Mayor announces SBS plan will proceed in Woodhaven

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the much debated Select Bus Service for Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards would proceed for Spring.
TimesLedger Newspapers
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The introduction of Select Bus Service to Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards has been hotly contested by the residents of southern Queens since the city Department of Transportation announced the service change in December 2015. Mayor Bill de Blasio, however, officially announced the launch would proceed this spring.

The detractors have been outspoken in their opposition to the plan, claiming the reconfiguration of corridors and stops is dangerous for riders and will worsen already hemorrhaging traffic conditions through the neighborhood. But the mayor has included the introduction of the bus service and the subsequent rebuilds to curbs and bus stops in his Vision Zero initiative following the winter thaw.

“Dangerous street have to change,” de Blasio said. “We want to get the word out: We’re moving lanes, adding new space for pedestrians and making it safer to cross intersecti­ons–all to keep your family safe. These changes have helped make each of the last three years under Vision Zero safer at last.”

Mayor de Blasio announced the SBS plan would launch would proceed as part of a series of improvements across the city as the weather warms.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at a news conference March 21 that the SBS plan might fall victim to a cut in funding from the federal government as a result of the President Donald Trump’s budget proposal.

“I think there are a couple of areas that the president’s budget singles out,” Trottenberg said. “One is the TIGER grants that as the mayor said have been a source of support for Vision Zero and other projects here in New York. The second is what is called the New Starts programs, which is new capital grants, and as you have seen in the news, that potentially could affect the Gateway Tunnel, the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway, and the bigger capital buildout of our Woodhaven Boulevard Select Bus Service project.”

The route will 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 the flow of traffic.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) has been active in opposing the plan alongside his constituents.

“My district needs to see an improvement in transportation opportunities. However, the plans being put forth by MTA and NYC Department of Transportation create many short and long-term issues for my constituen­ts,” Addabbo said. “I firmly oppose plans for Select Bus Service along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards until all issues, including those involving safety and local business, are addressed.”

Resident Charles Jusino, who spoke at an August demonstration against SBS, 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.

Philip McManus, chairman of the Queens Public Transit Committee, said the 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’s failure to remove snow around the current stop during Snowstorm Jonas.

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

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

Patrick says:
How dare this mayor ignore what the people say the people should sue to stop it!
April 4, 2017, 4:40 pm
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
Now De Blasio is trying to make it appear that SBS on Woodhaven is a Vision Zero initiative when two years ago DOT told the communities that SBS and Vision Zero are two separate programs and are totally unrelated.

SBS on Woodhaven has been filled with deception. Find out the truth. Watch the presentation that caused CB 14 to unanimously vote against this plan.
April 4, 2017, 5:41 pm
Rick Horan from Rockaway says:
This guy doesn't even pretend that it's about what the people want.
April 4, 2017, 5:54 pm
Danny Ruscillo from Rockaway Park Queens, NY says:
Mayor de Blasio just call it as it is ZERO VISION! So much wrong with SBS but you just don't care whatsoever. Safety Mr. Mayor safety, how can you let the public the Bus ridership stand on medians that are totally dangerous. Remember this comment and hope it don't come back to hit you. Also Traffic lanes that you take away from here are definitely going to cause big time congestion, but like I said you don't care whatsoever. What a shame that's all I can say.
April 4, 2017, 6:03 pm
Patrick says:
To Allen
Didn't he intertwine them recently sbs and vision zero?
April 4, 2017, 6:22 pm
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
The first I heard that SBS was connected to Vision Zero was at the last DOT community meeting I attended about a year ago when DOT stated they are both part of the Complete Streets Program. When they were asked why the speed limit was lowered from 35 to 30 mph and why would that make the buses move faster, the answer was the lowering of the speed limit was Vision Zero which has nothing to do with SBS.

Now that they are one program I bet the speed limit will be lowered again to 25 mph (like was done on Queens Blvd in the name of Vision Zero and safety) when SBS takes effect.

So the result is spending millions of dollars for buses that can only travel at 25 mph when they used to travel at 35 mph and that supposed to make bus travel faster.

Also see these two posts:
April 4, 2017, 7 pm
Marty Ingram from Breezy Point says:
We need a balanced and integrated transportation plan that addresses all modes of transportation. SBS focuses only on the bus mode of transportation at the expense of other modes, specifically automobiles and trucks. SBS is a mistake.
April 4, 2017, 7:30 pm
Eugene Falik from Far Rockaway says:
So what is the truth? Is this about SBS? Or is this about making it more difficult for motorists? Or is it about Zero Vision? Or is it simply a plan to kill and maim Queens residents by having them stand in the middle of the street?

I propose that our esteemed District Attorney, Richard Brown, bring the architects of this plan, Eric Beaton and Ryan Russo before a grand jury and investigate them for practicing engineering without a license.
April 4, 2017, 8:37 pm
Steve from Howard Beach says:
SBS is going to be one big failure. As far as deBlasio, since when has that left-wing loony done anything for the benefit of the people? All he's good at is what Democrats do best -demagoguery, race baits, liberal social programs.
April 4, 2017, 8:48 pm
Madeline Lovallo from Howard Beach says:
Anyone who lives in the area of south Queens where our very uncaring mayor wants to stick S.B.S. Knows this will make our streets and our lives one big horrible mess.
First of all we have a tiny bus service other than rush hour, our busses run every 40 - 45 minutes. During rush hour, our buses are never at a standstill they move smoothly along to the train station where the bus riders have a very short ride. Why would we need our lanes and our bus stops taken away? There is absolutely no reason to waste billions and cripple the traffic.
Our area is not Manhattan or Brooklyn. There the streets are organized and are like a grid. Many streets run parrell to the street which has S.B.S. The traffic can take other streets to get to a main area. We do not have that here. There is only one way, Crossbay Woodhaven Blvd. When the traffic comes to a standstill, and of course it will everyone will suffer. Picture all those giant vans, flatbed trucks, large vans, medium sized vans, UPS trucks, other trucks and all the cars stuffed into two or less lanes. What a horror.
This area is nothing like Manhattan or Brooklyn. There people live in big apartment houses. The population is one hundred times or more larger than here. Many people don't have cars and use the buses to get around. The busses run every five to ten minutes.
Not so here. Most people use their cars. We don't have large apartment buildings. We have much less population. The buses here are few and far between. Why do we need something like S.B.S.? Why should we be torchered just so our very uncaring mayor can think he accomplished his vision zero which harms us so much. We also know how dangerous S.B.S. Will be. Buying tickets on the street then walking out to a big cement block which cuts into another traffic lane will be so dangerous and so stupid.
We live here, we must fight S.BS.
April 4, 2017, 10:59 pm
Philip McManus from Queens says:
It's time to organize and replace this undemocratic Mayor. Join the campaign to get rid of Mayor Gridlock and Tickets. If you are stuck in an overcrowded bus or train or gridlock and get an unfair ticket blame DeBlasio. He takes away traffic lanes, bus stops, left turns, parking, lowers speed limits and demonizes your family and friends who are forced to drive. We need to expand our subways and railways, our buses and ferries and reopen unused traffic lanes and railways including the famous QueensRail and Montauk lines.
Help us get rid of Mayor Chaos at or call 718-679-5309. Join the Queens Public Transit Committee and stop Mayor Zero Vision-Select BS. Everyone is stuck in more traffic because of Mayor DeBozo. One Term Bill is a disaster.
April 4, 2017, 11:20 pm
ChrisC says:
Why are you idiots against this SBS plan? What is your proposal to get transit out of congestion if not this? If you have a better proposal, give it.
April 4, 2017, 11:42 pm
ChrisC says:
@Madeline Lovallo:

You are completely contradicting yourself. You say you don't have any buses, and that they only run every 40-45 minutes. Well, this plan would give you more buses by allowing the buses to run faster, which also means more frequently. But you complain that you don't want it.

You're making no sense at all.
April 4, 2017, 11:45 pm
Matt W from The Raunt says:
SBS is dangerous, who's the genius that decided to make people wait on the median in the middle of traffic on Woodhaven blvd. ? Who ever felt safe standing on a median in traffic on Woodhaven blvd? Now you are taking away TWO lanes of traffic for motorists, AND they can't make a left hand turn ? MORE dangers for the pedestrian. Poorly engineered, guarantee'd for failure. They'll destroy the road, then run out of contruction money that's needed for another project (after DeBlasio loses the election), and it will sit that way in construction LIMBO, with cones and barriers and dirt/mud flooded roads for 6 or 7 years till the city gets some grant money to fix it. Then they'll just scrap the idea and make it 4 lanes !
April 5, 2017, 4:39 am
pete from rockaway beach & delray beach says:
Let the bus be free. Poor senator addabbo and the community board and other civics have been Studying the dangerous & perennially backed up Woodhaven Blvd for years, no decades, and nothing's ever been done. In walks deblasio (a guy I don't really support at all) with a plan that seems to be working on clogged Bronx and Brooklyn thoroughfares...and these same pols & civics are condemning his plan. Free the whale, lets have improvements!!!.. PJS
April 5, 2017, 7:28 am
pete, again says:
Very sorry...should have mentioned the horribly sequenced red-light protocol on crossbay/woodhaven that - if set properly - would immediately reap great rewards for drivers, buses and pedestrians...this is an easy & common-sense fix...but, nothing done...PJS
April 5, 2017, 7:51 am
Toby Sheppard Bloch from Glendale says:
I live a block from Woodhaven and ride the 52/53 every day, and these changes can't come quickly enough. Grateful leaders in City Hall and at DOT are following through on their commitments to bring these much needed improvements to Woodhaven Blvd. Bus riders are about 1/3 of the users on Woodhaven--it makes perfect sense to allocate 1/4 of the roadway to them.

I'm hoping this round of changes includes eliminating some of the dangerous and chaotic left turns, including the southbound Woodhaven left onto Union, which not only regularly sees serious collisions, but effectively limits Woodhaven to two lanes as vehicles waiting to make the left block traffic.
April 5, 2017, 8:39 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
Toby, where are you getting your misinformation from? Bus riders are not 1/3 of the users on Woodhaven. It's more like under 20 percent. If you are correct, there are about 100,000 people in cars and trucks daily. The number is more like 150,000. DOT's vehicular counts show about. 50,000 vehicles crossing all major intersections daily. So for the total number to be 100,000, each car would have to carry only one passenger and the average car would have to travel half the entire length of Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard.

That is clearly not what is happening. Probably about 20 percent are traveling only for a few blocks which greatly increases the volume of cars. You don't want to count those cars? Fine. Then subtract the bus passengers traveling under a half mile just to get to the subway also. Your 33,000 daily bus passengers would drop significantly to 20,000, 25,000?

Then what is your ratio of those in cars to those in buses? Fair is fair.

Besides, other than rush hours, bus lanes will not make the buses go faster anyway. And when DeBlasio lowers the speed limit to 25 mph, they will even go slower.
April 5, 2017, 2:49 pm
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
To Chris C.

We did give a better proposal. Go to and read the presentation to CB 14.
April 5, 2017, 2:50 pm
Alexis Smallwood from Far Rockaway says:
The MTA is the devil.
April 5, 2017, 10:56 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. says:
Realistically: Phase I of this project - It will happen through implementation and operation this Fall; Phase II - It will not possibly happen because of the possible federal funding cuts by the Trump administration. The capital and construction portion of this project is relying of federal New Starts funds. Without it, phase II is scrapped. Then again, NYC will find other ways to fully fund the project without the Fed's help.
April 7, 2017, 1:04 pm
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
There has to be some capital construction costs in Phase 1, otherwise the median bus stops will be unprotected and on narrow islands without any fencing which is unacceptable and dangerous. Overhead signage also involves capital construction.
April 7, 2017, 3:07 pm

Comments closed.


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