Pols to hold hearing on restoring public transit in parts of borough

By Kelsey Durham

Two state lawmakers from Queens are gearing up to address the transportation woes that constituents in the outer parts of the borough say they have suffered through for too long.

State Assembly members Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Beach) and Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) announced this week plans to host a hearing next month in hopes of bringing more transportation options to neighborhoods in the northeastern and southern parts of the borough, including Fresh Meadows and Rockaway.

Goldfeder and Rozic have partnered with the Committee on Corporations to host the Aug. 7 public meeting to discuss how to help what the lawmakers called “transit-starved communities” in Queens as well as in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

“This is an opportunity for transit riders to share detailed information about the challenges they face due to limited bus and subway service,” Rozic said. “Queens has been a transit desert for far too long and it is time changes are made so that residents can be better served.”

Rozic, who represents an Assembly district that does not contain a single subway station, has been working to allocate funding from the state to conduct studies and research that will reinforce the need for more transportation in her constituents’ neighborhoods.

In January, Rozic joined civic leaders and other elected officials and asked the federal government to provide the Metropolitan Transportation Authority with funding that would allow it to restore bus service to Douglaston, a neighborhood that residents say has been ignored by public transportation for years.

Rozic also worked with state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) to announce in April that the state had allocated $500,000 for a yearlong bus restoration study that would look at options for bringing more bus service to every neighborhood in Avella’s 11th Senate District.

Goldfeder represents the southern Queens neighborhoods of Rockaway and Howard Beach, an area that recently criticized the city’s decision to cut funding for the Rockaway Ferry beginning in October, stating that the ferry is one of the area’s only reliable source of public transportation.

He recently partnered with the Queens College Urban Studies Department to conduct a study on revitalizing the Rockaway Beach rail line, a study that is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

The assemblyman said the upcoming hearing, which will be held in Manhattan, will give residents and business owners a chance to express concerns over how a lack of public transportation affects them.

“In today’s difficult economy, our residents and small businesses rely on affordable and accessible transportation to carry out their everyday lives,” Goldfeder said. “I have been a strong advocate for better transit options for Queens residents and I will continue to fight until all our families are provided the transportation we deserve.”

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cnglocal.com.

More from Around New York