By Mark Hallum
Residents of Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City will now have countdown clocks at their bus stops after the funds allocated by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) were put to use by the DOT.
Van Bramer stood with the city Department of Transportation and Community Board 2 Chairwoman Denise Keehan Smith at 39th Place and Queens Boulevard to show off the new countdown clocks for the Q32 and Q60 lines which will display the latest arrival status for buses.
“I am pleased to see the bus countdown clocks we funded through participatory budgeting get installed. These first five clocks are part of the initial $200,000 allocation and I am excited that more are on the way,” said Van Bramer. “The new countdown clocks will surely make life and commuting easier for local residents who rely on the bus, especially seniors. Now that we see how convenient the clocks are, I am determined to get more installed throughout our district.”
The $200,000 allocated for the five countdown clocks in Van Bramer’s district came from participatory budget funds from the 2016-2017 session, though the only two installed so far are at Roosevelt Avenue and 61st Street as well as 39th Place.
The additional $300,000 for the other three clocks was included in the 2017-2018 participatory budgeting cycle, according to Van Bramer’s office.
Participatory budgeting is a city program that allows residents within a City Council district to vote on what programs they would like to see a set amount of funds used for and is granted through their council member.
“It’s so exciting to see the final results of all of the stages of participatory budgeting come together with a project completion. It started in the Assembly, when someone suggested there was a need for countdown clocks for the bus stops,” said Barbara Lee, a member of the Participatory Budgeting Transportation Budget Committee in CB 2.
“Now, thanks to all of the hard work from the budget delegates on the Transportation Committee and all of the community members, who voted for the countdown clocks riders on the Q32 and Q60 bus lines will know when the next bus will arrive.”
DOT will be installing the remaining clocks at Woodside Avenue and 61st Street, Broadway and Steinway Street in Astoria, and Vernon Boulevard and 50th Avenue over the course of the next few weeks, according to Van Bramer.
Van Bramer said the clocks would help senior citizens in the neighborhood and celebrated their installation in front of the Sunnyside Community Center at 43-31 39th St.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall