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Transit change comes to south of the boro

By Sadef Ali Kully

After three decades, once again the MTA capital plan has included the renovation of the Jamaica bus depot, Councilmen Richard Donovan (D-Laurelton) and I. Daneek Miller (D-St.Albans) revealed to residents at a town hall meeting last week about transportation improvements and expansions across southeast Queens.

Richards and Miller spoke to more than a hundred town hall visitors about the $32 billion MTA capital program designed to renew, enhance and expand the MTA network.

“In addition to billions of dollars of investment in core city priorities—such as thousands of new subway cars and buses, the Second Avenue Subway Phase 2, Staten Island North Shore Bus Rapid Transit, and major signal improvements to address delays and overcrowding—the plan approved today includes a new $300 million in projects we were proud to secure,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Oct. 28.

The plan includes new subway cars, Staten Island railway cars, commuter railroad cars and buses; improving tracks, signals, power supplies, stations and support structures; renewing and enhancing the MTA’s seven bridges and two tunnels; and communications-based train control on subways for safer and more reliable service.

“It’s no secret that we all live in a transit desert—we have a lot of outstanding issues,” Richards

The MTA capital plan will include expansions of the Q77 that travels through Springfield Gardens to connect with the Q3 via Farmers Boulevard and the Q11 via Woodhaven Boulevard.

The new plan also includes a $300 million renovation of Jamaica bus depot, which has been delayed due to other priorities for the last three decades.

“We deserve a better facility,” Miller said.

Miller, a former MTA bus driver and union leader, said, “We wanted to have a comprehensive package to address this transportation desert.”

Miller said that the current transportation situation in southeast Queens, where residents depend heavily on buses and the Long Island Rail Road, results in many commuters spending over one hour and 30 minutes each day in transit.

“We need to give that back family time,” he said.

Miller is also pushing legislation in the City Council to crack down on illegal commuter vans and to legitimize commuter vans.

At the town hall meeting, the city Department of Transportation, Taxi and Limousine Commission and the MTA were represented and community members had a chance to discuss their issues and ideas one-on-one towards the end.

Residents who live close to the LIRR questioned why the agency was not represented.

“I think there are some people who are missing here,” Shawn Chandler, 44, from Rochdale Village said. “There are so many problems at the rail station near our home. It is a huge issue for our residents,” said Chandler, the chair of the sub-committee of the Transportation Committee for Rochdale Village.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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