Parking to remain in Flushing, Queensboro Hill in Select Bus Service project

By Madina Toure

The city Department of Transportation announced that it would only pursue travel lanes for buses in Flushing, leaving access to the curb for parking, as part of its proposal to create a Select Bus Service route between downtown Flushing and Jamaica.

The DOT is currently developing bus lane designs based on bus speeds, vehicle speeds and other factors in areas such as Main Street in Flushing, Queensboro Hill and Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica, according to a DOT spokesman.

Bus lanes would still be accessible for right-turning vehicles, vehicles parallel parking and those who are expeditiously picking up or dropping off passengers in locations throughout the city, the spokesman said.

Don Capalbi, president of the Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Association, said a loss of parking would adversely affect the merchant strip that currently exists on Main Street between Booth Memorial Avenue and Horace Harding Expressway as well as the residential community, which consists mostly of one- and two-family homes.

“There’s no way we could survive as a community with the loss of parking,” Capalbi said.

Parking in the neighborhood is limited, Capalbi said.

Yong Fa Supermarket at 59-11 Main St., Napa Auto Repair and Dime Savings Bank share a parking lot.

The parking at Lake Pavilion restaurant at 60-15 Main St. became so packed that they ended up switching to valet service, he said.

Last week, the DOT presented the plan for the Select Bus Service route between Flushing and Jamaica to the business community of Queensboro Hill and downtown Flushing.

State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows), representatives for City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and the board of the Queens Civic Congress were both present at the meeting.

At the end of April, the MTA and the city Department of Transportation announced that they canceled plans for a dedicated bus-only lane on the Q44 bus route in Kew Gardens Hills.

But they noted that plans for a Select Bus Service route between downtown Flushing and Jamaica will proceed, and the SBS will still run through Kew Gardens Hills in mixed traffic.

Koo said his office is working with the DOT and community leaders on alternatives.

“My office has met with the DOT and numerous community members, including the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association, to review various traffic calming measures for downtown Flushing,” he said in a statement. “There are serious concerns that a bus-only lane alongside a parking lane will have negative impacts on traffic and local business in certain areas.”

The DOT and the MTA were scheduled to host an open house to discuss and give feedback on street design and bus stop locations for the Q44 Select Bus Service along Main Street between Jamaica, Flushing and the Bronx Wednesday night.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.