By Bill Parry
As Astoria residents endure hardships associated with the reconstruction of several subway stations along the N and W lines, state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) is calling on the MTA to extend the Q102 bus to help his constituents get where they are going. No bus service currently runs along the 31st Street business corridor north of 30th Avenue.
The projects began in October, when the MTA closed the 30th and 36th Avenue stations for infrastructure repairs. When those stations reopen this summer, the 39th Street and Broadway stations will close for eight months. In April, the MTA will partially close the Ditmars Boulevard stop for a 14-month-long renovation and in September work will begin at the Astoria Boulevard station. While it will remain open at first, starting in February 2019, the Ditmas stop will be fully closed as the MTA installs four elevators, in addition to the infrastructure repairs.
“Our community has been waiting for an accessible station on the N/W line for decades, and the news about Astoria Boulevard was a long time coming. Still the MTA is not doing nearly enough to cushion the blow that will come with the extended station closure during construction,” Gianaris said. “We are already dealing with closing businesses and inconvenienced riders where other stations are closed. The MTA needs to do more to help our entire community deal with yet another months-long shutdown. It is time they extend this bus route (in) the neighborhood to provide service for the whole community.”
Gianaris fired off a letter to Darryl Irick, the president of the MTA Bus Company, urging the extension of the Q102 bus route to “offset the negative effects of all this construction” as a solution to the ordeal.
“I repeatedly asked for shuttle bus service to compensate for disruptions to normal train service, only to be denied,” Gianaris wrote. “The problem is so serious that a more permanent solution is now required.”
An MTA spokesman said service has been added to the Q102 “to help riders during the current station closures” and he said the agency will review the senator’s letter.
North-south bus routes currently run from 20th Avenue to Queens Plaza along Steinway Street and 21st Street, but there is a wide gulf in bus service between those routes. Gianaris asked the MTA to create a spur off the Q102 that would run along 31st Street from 30th Avenue to 20th Avenue.
“This would give residents and visitors in the northern section of Astoria more transportation options,” Gianaris wrote.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr