for 30,000 daily riders with an anticipated travel time savings of 25-35 percent and will especially benefit low-income citizens along the Woodhaven corridor who have been plagued with slow buses for years. SBS, which will support Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero and OneNYC programs, has been presented by advocates as a comprehensive program that will help not only bus riders but drivers, pedestrians and all street users.

“I often rely on buses, but I’m tired of their unreliability and how overcrowded they’ve become,” said Jeanne Majors, a Jamaica resident and member of the Riders Alliance advocacy group.

“I want reliable service and Select Bus Service can provide that.”

Skeptics, however, question whether SBS’s benefits justify its drawbacks, which they say are many.

“In general, the people who are skeptical are those who will have to live with the new lanes in the community. They are looking at how this will affect their investments, their properties, their lives,” said Ed Wendell, a board member at the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association “It’s all a matter of perspective.”

Jim Cocovillo, chairman of CB5’s Public Safety Committee, looks to the streets in Woodhaven that have been changed to one-way and he sees a warning sign for the area’s businesses.

“These businesses are having a tough enough time and now you want to restrict access to Jamaica Avenue? Eliminating lefthand turns and access to Jamaica Avenue is a major concern,” he said.

SBS advocates respond that hard data should allay such fears. “It’s a fair observation in the short term,” said Toby Sheppard Bloch, a Glendale resident who has attended numerous SBS workshops, “but drivers adapt quickly, especially if you look at other traffic calming projects in the city.”

According to a DOT report, after the installation of Select bus Service on Fordham Road in the Bronx, businesses along the route saw a 73 percent increase in retail sales.

While three separate design concepts for SBS are on the table, all include a dedicated bus lane for Woodhaven Boulevard, and that worries many drivers in the community.

“The dedicated bus lane is going to create more congestion. That’s the bottom line. If you have a clogged artery, making the artery smaller won’t help,” said Kenichi Wilson, head of CB9’s Transportation Committee.

On Monday a group of elected officials took a bus along the proposed SBS route and discussed their concerns with transit officials.

“We need to make sure we get this right because long after the MTA and these advocacy organizations leave, we will be here living with the consequences. We’re being heard, and as long as we have that kind of dialogue, I’m optimistic,” said state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach).

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Posted 12:00 am, August 27, 2015
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Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
"SBS Advocates respond that hard data should allay such fears." However the MTA and DOT have refused to present any hard data after numerous requests. Where are the results from their computer models? They have only presented positive aspects of the plan and have never revealed the entire plan at a single meeting but only in bits and pieces. They have not told you they plan to eliminate 23 new left turn movements so you will only be able to turn left once every mile or that truck traffic will be routed down Trotting Course Lane which will become two way.

The more people learn about the plan, the greater the opposition to it. They have put in bus lanes that they intend to relocate in two years wasting precious funds. They have not told you that the 30,000 daily bus riders represent only one third of the road's users, so if bus riders gain ten minutes and it takes you ten more minutes to drive where you are going, the result is a net loss of time when you consider everyone's needs.

Articulated buses will mean less bus service not more service. Fewer parking spaces and hundreds of trees destroyed. More difficulty for emergency vehicles which will not be able to get around stopped buses in heavy traffic by going into the opposing traffic lane as they do currently. There has been no estimate given as to how many will switch from car to SBS because that will not happen since SBS does not reduce the number of buses and fares needed to make a trip.

There is much more to the story than DOT is telling you. Let them first fix the problems with existing SBS routes before embarking on new ones such as fixing the numerous number of broken fare machines in a timely manner. SBS also costs millions more to operate each year because you need enforcement inspectors. Do we need this extra expense when patronage on most SBS routes is declining at a rate greater than the local bus system?
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:09 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
"SBS Advocates respond that hard data should allay such fears." However the MTA and DOT have refused to present any hard data after numerous requests. Where are the results from their computer models? They have only presented positive aspects of the plan and have never revealed the entire plan at a single meeting but only in bits and pieces. They have not told you they plan to eliminate 23 new left turn movements so you will only be able to turn left once every mile or that truck traffic will be routed down Trotting Course Lane which will become two way.

The more people learn about the plan, the greater the opposition to it. They have put in bus lanes that they intend to relocate in two years wasting precious funds. They have not told you that the 30,000 daily bus riders represent only one third of the road's users, so if bus riders gain ten minutes and it takes you ten more minutes to drive where you are going, the result is a net loss of time when you consider everyone's needs.

Articulated buses will mean less bus service not more service. Fewer parking spaces and hundreds of trees destroyed. More difficulty for emergency vehicles which will not be able to get around stopped buses in heavy traffic by going into the opposing traffic lane as they do currently. There has been no estimate given as to how many will switch from car to SBS because that will not happen since SBS does not reduce the number of buses and fares needed to make a trip.

There is much more to the story than DOT is telling you. Let them first fix the problems with existing SBS routes before embarking on new ones such as fixing the numerous number of broken fare machines in a timely manner. SBS also costs millions more to operate each year because you need enforcement inspectors. Do we need this extra expense when patronage on most SBS routes is declining at a rate greater than the local bus system?
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:09 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
"SBS Advocates respond that hard data should allay such fears." However the MTA and DOT have refused to present any hard data after numerous requests. Where are the results from their computer models? They have only presented positive aspects of the plan and have never revealed the entire plan at a single meeting but only in bits and pieces. They have not told you they plan to eliminate 23 new left turn movements so you will only be able to turn left once every mile or that truck traffic will be routed down Trotting Course Lane which will become two way.

The more people learn about the plan, the greater the opposition to it. They have put in bus lanes that they intend to relocate in two years wasting precious funds. They have not told you that the 30,000 daily bus riders represent only one third of the road's users, so if bus riders gain ten minutes and it takes you ten more minutes to drive where you are going, the result is a net loss of time when you consider everyone's needs.

Articulated buses will mean less bus service not more service. Fewer parking spaces and hundreds of trees destroyed. More difficulty for emergency vehicles which will not be able to get around stopped buses in heavy traffic by going into the opposing traffic lane as they do currently. There has been no estimate given as to how many will switch from car to SBS because that will not happen since SBS does not reduce the number of buses and fares needed to make a trip.

There is much more to the story than DOT is telling you. Let them first fix the problems with existing SBS routes before embarking on new ones such as fixing the numerous number of broken fare machines in a timely manner. SBS also costs millions more to operate each year because you need enforcement inspectors. Do we need this extra expense when patronage on most SBS routes is declining at a rate greater than the local bus system?
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:10 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
"SBS Advocates respond that hard data should allay such fears." However the MTA and DOT have refused to present any hard data after numerous requests. Where are the results from their computer models? They have only presented positive aspects of the plan and have never revealed the entire plan at a single meeting but only in bits and pieces. They have not told you they plan to eliminate 23 new left turn movements so you will only be able to turn left once every mile or that truck traffic will be routed down Trotting Course Lane which will become two way.

The more people learn about the plan, the greater the opposition to it. They have put in bus lanes that they intend to relocate in two years wasting precious funds. They have not told you that the 30,000 daily bus riders represent only one third of the road's users, so if bus riders gain ten minutes and it takes you ten more minutes to drive where you are going, the result is a net loss of time when you consider everyone's needs.

Articulated buses will mean less bus service not more service. Fewer parking spaces and hundreds of trees destroyed. More difficulty for emergency vehicles which will not be able to get around stopped buses in heavy traffic by going into the opposing traffic lane as they do currently. There has been no estimate given as to how many will switch from car to SBS because that will not happen since SBS does not reduce the number of buses and fares needed to make a trip.

There is much more to the story than DOT is telling you. Let them first fix the problems with existing SBS routes before embarking on new ones such as fixing the numerous number of broken fare machines in a timely manner. SBS also costs millions more to operate each year because you need enforcement inspectors. Do we need this extra expense when patronage on most SBS routes is declining at a rate greater than the local bus system?
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:10 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
"SBS Advocates respond that hard data should allay such fears." However the MTA and DOT have refused to present any hard data after numerous requests. Where are the results from their computer models? They have only presented positive aspects of the plan and have never revealed the entire plan at a single meeting but only in bits and pieces. They have not told you they plan to eliminate 23 new left turn movements so you will only be able to turn left once every mile or that truck traffic will be routed down Trotting Course Lane which will become two way.

The more people learn about the plan, the greater the opposition to it. They have put in bus lanes that they intend to relocate in two years wasting precious funds. They have not told you that the 30,000 daily bus riders represent only one third of the road's users, so if bus riders gain ten minutes and it takes you ten more minutes to drive where you are going, the result is a net loss of time when you consider everyone's needs.

Articulated buses will mean less bus service not more service. Fewer parking spaces and hundreds of trees destroyed. More difficulty for emergency vehicles which will not be able to get around stopped buses in heavy traffic by going into the opposing traffic lane as they do currently. There has been no estimate given as to how many will switch from car to SBS because that will not happen since SBS does not reduce the number of buses and fares needed to make a trip.

There is much more to the story than DOT is telling you. Let them first fix the problems with existing SBS routes before embarking on new ones such as fixing the numerous number of broken fare machines in a timely manner. SBS also costs millions more to operate each year because you need enforcement inspectors. Do we need this extra expense when patronage on most SBS routes is declining at a rate greater than the local bus system?
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:11 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
"SBS Advocates respond that hard data should allay such fears." However the MTA and DOT have refused to present any hard data after numerous requests. Where are the results from their computer models? They have only presented positive aspects of the plan and have never revealed the entire plan at a single meeting but only in bits and pieces. They have not told you they plan to eliminate 23 new left turn movements so you will only be able to turn left once every mile or that truck traffic will be routed down Trotting Course Lane which will become two way.

The more people learn about the plan, the greater the opposition to it. They have put in bus lanes that they intend to relocate in two years wasting precious funds. They have not told you that the 30,000 daily bus riders represent only one third of the road's users, so if bus riders gain ten minutes and it takes you ten more minutes to drive where you are going, the result is a net loss of time when you consider everyone's needs.

Articulated buses will mean less bus service not more service. Fewer parking spaces and hundreds of trees destroyed. More difficulty for emergency vehicles which will not be able to get around stopped buses in heavy traffic by going into the opposing traffic lane as they do currently. There has been no estimate given as to how many will switch from car to SBS because that will not happen since SBS does not reduce the number of buses and fares needed to make a trip.

There is much more to the story than DOT is telling you. Let them first fix the problems with existing SBS routes before embarking on new ones such as fixing the numerous number of broken fare machines in a timely manner. SBS also costs millions more to operate each year because you need enforcement inspectors. Do we need this extra expense when patronage on most SBS routes is declining at a rate greater than the local bus system?
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:11 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
I entered my comment only one time.
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:15 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
I entered my comment only one time.
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:15 am
Queens Resident from Rockaway Peninsula says:
What I find daunting is how narrow-minded these so-called advocates are. It is necessary to look at the bigger picture. Which is mainly where all of the traffic is coming from.

If we can even bother to take into consideration the Rockaway residents, most will say that this $200MM is garbage money. i.e.; Its only going to be lost forever.

Let's put that into something that can really benefit Queens and the city as a whole: Revitalize the former LIRR Rockaway Beach/Ozone Park Branch. The bulk of the right-of-way exists, it is a matter of who, how and when. With a new branch of service, regardless of who operates it, it will be a windfall for everyone.

I do not get why so many are so against this and would rather take a bus? There is no guarantee that this SBS will be as successful as MTA or anyone is proclaiming. Let us assume that this goes forward and then there is an accident or other such obstruction like police needing to pull someone over. You think that is not going to delay and cause serious congestion?

In short, I do not believe that the investment will not be anyone best interests - except the "consultants".
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:20 am
Queens Resident from Rockaway Peninsula says:
What I find daunting is how narrow-minded these so-called advocates are. It is necessary to look at the bigger picture. Which is mainly where all of the traffic is coming from.

If we can even bother to take into consideration the Rockaway residents, most will say that this $200MM is garbage money. i.e.; Its only going to be lost forever.

Let's put that into something that can really benefit Queens and the city as a whole: Revitalize the former LIRR Rockaway Beach/Ozone Park Branch. The bulk of the right-of-way exists, it is a matter of who, how and when. With a new branch of service, regardless of who operates it, it will be a windfall for everyone.

I do not get why so many are so against this and would rather take a bus? There is no guarantee that this SBS will be as successful as MTA or anyone is proclaiming. Let us assume that this goes forward and then there is an accident or other such obstruction like police needing to pull someone over. You think that is not going to delay and cause serious congestion?

In short, I do not believe that the investment will not be anyone best interests - except the "consultants".
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:21 am
Queens Resident from Rockaway Peninsula says:
What I find daunting is how narrow-minded these so-called advocates are. It is necessary to look at the bigger picture. Which is mainly where all of the traffic is coming from.

If we can even bother to take into consideration the Rockaway residents, most will say that this $200MM is garbage money. i.e.; Its only going to be lost forever.

Let's put that into something that can really benefit Queens and the city as a whole: Revitalize the former LIRR Rockaway Beach/Ozone Park Branch. The bulk of the right-of-way exists, it is a matter of who, how and when. With a new branch of service, regardless of who operates it, it will be a windfall for everyone.

I do not get why so many are so against this and would rather take a bus? There is no guarantee that this SBS will be as successful as MTA or anyone is proclaiming. Let us assume that this goes forward and then there is an accident or other such obstruction like police needing to pull someone over. You think that is not going to delay and cause serious congestion?

In short, I do not believe that the investment will not be anyone best interests - except the "consultants".
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:21 am
Queens Resident from Rockaway Peninsula says:
What I find daunting is how narrow-minded these so-called advocates are. It is necessary to look at the bigger picture. Which is mainly where all of the traffic is coming from.

If we can even bother to take into consideration the Rockaway residents, most will say that this $200MM is garbage money. i.e.; Its only going to be lost forever.

Let's put that into something that can really benefit Queens and the city as a whole: Revitalize the former LIRR Rockaway Beach/Ozone Park Branch. The bulk of the right-of-way exists, it is a matter of who, how and when. With a new branch of service, regardless of who operates it, it will be a windfall for everyone.

I do not get why so many are so against this and would rather take a bus? There is no guarantee that this SBS will be as successful as MTA or anyone is proclaiming. Let us assume that this goes forward and then there is an accident or other such obstruction like police needing to pull someone over. You think that is not going to delay and cause serious congestion?

In short, I do not believe that the investment will not be anyone best interests - except the "consultants".
Aug. 27, 2015, 9:21 am
Really? from Forest Hills says:
Master Rosen doth protest a bit too loudly.
Aug. 28, 2015, 5 pm
Philip McManus from Queens says:
Select BS, Zero Vision and QueensWay to Nowhere support longer travel times which will isolate, separate and divide Queens. Poor neighborhoods created by City Hall and adjacent neighborhoods are being destroyed by longer travel times and more expensive commuting. We need faster and safer transportation including the QueensRail, more buses, trains, ferries, new subways and commuter railways and maintain our roadways, bridges and tunnels. We also need to stop discriminating and separating Queens communities with toll bridges. It's divides us.
We have gridlock and an overcrowded transit system because City Hall refuses to increase services to the outer boroughs. Select BS will hurt and take away transportation options. We also have gridlock because City Hall steals transportation options including bus stops, travel lanes, left turns, local buses, bus frequency, parking, reasonable speed limits and the QueensRail. How can SBS go 35 % faster when City Hall lowers the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph.
The QueensRail, the old Rockaway Beach Line is only 2 to 6 blocks east and parallel to Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards and took only 43 minutes to travel from Manhattan to west, central and south Queens.
The QueensRail subway option would use the R train to travel from south, central, west Queens to Manhattan to Brooklyn and someday to Staten Island uniting millions of people.
City Hall and Transportation Alternatives are stealing your time, freedom, safety and prosperity.
City Hall can spend $32 billions dollars for railway expansion in Manhattan but the outer boroughs can only get crowded buses, trains and roadways.
Allan Rosen is telling the truth.
City Hall is not giving us more service. City Hall is stealing our services for Manhattan projects. How many times has the subway system broken down in the outer boroughs compared to Manhattan?
We demand transportation equity for all five boroughs. If we are one City why is it that The outer boroughs are getting less services and funding?
Join the Queens Public Transit Committee. We need your help. www.QPTC.org or 718-679-5309.
Don't let City Hall dictate your life. We the people tell the government what we need. Get organized.
Sept. 6, 2015, 3:39 pm
Philip McManus from Queens says:
Dear Friends,

Are you tired of the gridlock and overcrowded buses, trains and roadways?

Rally for more transportation, not less services. Stop Select BS, Zero Vision and QueensWay to Nowhere!

Stop City Hall from stealing our time, freedom, safety and prosperity.

Our "Transportation for Everyone Rally" is on Sunday, September 13 at the corner of Woodhaven Boulevard, Queens Boulevard and Hoffman Drive from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm near the southbound Q 52 & Q 53 Bus Stop. We will have a 3:30 pm photo opportunity for the media.

Will you join us and tell your family and friends to fight for faster and safer transportation?

Please let us know asap if you have more volunteers joining us. RSVP

Thank you to our 22 confirmed rally volunteers.

RSVP
Philip McManus
PhilAMcManus@gmail.com
718-679-5309

Queens Public Transit Committee
Faster transportation will create more social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities.

Facebook:
Rockaway Beach Rail Line
Queens Public Transit
Rockaway Beach Branch

Twitter:
Rockaway Beach Line

Websites:
Rockaway Branch Line blog
Rockaway Branch Line Mission Statement
Queens Public Transit

Please support the following petitions:
Ferry
Queens Rockaway Beach Line
Toll
Train
Q 52 Bus
Station Agents
Metro North Station in Queens
Sept. 6, 2015, 6:18 pm
Mike Scala from Queens says:
Select Bus Service threatens to cause more traffic and congestion on the busiest roadway in our area. It's time for a comprehensive engineering study to determine the feasibility of various QueensRail (the former Rockaway Beach Line) options. Why run everything on the same street when there sits an unused right of way parallel to it?
Sept. 7, 2015, 1:06 am
Queens Resident from Rockaway Peninsula says:
To Really? from Forest Hills:

It is Sir Rosen to you bub! More, you obviously have no reply further meaning that he is correct.

The louder the protest - the more likely he and others shall finally be heard.

This Queensway is the most stupidest idea created by non-politicians yet. And usually such a prize doth go to the politician.

If you or someone else can properly debate this issue. I would like to hear from you as well as Sir Rosen and the many residents and business owners of Rockaway. This isn't just any ordinary issue. Rather this is one that will affect the quality-of-life and our immediate economy for - not years, but - generations to come.

Once and for all I put forth the question to Really? and his/her ilk: Why are you so against this railroad/subway line ? Please give only truthful, factual data (supported with searchable and reliable sources).

I and many other Rockaway residents really want to know.
Sept. 7, 2015, 12:41 pm
Queens Resident from Rockaway Peninsula says:
To Mike Scala:

Although I agree with most of what you said. I am sick of this "we need yet another study" BS.

How much more taxpayer funds have to be pissed in the toilet to reach the same results everyone says to begin with?

Id like to receive $100,000 and I can compose the same dribble in academic form that residents keep or have said already for FREE!!!

Its called an honest opinion!! I can't begin to tell you how many of these "consultants" were paid millions in "fees" to come to the exact same conclusion that I predicted.

Besides, didn't our illustrious governor recently issue a grant to QueensWay folk? Did not our state representative in Albany arrange for Queens College Urban Studies Department to receive a grant of $100K to "study" the effects of revitalizing RBL (Rockaway Beach Line)?

I am familiar with one or two other papers on this subject matter. What were the conclusions and recommendations?

Unless I am incorrect the conclusion was rail - heavy or commuter, doesn't make a difference which - is the winner.
Sept. 7, 2015, 12:52 pm
Philip McManus from Queens says:
Dear Friends,

Join the debate and make a difference. Together, we shall prevail. We will win.

Support the QueensRail and more faster and safer transportation for all.

Join our group of friends and commuters. Stay united.

See link with my comment on Vision Zero.

http://m.nydailynews.com/opinion/nov-10-columbus-vision-zero-michael-flatley-article-1.2428631

All commuters made equal

Rockaway Park: Whether they walk, cycle or drive, commuters are dying because Vision Zero is a total failure. Walkers and bike riders are overconfident and assume those who drive will not make a mistake. All commuters need to share the road, follow the rules and wait for bigger objects to stop before crossing our streets. Government shouldn’t discriminate against one group of commuters and allow preferences for others. Commuters who drive have been cash cows and scapegoats for years. Our unrepresentative government is bloated and corrupt, and steals our time, freedom, safety and prosperity. Vision Zero will be another big-government, revenue-generating, progressive utopian policy that fails. Philip McManus

"One for all, and all for one."

Philip McManus
PhilAMcManus@gmail.com
718-679-5309

Queens Public Transit Committee
Faster and safer transportation will create more social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities.

Facebook:
Rockaway Beach Rail Line
Queens Public Transit
Rockaway Beach Branch

Twitter:
Rockaway Beach Line

Websites:
Rockaway Branch Line blog
Rockaway Branch Line Mission Statement
Queens Public Transit
Jan. 25, 2016, 1:35 am

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