Petition against SBS goes online

By Gabriel Rom

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association is taking their fight against Select Bus Service online. The civic association has created a petition for those opposed to the multi-million dollar project that would install a dedicated bus lane along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards.

“This is your opportunity to put your money where your mouth is,” WRBA spokesman Alex Blenkinsopp said at the group’s monthly meeting Saturday. “Sign the petition if you want alternatives explored before they push for this. We need numbers on our side.”

The petition can be found online at saveourstreets.nyc.

“These changes are unwanted, and they’re being forced on us by City Hall and by city agencies that have repeatedly failed our community,” the petition reads. “The only way to stop it is by telling DOT and MTA that we will not tolerate their Select Bus Service plan that would ruin Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards. Send that message by signing this petition.”

“We cannot give up the fight,” he added.

Elected officials at the meeting, including state Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven), state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), all spoke out against the plan, which has garnered intense and sustained criticism since it was first announced in 2014.

Ulrich was an early supporter, but what he described as poor communication from the DOT has turned him into a skeptic.

“Partial implementation of SBS has been a disaster,” Ulrich said. “We need to come up with a better plan. It’s us vs. $100 million. Who is going to win?”

The chronology of the project is divided into two phases—short-term and long-term.

Phase 1 will include street resurfacing, roadway and pedestrian safety improvements, bus lanes and transit signal priority and the installation of median bus stops along the 1.3-mile corridor. It will begin in the spring of 2017.

DOT hopes the full roll-out of SBS, which will extend past the Rockaway Boulevard-Liberty Avenue intersection deep into the Rockaway peninsula, will be shaped by the community response to the short-term project. The long-term project, which does not have a completion date, will include new and extended bus medians and additional medians at already existing bus stops along Woodhaven Boulevard.

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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