By Philip Newman
The message from City Councilman Donovan Richards’s address and cheering transit advocates was clear: It was time to bring super express buses to southern Queens
“Thousands of our Queens commuters need better transit options,” the Laurelton Democrat told a crowd of transit advocates in front of City Hall Tuesday.
“They need Bus Rapid Transit, whose supporters say it is a cost-effective and achievable transit solution to the mobility needs of New York’s transit-starved neighborhoods, particularly those in outer borough Queens, stretching from the Rockaways to northern Queens,” Richards said.
Scores of transit advocates roared their approval.
Richards said the Woodhaven Boulevard Cross Bay Boulevard route, which is congested and dangerous, is in dire need of speedy bus service.
“Around 30,000 residents take buses along this corridor each day,” Richards said. “Because of heavy traffic buses are unreliable on this major north-south corridor.”
Richards said more than 5,000 bus riders had signed a petition requesting BRT service along Woodhaven and Cross Bay corridor.
BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit, is not new to New York City but it would be to Queens. BRT is an international designation for super express buses with passengers paying before boarding and entering through any door to cut down on the time at stops. Ultimately the buses are supposed to be equipped to prolong green traffic lights to avoid stopping between regular stops.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority introduced what it calls Select Bus Service to a Bronx route a number of years ago and since then the MTA has installed some BRT service in all boroughs except Queens.
City Council members Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), Karen Kozlowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) have have signed a letter to the MTA and the city Department of Transportation requesting BRT service along the Woodhaven and Crossw Bay corridor extending to Far Rodckaway,
“Communities like the ones I represent are bursting with potential for growth, but need better access to public transportation to achieve it,” Crowley said. “Expanding high quality BRT throughout Queens will help uplift working families that have struggled for generations in underserved parts of our city.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal or by phone at 718-260-4536.