Senator Michael Gianaris called for the Metropolitan Transit Authority to extend bus service on 31st Avenue in Astoria, to compensate for a rash of subway closures in the area.
On April 25, the senator wrote to the president of the MTA Bus Company, Darryl Irick, to request that he extend the Q102 service from 30th Avenue down to 20th Avenue. Currently, north-south bus routes run from 20th Avenue to Queens Plaza along Steinway Street and 21st Street. However, there are areas in between these routes that are in need of bus service.
“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,” Gianaris wrote in his letter to Irick. “Still, the MTA is not doing nearly enough to cushion the blow that will come with the extended station closure during construction. Given the hardship faced by local businesses and residents, the least the MTA can do is mitigate the enduring damage by increasing bus service to offset the negative effects of all this construction.”
Since September 2017, the 30th Avenue and 36th Avenue N/W subway lines have been undergoing an eight-month-long overhaul, which creates a growing need for buses in Astoria. Gianaris said his “repeated requests” for shuttle bus service in the affected areas have been denied. He is now looking for a more “permanent” solution to the issue.
“The Q102 currently turns west on 30th Avenue and proceeds to Astoria Houses – a vital service that should continue uninterrupted while an added spur extends the route to 20th Avenue. Other bus lines throughout Queens follow a similar approach, including the Q15 and Q15a, which have a divergent route to provide more service to more residents throughout Whitestone. This request is not unique; it is simply fair,” the senator said.
The MTA Bus Company said that they “added service to the Q102 line to help riders during the current station closures” and have plans to review the senator’s letter soon.
The company added that New York City Transit President Andy Byford proposed a comprehensive bus plan to revamp the “entire public bus system and deliver world-class service with immediate and long-term improvements.” Some of the proposed changes to the bus system include a complete redesigned bus network, speeding up boarding by using all doors and improving customer service and experience.