By Bill Parry
The city is installing countdown clocks at 10 bus stops around Astoria, City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced Monday. The signs will display real-time arrival information for city buses using GPS-based tracking technology called MTA Bus Time, which provides information on an easy-to-see LED display.
Funding for the signs was made possible by borough participatory budgeting where the countdown clocks were the third most popular project.
“Throughout the participatory budgeting process, we heard from community members how important public transit was to them,” Constantinides said. “RTPI bus countdown clocks provide much-needed information to bus riders and help make travel more efficient. Astorians showed how much they wanted these clocks installed in our neighborhood during participatory budgeting. We’re excited to implement this project and help make public transit in Astoria easier and more convenient.”
With a push of a button, the signs also provide audible announcements for riders with visual impairments as an alternative to the LED display.
“The new Bus Time signs coming online here at Steinway Street and 30th Avenue and at other locations give riders valuable information when they are at stops and count on real-time arrival information the most,” DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “We thank Councilman Costa Constantinides for funding these installations and expanding an important technology upgrade so the service improves the transit experience for even more New Yorkers.”
Earlier this month, Constantinides announced he is expanding cleaning services in Astoria with a budget allocation of more than $250,000. Several groups will provide cleaning, weeding, and graffiti-removal through the City Council’s NYC Clean Up initiative.
Broadway between 31st Street and Steinway Street is now being swept regularly. Six new large high-end litter baskets will soon be placed on street corners along Broadway.
“After hearing many concerns from residents about litter on sidewalks along Broadway, I am proud to have made an investment to expand our cleaning services to include this route,” Constantinides said. “Clean, litter-free, and graffiti-free streets help encourage residents and visitors to spend more time outdoors and enjoy our commercial thoroughfares.”
Marie Torniali, the executive director of the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition, was particularly pleased about the expanded graffiti remediation services.
“Graffiti is vandalism that makes a neighborhood look unsafe, unkempt and uncared for,” she said. “Astoria is not such a neighborhood. The graffiti removal program is invaluable in keeping our business districts free of the blight of graffiti, which creates a pleasing environment for shoppers, residents, and businesses.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr