Boro civic heads debate bus service

Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich looks at a Queens bus map during a meeting of civic leaders attempting to come up with a solution to restore some semblance of bus service to parts of eastern Queens. Photo by Howard Koplowitz
By Howard Koplowitz

About a dozen civic leaders from northeast Queens met in the boardroom of Glen Oaks Village last week to come up with a plan to restore bus service for residents affected by last year’s elimination of the Q79 bus.

“We’re trying to pick up where I think our elected officials have let us down,” said Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich. “I think there are a lot of options and ways to do it.”

Citing budget constraints, the city cut the Q79 route in December. The line was the only north-south route in northeastern Queens and ran along Little Neck Parkway from Floral Park to Little Neck.

Community Board 13 Land Use Committee Chairman and civic leader Richard Hellenbrecht said City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), chairman of the Council Transportation Committee, said he would consider any proposal “as long as it is ‘Don’t return the Q79.’”

“We have to figure out a way to serve Little Neck Parkway,” Friedrich said.

Two proposals came out of the meeting: Have the Q36, which starts in Jamaica near the F train stop at Hillside Avenue, turn up Little Neck Parkway and stop at the Little Neck Long Island Rail Road station, or have the Q36 end at the Long Island Expressway and have the Q12, which runs along Northern Boulevard, meet the Q36 at that point and go north to the LIRR station.

“It’s a plan that I think is workable,” Friedrich said. “We can sell it to” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

James Trent, president of the Queens County Farm Museum and a civic leader, said he liked the first proposal because it would give residents of northeast Queens access to the subway and have full buses as the Q36 goes back to the bus depot.

“It’s insulting to see the buses go by and not pick people up,” he said.

Friedrich suggested that Q36 buses that would run along Little Neck Parkway under the plan operate once an hour, but Trent said the MTA would have a hard time getting patronage back the other way and said such buses should run once every 30 minutes.

Mike Augugliaro, of the Queens Colony Civic Association, said the second option would help serve residents of northeast Queens who were affected by the elimination of the Q79.

“If we meet halfway, at least we’d be helping our neighborhood,” he said.

His wife, Queens Colony Civic Association President Angela Augugliaro, suggested the MTA add more buses to the Q36 if it approves the group’s proposal.

Hellenbrecht said he doubted the Q36 plan “would fly” because it is “essentially replacing exactly what was there before.”

Friedrich said he was “cautiously optimistic” the MTA would approve of either proposal.

“I think we have at least a 50-50 chance to make this happen, if not better,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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