By Mark Hallum
A Fordham University freshman and Little Neck resident is aiming to bring his proposal for improved bus service to fruition after presenting his case to Community Board 11 this week.
Stephan Popa drafted the “Little Neck LiNK” to extend Q36 bus service from its terminus in Glen Oaks to the Little Neck LIRR station while increasing frequency of service so commuters can make their connection to the LIRR without having to rush.
“Under current operation, Q36 buses turn left at 41st Avenue and a right on 249th Street and a right on 40th Avenue,” Popa explained. “This is a problem for obvious reasons, because if it goes around the entire loop, it’s a disadvantage for commuters. So my proposal is to turn it back around on 40th Avenue and terminate immediately. This allows for quicker termination time for people to exit the bus and get to the Long Island Rail Road. This means there will be less running on the street, less trips and falls and most importantly, less ducking under the railroad gate, which is especially dangerous.”
Popa’s proposal would also move the footbridge spanning tracks of the LIRR station closer to the vehicle crossing at the western end of each platform.
The current bridge, replaced in December 2016 after the old one had reached the end of its feasible life, is situated in the middle of the platforms. As commuters arrive on the south side of the Port Washington line, they often race to meet their Penn Station-bound trains, dangerously crossing while the arms are down.
MTA police have been known to patrol the crossing, issuing criminal summons to people who duck under the arms as trains approach the station.
But safer, better service is not the only goal for the proposal. Popa hopes the plan could link people to community centers, businesses and events, in addition to getting cars off the road.
“Adding Q36 Saturday service… would increase connections between residents, businesses and cultural events,” Popa said. “Increasing service around the elderly and young people will make both demographics less likely to own or drive cars to easily tap into community resources, which is the Samuel Field Y, Queens County Farm Museum as well as various houses of worship [and] business districts.”
The community board voiced openness to Popa’s proposal, which has yet to be reviewed by the MTA, and a liaison from Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) said their office would be interested in the plan, which would coincide with their opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s congestion pricing proposal.
CB 11’s Bernie Haber said the Transportation Committee was in favor of writing a letter of recommendation to the MTA in favor of the Little Neck LiNK proposal.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall