MTA hosts open house in Jamaica to showcase Queens Bus Network Redesign proposal

The MTA Queens bus network redesign team hosted an open house at King Manor Museum
Photo by Athena Dawson

Representatives from the MTA and DOT gathered at the King Manor Museum in Jamaica last week to host an open house meeting focusing on the MTA’s Queens Bus Network Redesign proposal.

The open house ran from 5-8:30 p.m. on Apr. 17. Throughout the night, a handful of residents trickled in to speak to the redesign team. 

The representatives told the attendees that the redesign aims to improve bus service throughout the borough through prospective new route types, faster travel times and an array of updated services. The MTA officials spoke to residents who perused the room, which featured infographics detailing maps and proposal highlights. A few attendees also gave written feedback after they finished viewing the displays.

One of the infographics on display at the open house included a timeline of the redesign proposal. Currently, MTA planners are showcasing their Final Plan, which was released in 2023. Their plan is in its last public outreach phase before organizers work on hosting a public hearing later this year.

The MTA launched the Original Draft Plan in 2019, and worked on public outreach and data analysis from September 2019- 2021. By December 2021, the Original Draft Plan was withdrawn and a New Draft Plan was released in 2022. The Final Plan was released in 2023.

Bus network redesign timeline. Photo by Athena Dawson

Another infographic on display detailed exactly how the MTA plans to redesign the bus network, which is particularly important to Queens residents, since the borough currently has the largest bus network across the city—with nearly 800,000 average weekday riders. Furthermore, southeast Queens is well known for being a transit desert, with a lack of transportation options for residents.

The graphics put an emphasis on more reliable service, better travel connections through the inter-borough bus lines and simplified bus service. Many of the redesign strategies featured in the draft proposal include improving the frequency of buses and creating new bus routes that would add to existing routes to address gaps in the network. 

Additionally, the redesign strategies include simplifying the network with more direct routes and fewer route variants depending on the area.

The redesign focuses on four route types, including local routes, limited routes, SBS-crosstown routes and the newly proposed rush route. The proposed rush routes would connect outer borough neighborhoods to bus and subway hubs and move more frequently during peak hours. The infographic showed that the proposed network would also have increased bus stop spacing. The information provided showed that increased bus stop spacing saves 20 seconds per stop removed and speeds up buses. 

The infographic features updated routes and a proposed “rush” route for the bus network. Photo by Athena Dawson

The displays featured public outreach stats, noting that there had been 4,000 comments on the latest Draft Plan. The results showed that most comments focused on routing and bus stops, and the New Draft Plan was more well-received than the previous one. The top 10 most commented routes included the Q44, Q23, Q10, Q60, Q17, Q25, Q88, Q67, Q38 and Q39.

The redesign team will host its next open house on Wednesday, May 1, at Queensborough Community College in the Administration Building lobby, located at 222-05 56 Ave.