By Patrick Donachie
A proposed Department of Transportation Select Bus Service route planned to travel from Woodhaven to the Rockaways via Cross Bay Boulevard should extend as far into the eastern peninsula as possible, Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Arverne) said. He argued it could alleviate long travel times for Rockaway residents.
“On our transit-starved peninsula, we need to leverage every opportunity we can to improve commutes for Rockaway residents and bringing Select Bus Service down here is one of those opportunities we must take advantage of,” Richards said during a Jan. 6 event held outside the Ocean Bay Houses in the Rockaways. “This is about transit equity and adding extra free time in the day for residents to relax and spend time off of the buses and trains that many Rockaway residents find themselves on for about four hours a day.”
On Tuesday, Community Board 14, which includes much of the Rockaway peninsula, voted to approve the new SBS line.
The proposed route would extend from Woodside and Rego Park down to Rockaway Park and Arverne in the Rockaways. In October 2015, the DOT delayed the implementation of the plan for the SBS, which would travel to both the western and eastern parts of the Rockaways. Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards each span from three to five traffic lanes with a parking lane in each direction, according to the DOT’s site, which the agency says could allow the space for SBS service to enhance bus service.
The proposed route has generated controversy among some residents along the route, who opposed the banning of left turns along Jamaica Avenue and worry about the safety of pedestrians and bus riders at medians that will be constructed in roadways to act as bus stops for the new service.
The DOT’s map of proposed scheduled stops for the new SBS in the eastern Rockaway peninsula extends as far as a stop at Beach 67th Street. There is a planned extension of the Q52 bus beyond that stop, although detailed information on routes and construction were not available. Currently, the only available transit options in eastern Rockaway are local bus routes or the A train service, which Richards said was often overcrowded and unreliable.
“For communities like eastern Rockaway, where there’s limited transportation, we need to ensure that working families who don’t have access to cars have good transportation,” he said. “This is a great first step.”
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona