NE Queens leaders wary of Select Bus Service proposal

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Two northeast Queens lawmakers have expressed concerns about a proposal for a Select Bus Service route in and between Flushing and Jamaica.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city Department of Transportation are proposing a Flushing to Jamaica Select Bus Service connecting three corridors: Main Street, Kissena and Parsons boulevards and 164th Street in andbetween Flushing and Jamaica.

City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and state Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) said a travel or parking lane could possibly be eliminated to accommodate the service, hurting motorists, residents and small businesses.

They met with the DOT and the MTA last Friday, where the agencies updated them on the proposal. The lawmakers expressed support for ideas such as offboard ticketing, synchronizing lights and reconfiguring left-turn signals.

“The final proposal could include a menu of strategies for improving bus service and we are only opposed to the closing of a travel or parking lane,” Lancman said.

Simanowitz said other parts of the proposal such as on-street fare collection and displays indicating bus times do not necessitate SBS.

“The rest of the aspects of a BRT proposal are all legitimate things, but things they could be doing anyway,” he said.

SBS is the city’s version of Bus Rapid Transit, an ameliorated bus service that provides fast and frequent service on bus routes that typically have a large number of riders.

The project is currently in the design phase, according to a DOT spokeswoman. The DOT, which plans to meet with other stakeholders in the coming weeks, has held one public workshop and intends to hold another soon.

In a statement, the BRT for NYC Steering Committee, an advocacy coalition, said bus riders in eastern Queens need better transit options.

“By reducing congestion, speeding up travel times, and making busy avenues safer … BRT is a win-win for riders, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike,” a BRT for NYC spokeswoman said.

The MTA and the DOT conducted studies in 2006 and 2009, which identified Main Street and Kissena and Parsons boulevards between Flushing and Jamaica as corridors that could benefit from SBS.

According to the studies, bus trips on the Q20A/B and Q44LTD on Main Street as well as the Q25LTD and Q34 on Kissena and Parsons boulevards were described as long and slow, affecting roughly 68,000 daily raiders. The agencies also formed a Community Advisory Committee to offer guidance on the project.

But in a letter dated Jan. 8 to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and MTA President Carmen Bianco, 11 Queens lawmakers expressed support for the proposal.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said SBS would connect two of Queens’ busiest business districts and bring more customers to area businesses.

“Councilman Lancman’s specific concerns regarding dedicated bus lanes show a fundamental lack of understanding of the benefits of SBS and depriving 48,000 daily bus customers of faster, more reliable service would simply be unconscion­able,” Ortiz said.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) hailed the proposal as good for riders.

“Bus rapid transit is a cost-effective and achievable transit solution that would provide better service to riders while improving safety for drivers and pedestrians,” she said.

John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, said bus riders have been eagerly awaiting better service.

“The evidence shows that these improvements make the streets safer for pedestrians, help bus riders get to their destination faster and it doesn’t have a negative impact on traffic flow for everybody else,” Raskin said.

The DOT and the MTA were scheduled to host a form this week at Townsend Harris HS in Flushing to discuss the first round of designs for the Q44-Main Street corridor.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

JT from Harlem says:
Better bus service helps people who keep driving too - it gets other cars off the street, reducing congestion.
Jan. 22, 2015, 1:24 pm
Gm from flushing says:
You all ready have express & local service on main from downtown flushing to jamaica. Theres just not enough busses on line during school hrs in morning you have at least 50 schoolkids waiting on archer & Suptin weekdays. When a bus does arrive its full present format ok just not enough busses .just add busses in am starting 7am. Maybe starting busses at Archer & suphtin you re just looking for a way to justify raising fares ps put back the bus from QC to QB &union Gm.
Jan. 22, 2015, 5:23 pm
Guest from NYC says:
I would like to see real BRT here. Come on electeds, most of us don't drive. This also reduces congestion because it would make the buses faster, which could attract those that drive.
Jan. 22, 2015, 10:50 pm
Guest from NYC says:
"A controversial proposal would bring Select Bus Service to three corridors between Flushing and Jamaica."
Nobody is proposing 3 SBS corridors between Flushing and Jamaica. I don't know why 164th Street is even shown on the map, because the Q65 is not part of this. First, the Q44 Limited, then a year later, the Q25 Limited. Never the Q65, or the Q20, or the Q34.
Jan. 23, 2015, 7:53 am
Michael A. from Kew Gardens Hills says:
There is zero need for a dedicated bus lane on Main Street for the 25 block low-denisty RESIDENTIAL stretch of Main Street that passes through Kew Gardens Hills (from the high 70's to and after Queens College). Because traffic (including ALL bus traffic) ALREADY moves at or above the speed limit (20MPH ) for this section of Main Street. Blindly pushing for a bus lane surgery for the section of Main Street that traverses KGH is very short-sighted and counter-productive for bus advocates because it exposes a sad truth that many (though not all) SBS bus lane advocates are agenda-driven: they are anti-car and they are irrationally disdainful of the families who live in these low density residential communities that have no parking lots and mom-and-pop stores lining their short low density commercial streets. Again, Main street traffic ALREADY MOVES 20MPH for the stretch of Main Street through Kew Gardens Hills. What will bus lanes add? Are the busses hoping to travel 30MPH ?!?

The DOT data show a need for better light timing on Main Street, and perhaps longer bus stops.
But the DOT speed data show zero need for a bus lane (which robs residents and mom-and-pop businesses of scarce parking, and drivers of a traffic lane for no reason).

The Bus lane proponents would have more credibility if they had the honesty in them to admit that, in some places bus lanes make no sense. Like, for example Main Street in KGH where a bus lane WILL NOT speed up the (already 20MPH in KGH) part of the long ride from downtown Flushing to downtown Jamaica, and will only make a couple of thousand New Yorkers who till now had no contact with SBS bus lanes, become people who hate SBS bus lanes.

Fix the light timing. Don't put in SBS for the sake of the "dogmatic religion of the holy bus lane".

Michael A.
KGH resident since 1970
Jan. 25, 2015, 3:56 pm
Fredrick Wells from Laurelton says:
As a customer who travels to/from The Bronx on the Q44, I must say that the Queens segment of the route appears to be set with all of the SBS stations in place and which LIMITED bus stops will be eliminated.
Regarding the actual bus routes and the completed corridors, there is a major need for increased service on all 3 routes (the Q20/Q44, Q25/Q34 and Q65 - especially on the Q25, Q44 and Q65) along with monitoring of each individual SBS route (when the service is in place) for a possible SUPER SBS service, which may allow route extensions and more coverage.

Regarding the Q44, it is the Bronx segment that comes to mind as the current Q44 LIMITED is a Local in The Bronx, along with the fact that artics are in place on the route, there is a major need to beef up service just to effectively operate SELECT BUS SERVICE. Since the Q20A/Q20B are the Local variants to the Q44, it is very impossible to operate a Q44 Local spanning The Bronx Zoo and Downtown Flushing, yet it may be possible to either start up new Bronx to Queens routes that travel along the Q44 corridor, or extend or reroute some of the Bronx routes to provide the coverage for the Q44 in the Bronx during SELECT BUS SERVICE Hours.

The Q25 has narrow street issues in College Point, however can operate SELECT BUS SERVICE provided that the headways are increased to 5 minutes throughout the day, 4 minutes at Rush Hours and 6 minutes during Evenings. The Q34 may be there to assist, however the Q25 must stand out as the higher frequency route to operate SBS.

The Q65 should be combined with the Q5 (Merrick Blvd) project allowing the Q5 SELECT BUS SERVICE to run from Flushing to Green Acres, even though this is a MTA Bus Company/MTA NYC Transit agency issue. What would happen with this is the Q65 Local will continue as the College Point to Jamaica link route with headways of 8 minutes at Rush Hours, 10 minutes during Middays and Weekends, 12 minutes during Evenings and Hourly during Late Nights. The Q5 Local will continue as the Jamaica to Rosedale/Green Acres route with a slight change. All of the trips beginning and terminating at 233rd Street/Merrick Blvd (231st Merrick Blvd) begin and terminate at Rosedale LIRR Station for a general 6 minute headway during Rush Hours, and 12 minute headway from Green Acres. Middays, Q5 will arrive every 7.5 minutes, and Evenings it will arrive every 10 minutes with trips alternating to/from Green Acres Mall. During Late Nights, all trips begin and terminate at Rosedale LIRR Station. On Weekends, all trips operate to/from Green Acres Mall with exception to Late Nights at headways of 7 to 8 minutes.

Regarding SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE, this can be put in place when SELECT BUS SERVICE is completed on each route, and allows the extension of certain bus routes for more area and network coverage. As with the Woodhaven Blvd project, there are talks on extending the Q53 to Breezy Point, bringing a bus service to that area of Queens, to LaGuardia Airport (along with the Q52), and to Penn Station via the Long Island Expressway, however the only way that is successful is with a SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE (similar to the former Q53 EXPRESS which was under Triboro Coach Corp). SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE on the Q44 will allow that route to extend as far as Fordham Plaza - designed to directly link with MetroNorth trains, and bypass the regular Q44 SELECT BUS SERVICE in Queens with stops at 14th Avenue, Bayside Avenue, 39th Avenue, Horace Harding Expressway, Jewel Avenue, Queens Blvd/Main Street, Hillside Avenue/Sutphin Blvd, Suthphin/Archer, Parsons/Archer and Merrick/Archer.

Also, SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE will allow run times between Jamaica and Flushing to decrease from 35 to 45 minutes to approximately 25 to 30 minutes (equal to the amount of time it takes the (E) Express to rin from Jamaica Center to Lexington Avenue). This means a 55 to 65 minute trip from Jamaica to The Bronx Zoo on the Q44 rather than 75 to 95 minutes, and a 75 minute trip from Jamaica to Fordham Plaza on the Q44 SUPER.
Feb. 19, 2015, 7:54 am
Philip McManus from Queens says:
Dear Friends,

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

The Queens Public Transit Committee is having a rally against Select BS, Zero Vision and QueensWay to Nowhere!

We support faster and safer transportation including the QueensRail, citywide expansion of ferry, bus, train and roadway services.

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 if you have more volunteers joining us. RSVP

We need to rally and tell the world Select BS, Zero Vision, QueensWay to Nowhere, exclusive bike lanes and bus lanes divide, separate and isolate People and Money and stop City Hall from discriminating and dividing commuters and the outer boroughs.

NYC is Five Boroughs and not just the lower half of Manhattan.

Give us back the QueensRail, stolen bus routes, ferry service, travel lanes, free bridges, left turns, our speed limits, local bus frequency, faster railways and reopen and maintain our roadways closed to bike, bus lanes and paint.

The outer boroughs demand EQUALITY and COMMON SENSE!

Philip McManus

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

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Please support the following petitions:
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Metro North Station in Queens
Aug. 29, 2015, 12:42 am
Alexis says:
Just install trolleys !!

They work basically the same but better and with less gas/contamination.
Oct. 8, 2015, 7:08 pm

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