At a bus workshop on Monday night, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority admitted that its plan for Maspeth in the Queens bus redesign was flawed, and promised residents they were focused on improving it in the next iteration.
In a show of commitment, MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye came out to speak to residents at the P.S. 153 public meeting, hosted by Assemblyman Brian Barnwell and Councilman Robert Holden. He listed the surrounding neighborhood as one of three perceived problem areas in the plan.
“I will admit, and this is unusual for someone in my position, I don’t think we got it totally right — either here or in Bayside or Jackson Heights,” said Foye, adding that that there is no concrete timeline for next draft of the plan.
“We’re going to take whatever time it requires to get it right,” Foye told QNS.
A large number of the approximately 100 Maspeth residents who came to the workshop were concerned that the draft plan consolidated parts of the Q18, Q67 and Q47 in the northern half of the neighborhood into one route with one local and one express line.
“It seems like this is designed by an engineer on a blackboard. They don’t want to go where the people are, they want to go where it’s most convenient for buses,” said Soren Larson, a Maspeth resident and Q18 rider.
The plan proposes that a local bus line called the QT78 would run up 69th Street from the Long Island Expressway to the 69th Avenue Seven subway station. One problem with this route is that 69th Street Seven-train station does not have wheelchair access.
Maspeth resident Anna Wasiewicz said that this is going to present a major hurdle for many people in her building — one of several large co-ops at the intersection of 65th Street and 53rd Avenue that skews toward families and older residents.
The Q18, which fish hooks east along 53 Avenue, before turning north of 65th Place, passes directly by these co-ops. Wasiewicz worried that even though the QT78 runs parallel to the much of the Q18 route on 69th Street, the extra two-to-three block walk would stop residents in her building from using the bus.
John Rafferty came to the workshop prepared with 600 petition signatures from people who were asking not to change the Q18 and Q67 lines.
The table over from Rafferty was also talking about their goal to keep the Q18 and Q67 in place. Asked about how to improve those routes, the group suggested removing some of the stops in between short blocks could make it move faster.
“Basically, you don’t want the new routes. You just want to keep the old routes,” recapped Avelyn Hang, an MTA moderator who also lives in the area. “Everybody is in agreement. Nobody is happy with the new routes.”