DOT to host last virtual hearing on Astoria’s 21st Street busway proposal

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The DOT will hold a final public hearing on a proposal for a busway on 21st Street, between Hoyt Avenue and Queensborough Plaza, in Astoria. (Photo via DOT)

The city’s Department of Transportation will host a public hearing to discuss the proposed busway on 21st Street in Astoria this week.

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., the DOT will present the plan and gather feedback from the public. In November, the DOT and the MTA jointly listed three options for a redesign of the two-mile stretch of roadway that connects the Triborough Bridge to the Queensborough Bridge.

The Old Astoria Neighborhood Association (OANA), a local organization promoting economic growth, quality of life and cultural health in the area, is not a fan of the controversial proposal. OANA won’t hold its monthly meeting this month to instead encourage community members to attend the DOT’s public hearing.

OANA gave a thumbs-down to all three proposals for the busway and created a survey asking area residents and businesses whether they were in favor of bus lanes. More than half of the nearly 700 respondents said they were against the creation of bus lanes, nearly 57%. Only 35% supported the bus lanes with no conditions. More than 90% of the respondents lived or worked in the neighborhood.

In a statement, OANA said the proposed configurations would force many vehicles down Astoria Park South, creating a hazard for the many pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter and skateboard users from Astoria Park, and forcing traffic into the small residential street of Old Astoria, all the way to Vernon Boulevard.

Just before Christmas, the DOT announced it was planning to move forward with the second option, “Offset Bus Lanes with Bus Bulbs,” which includes giving buses their own dedicated lane, and installing bus bulbs and curb extensions. It would keep the same amount of parking.

The DOT will hold a public hearing on a proposal for a busway on 21st Street, between Hoyt Avenue and Queensborough Plaza, in Astoria. (Screenshot via DOT)

OANA proposed a fourth option which would have curbside bus lanes operational only during rush hours that would help mitigate the parking removal that may be required.

Additionally, they would prefer that the bus lanes start southbound at Astoria Boulevard, not Hoyt Avenue South, due to the tremendous volume of traffic coming from the Triborough Bridge and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

“Do not let the city impose their plans without participation from the neighborhood,” OANA said in a statement. “OANA urges everyone to attend and make their concerns known. The decisions made today will affect our quality of life for many years!”

To learn more about the DOT’s proposals and register for the virtual public hearing on Wednesday, click here.