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It turns out that Rockaway residents suffer through the longest average daily commute of all New York City neighborhoods.

Rockaway residents commute for 53 minutes every day, which is 27 minutes longer than the national average. Rockaway is closely followed by Queens neighborhoods of Jamaica where residents commute for 51 minutes and Bellerose/Rosedale with 47-minute long daily average commute.


NYC-based think tank Center for an Urban Future conducted a study on the average length of daily commutes in New York. It turns out that while New Yorkers are efficient, fast-paced and fast-moving, their commutes are anything but.

All of the NYC neighborhoods exceed national daily average commute time of 26 minutes.

And while the longest commuting Rockaway residents spend 53 minutes daily on average, the residents of the Financial District and Greenwich Village spend only 26 minutes daily on average commuting, which over the course of a five-day work week means that Rockaway residents spend four hours and 29 minutes more time commuting than those who live in Downtown Manhattan. That’s a lot of time for fiction reading and podcasts listening, Rockaways!

Interestingly, the average commute for residents of Astoria is 38 minutes, while residents of Williamsburg, Brooklyn commute for 36 minutes. Bayside commute is 42.6, which roughly compares to Bed-Stuy residents’ commute of 41.9 minutes.

Queens residents are also the most likely to work outside of the city with 13 percent commuting to jobs beyond the five boroughs.

The 10 NYC neighborhoods with the longest commutes are: the Rockaways (53 minutes), Jamaica (51 minutes), Brownsville/Ocean Hill (48 minutes), Flatlands/Canarsie (48 minutes), Bellerose/Rosedale (47 minutes), Howard Beach/S. Ozone Park (46 minutes), Kingsbridge Heights/Mosholu (46 minutes), Soundview/Parkchester (46 minutes), East Flatbush (46 minutes) and Bensonhurst (45 minutes).

It goes without saying that the commute times in NYC, not only in Queens, are simply too long.

Center for an Urban Future made three recommendation to change that.

First, it recommended an accelerated schedule for the modernization of the MTA’s signal system.

Second, it recommended introducing tolls on the city’s East River bridges. According to the think tank the plan would generate $1.5 billion in net annual revenue for the MTA, which would help to improve state-of-good-repair and to finance system expansion.

And finally, it recommended reducing the LIRR fares and integrating payment with the subway MetroCard. MTA operates over 20 LIRR stations in the five boroughs, but only few New Yorkers use the service because of its high fares and its poor integration with the subway MetroCard. This way the city could dramatically reduce commutes in northeast and southeast Queens.



Join The Discussion

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Danny Ruscillo April 03, 2016 / 10:01PM
The QueensRail people the QueensRail!

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Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. April 01, 2016 / 08:32PM
Here's what I learned from this and I will think about this in a broader sense, through a logical sense of socioeconomic class and the critical lens of public transportation: 1) Lower-Class: If a person works for under $35,000 a year and commute by public transportation from point a to point b and back for at least two hours a day, then that person is an "extreme commuter." If that same kind person lives in a neighborhood where there is not a lot of reliable, public transportation access, then that person is living in a "transit desert." This could make that same person take multiple buses and trains to get to their final destination. Therefore, that person's commute is considered to be slower. 2) Middle-Class: If a person lives in the NYC suburbs and makes some money, then, depending on the time of day, that person could possibly either taking a commuter bus or a commuter train. Therefore, their commute times is faster that the lower-class. 3) Upper-Class: If a person lives in the suburbs in NYC and makes a lot of money, then that person, depending on time of day, is taking a yellow cab, a outer borough cab, a black cab, a livery cab, or a cab from a ride-hailing app, making their overall commute go faster than the middle-class, as long there is not a lot of bottlenecks and traffic congestion ahead. The main problem is this: Because of the crumbling infrastructure of both the MTA system and the roads and bridges, it will takes years upon years of deferred maintenance to be tackled upon.

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Eugene Falik March 31, 2016 / 11:46PM
Of course there are some easy, relatively inexpensive solutions for the lengthy commutes, particularly for Rockaway. Implementing the QueensRail solution (www.qptc.org/queensrail) would dramatically reduce travel times for Rockaway residents to midtown Manhattan and to central Queens. And it would also benefit people coming to the Rockaway beaches from Queens. The cost is estimated to be between $500 and 700 million dollars. It would benefit more than 30,000 people per day, typically saving between a half hour to an hour on most trips!

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