Residents bring list of complaints to Jamaica transit study

Joe Moretti (c), a Jamaica blogger, points out to DOT officials the area in his neighborhood where large trucks are a nuisance.
Photo by Sadef Kully
By Sadef Ali Kully

The city Department of Transportation’s first public meeting on the Jamaica Transportation Study brought in a full house of community members and elected officials’ representatives with a long list of complaints.

The traffic study is designed to examine how to regulate congestion in the busy transit hub.

The study consists of three parts focused on neighborhoods in and around South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans and Rochdale Village.

The Dec. 2 public forum was called to identify issues such as pedestrian and bicyclist safety, traffic and congestion, parking, truck movement and loading, transit, quality of life and environmental factors.

“Jamaica has always been recognized as a growth center and the input we receive tonight will literally write the next chapter of this study phase,” Department of Transportation Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said.

Hollis resident Sharon Linder, who has lived in the area for 63 years, came with a prepared letter addressed to each of her elected officials in her district as well as the borough president.

“I not a community activist or anything. I am a regular citizen who is concerned,” Linder said. “My mama left me this home and I want to leave it to my daughter when my time comes. But if this area continues to go downhill, she won’t want our family home.”

Linder wanted a larger police presence at both transit hubs, Parsons Boulevard and Sutphin Boulevard stations, as well as more police attention to such issues as vehicles parked in the bus lane, illegal dollar cabs, double-parked commuter vans and criminal activity.

Each table was devoted to a transportation issue, such as traffic, pedestrian safety and trucks, where a designated DOT representative would sit with community members and pinpoints problem sites on a large map.

Michael Griffith, who is leading the study, said all the information gathered from the community will help identify problems. The data will be collected and then observed by DOT officials at the specific site over several months before the conclusion of the study, which is tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2017.

Residents like Joe Moretti, founder of Cleanup Jamaica Now blog, had a range of issues they wanted to see addressed, but the biggest issue for Moretti is large trucks and private waste trucks coming down his street at all hours of the day.

“Instead of the trucks going around on Hillside and traveling down a main street to get to Jamaica Avenue, they take shortcuts into residential streets where they have no business being, ” he said.

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

More from Around New York