A young Little Neck local has a bold proposal on how to improve access to public transportation in his neighborhood.
Stephan Popa, a 18-year-old student at Fordham University, is the creator of the “Little Neck LiNk” proposal: a series of suggestions to enhance the neighborhood’s bus and train service.
The plan would give locals more viable transportation options and decrease the community’s carbon footprint, Popa noted during a presentation at the March 5 Community Board 11 meeting.
After hearing the student’s proposal, board members agreed to forward the plan along to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to request the organization conduct a feasibility study.
The first of Popa’s proposals is to extend the Q46 line — which currently runs from Kew Gardens to Glen Oaks — into Little Neck by way of Little Neck Parkway. The extension would provide riders with an easy connection to the neighborhood’s Long Island Rail Road station, Popa said. The proposal does not suggest any changes to Q46 buses that go to Lake Success.
The extension would also “fill in the gaps” for the Q36, which already runs to the train station, by increasing service. Proposed hours of operation would be 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., but could be scaled back to an increase at rush hours only if lack of funding proves problematic.
Popa also proposes increasing the frequency of Q36 service during the week and introducing Saturday service. This would allow easy access to local community resources, like the Samuel Field center, Queens County Farm Museum and Deepdale Pool, while reducing the strain on parking.
The Q36 and 46 schedules would also be synced with the LIRR schedule to create a seamless commute — similar to the way the Q31 syncs with the Bayside train station, he noted.
The teen has also devised a marketing plan for the re-imagined routes. The “LiNk” could be marketed like the city’s Select Bus Service (SBS): “LiNk” would illuminated on the electronic display and advertised at the Port Washington stations.
To gauge the community’s response to the plan, Popa has created an online petition where residents can sign to show their support. A total of 70 signatures have been collected. He hopes for many more.
An MTA spokesperson said the organization will “continue to monitor the route and review this proposal.” The spokesperson also pointed out that the Q79, which served Little Neck Parkway, was discontinued in 2010 due to low ridership.
“MTA New York City Transit is committed to improving bus service across New York City,” the spokesperson said. “The average weekday ridership for the Q36 is 6,100, compared to the total average weekday bus ridership in Queens of 353,530 on 37 routes.”
Average weekday trips at the LIRR Little Neck station is approximately 3,300 (one-way trips).
In the comments section of Popa’s petition, Rochelle Dore, who lives on Little Neck Parkway, backed the plan.
“Public transportation is awful in my area,” Dore wrote. “This needs to be fixed as soon as possible.”