After near-record snowfall pummeled Queens last weekend, causing travel problems across the borough, one local politician believes snow could potentially cause havoc for pedestrians and bus riders in the MTA and Department of Transportation (DOT) Select Bus Service (SBS) plan, especially on the proposed medians.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo took to Twitter on Wednesday, Jan. 27, stating that he does not feel the proposed medians in the SBS plan would be clear of snow after a snowfall, making it more difficult for riders to board the bus.
“So now I’m convinced, that the proposed #SBS medians would not be cleared of snow or debris for the bus riders,” he tweeted.
“Ever since the DOT and MTA proposed their plans for the SBS including the medians … I’ve been opposed to the medians. I have always advocated for the bus stops to be on the curb,” Addabbo said in a phone interview with the Ridgewood Times. “We saw that because of the slow reaction the administration had to snow removal in Queens, I have no confidence that these medians would be clear in that kind of snowfall. If you keep people safe on the curb, at least they have a safe haven on the curb. I plan to bring up this issue once again during the DOT and MTA open houses.”
Addabbo is concerned that the failure to remove snow from the proposed medians would put pedestrians and bus riders at risk.
“It’s all about pedestrian safety at this point. I have no faith that pedestrians would be safe on these medians,” Addabbo said. “I appreciate DOT and MTA hearing our concerns.”
The Woodhaven Resident Block Association (WRBA), which has been against the proposed SBS plan, feels Addabbo made a good point and agrees that median bus stops would be a problem, especially after snow.
“I wholeheartedly agree with Senator Addabbo. Blocked medians at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard whenever there has been snowfall has been a perennial problem,” said Alex Blenkinsopp, director of communications for WRBA. “The people of Woodhaven have known this is a problem for years. This is a significant part of the widespread opposition to the proposal to put bus riders on the median.”
Despite concerns about the SBS plan, members of the Riders Alliance, an organization of subway and bus riders, have faith that the proposed medians would be clear of snow and help expedite bus service along the route.
“I believe snow removal will be more efficient when bus stops are moved away from the curbs. The curbs always have the worst snow piles from sidewalk cleanup and snow removed from cars,” said Alice Ostrowsky, Riders Alliance member and Rockaway Park resident. “I think SBS could benefit riders, pedestrians and car traffic by keeping traffic moving smoothly. The plows always clear the middle traffic lanes first. Moving the buses off the service roads would help drivers who need to move parked cars. However, with safety for all in mind, I want MTA to be held accountable for clear pathways for bus riders and pedestrians alike now and under the proposed SBS plan.”