The city Department of Transportation may be taking extra time to review community concerns about the proposal for a busway down Main Street in Flushing, but it is still aiming for an October launch, the agency says.
The Flushing Chinese Business Association claimed DOT is backing off a supposed Oct. 1 launch of the busway to hear additional concerns that local enterprise would be hurt by limitations on motorists despite heavy foot traffic and transit use through the business district. DOT. however, tells amNewYork Metro that they had never planned to start on Oct. 1 anyway.
According to Randall Eng, an attorney and retired judge representing the group, has doubts about the need for a busway and believes it will take away from businesses in a substantial way.
“It puts a severe limitation on private autos, it will create hardships… All these detours and mandatory turns off Main Street, it’s just going to lead to congestion and inaccessibility of so many businesses,” Eng said. “I’m not a transportation expert but I think most people are taking buses from Northern [Boulevard] and Eastern Queens to get to the No. 7 train. Not necessarily for shopping. Mostly commuter traffic and reverse in the evening.”
DOT still emphasized the need for transit improvements along the clogged corridor where 11 bus routes meet with the 7 train as well as the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington line. With 155,000 bus riders alone circulating through the Main Street hub, not only do the streets, trains and buses get crammed. In 2016 and 2017, DOT put in a $7 million effort to widen sidewalks for the immense amount of foot traffic that is common throughout the commercial district.
Alas, the agency is not backing down from creating a 24/7 busway, but they are meeting with attorneys leading the opposition to the plan, which can be read in full here.
“Improved bus service and reliability will provide additional support to the many essential workers during all hours of the day, as well as improve the overall transportation network in downtown Flushing. This pilot is meant to tackle the problem of traffic congestion in a collaborative way while maintaining local access, with the well-being of businesses as a prime consideration,” a DOT statement read. “We are scheduling a meeting with the attorney and the parties he represents to discuss next steps on this project, which we have said we plan to begin implementing in October, though we have not named October 1st as a specific date.”
This story originally appeared on amny.com.