New Route Welcomed But Board 2 Seeks More
While Community Board 2 lauded a plan for a new bus route connecting Long Island City with northern Brooklyn, they told officials at the board’s Thursday, Jan. 3 meeting at Sunnyside Community Services that more service is needed.
Joseph Raskin and Dorian Statom of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) unveiled the planned route connecting the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfronts to Long Island City.
The route’s southern terminus is at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza, underneath the bridge and connecting to the Marcy Avenue J/M/Z stop. The bus route goes along the Williamsburg waterfront (northbound buses travel along Kent Avenue, while southbound buses use Wythe Avenue).
In Greenpoint, the buses use Franklin Avenue before connecting to McGuiness Boulevard and the Pulaski Bridge (eastbound buses use Freeman Street; westbound buses use Green Street). Heading northbound, the new bus would travel up Jackson Avenue before terminating at Court Square, circling around 44th Drive.
Raskin noted that MTA officials have been running test buses along the proposed route and have determined that it is a feasible route.
“It’s amazing to see what’s going on … with all the developments going on along the line,” he noted.
Statom noted that in addition to helping to increase service in areas with increasing population, the line will connect bus and train lines in the area.
A public hearing on the proposal would take place in March, probably in Greenpoint, according to Raskin. If all goes well, the new bus can begin service in September.
The locations of the individual bus stops are “open for conversation,” Raskin noted, although MTA protocol is to place stops approxi- mately every three blocks or every 750 feet. Buses would run every 30 minutes.
The route originally was not designed to travel into Queens; according to Statom, financial considerations prevent the MTA from extending service to Queens Plaza.
“We can’t really extend it any farther,” he stated.
While Board 2 welcomed the new service, Conley noted that service for the Long Island City waterfront has yet to be implemented.
“Brooklyn has waterfront service (or proposed waterfront service), and we’re going to need it, and the MTA has promised to go back and study it,” he said.
Raskin told the crowd that the MTA is aware of the concerns of residents living in that neighborhood.
In addition, several board members clamored for local bus service through the Queens Midtown Tunnel. While 23 express bus routes cross the tunnel into Manhattan, the MTA has been reluctant to add a local route.
Conley and others claimed that a local route would alleviate the pain residents of Long Island City feel when the 7 train does not cross the East River.
“We remain hopeful,” said Conley.
Board 2 voted in support of the proposal, with the caveat that the MTA come back to Board 2 to determine the location of bus stops.
New pub owners visit
Dan Connor and James Jacobson, the new owners of Donovan’s Pub in Woodside, asked Board 2 to reconsider an ordinance prohibiting parking along Roosevelt Avenue between 51st and Woodside between 4 and 7 p.m., claiming that the donovan family (the bar’s previous owners) felt a “significant negative impact” from the lack of parking.
“I’m pretty sure any benefits that were sought after when the law was implemented is heavily outweighed by the loss to businesses,” said Connor.
Conley concurred, calling the regulation “antiquated” and noting that the advisory body has discussed the topic with the Department of Transportation.
“What happens at 50th Street, from our office, we see the tow trucks line up at 3:55 [p.m.] every day, and then they start going down the street like a parade towing cars,” he added. “It’s ludicrous.”
Board 2’s Bette Cassaro disagreed, stating that the issue is not the ordinance but the signage.
(Editor’s Note: for more information on the new ownership at Donovan’s Pub, see the story on Page 1.)
New look at LGA College
Shahir Erfan of LaGuardia Community College announced that the university plans to rehabilitate and renovate the former site of the Sunshine Biscuit factory and the International Design Center of New York in Long Island City at 29-10 Thomson Ave.
The university purchased the building two years ago.
The renovation is designed to increase the amount of light coming into the building. In addition, the IDCNY sign atop the building will be replaced by a sign advertising La- Guardia College.
According to documents on the college’s website, the renovation will cost $7 million.
– In his report to Board 2, Conley announced a Jan. 16 meeting at P.S.1 in Hunters Point do address street cleaning regulations and a push for sidewalk cafés in the area.
He also announced that the Sunnyside Arch has been relit, due to the efforts of the city Economic Development Corporation.
– Board 2 is pushing for legislation that would require community board approval for holiday lightning in public areas as well as for the placement of public street furniture, Conley stated.
– Board 2 approved a Landmarks Preservation Commission request by the owners of a home on 40-17 48th St. in the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District for a renovation of the interior and exterior, in addition to the installation of a heating/air condition system.
– Patrick O’Brien of the City Services Committee informed residents that Show Palace, the adult establishment at 42-50 21st St. in Long Island City that has been unsuccessful in repeated attempts to obtain a liquor license, is now suing the State Liquor Authority.
Board 2 usually meets on the first Thursday of every month at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th St.