With parking at a premium, Queens lawmakers want city to replace spots lost to Select Bus Service

The Q53 select bus, which runs along Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The city found room on Cross Bay and Woodhaven Boulevards for bus lanes to accommodate Select Bus Service (SBS) — but two local lawmakers say it came at a big price to drivers and business owners.

Last month, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) and MTA launched SBS on the Q52 and Q53 lines along the corridor between Elmhurst and the Rockaways. It came after months of construction, and protests from local residents who believed the SBS would cause more problems than it would solve.

Nearly a month later, state Senator Joseph Addabbo said on Friday, businesses on the boulevards are suffering from the loss of parking spaces because of the dedicated bus lanes and larger bus stops created to accommodate the longer articulated buses now running on the Q52 and Q53 routes.

“This directly impacts the economic health of our community and the local companies that are the foundation of our local business areas,” he said in a statement. “If customers can’t get to these stores owing to an elimination of parking, they will certainly decide to take their business elsewhere — therefore placing our stores in jeopardy.”

To that end, Addabbo and his colleague, Assemblyman Mike Miller, have introduced bills in their respective houses that would require New York City to provide alternative parking spaces that would be eliminated by the creation of SBS routes “or other municipal capital projects.” The legislation would also mandate that the city hold public hearings to gather community input on replacing lost parking spots and consider potential alternative parking areas.

“In addition to the potentially disastrous effect of SBS on local businesses, I am also seeing greater vehicular congestion and am concerned for the safety of pedestrians waiting on medians between traffic lanes,” Addabbo said. “We need to continue urging the city to better address all of these vital issues. When it comes to parking availability, the [de Blasio] administration must be made to understand the need to give back what it takes away.”

Despite the concerns about SBS on Cross Bay and Woodhaven Boulevards, the city plans to expand SBS elsewhere over the next decade. In October, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced “Bus Forward,” a proposal to bring SBS to 21 additional areas in the five boroughs — including eight in Queens.

Miller said the legislation, if passed and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, would “ensure that any future endeavors by New York City which affects parking will require the city to replace these spots at a suitable location in the same community.”