New SBS route launches in Woodhaven
The Q52/Q53 is the fifteenth SBS route in the city.
By Gina Martinez

Despite outcry from the community a new Select Bus Service route has just launched in Woodhaven.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the start of the new Q52/Q53 SBS service, the 15th in the city, that stretches 14.7 miles and is set to service over 30,000 daily bus riders and connect to eight subway lines. The route will also connect to over 20 additional bus routes in Elmhurst, Rego Park, Middle Village, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Rockaway Park and Arverne.

Detractors have been outspoken in their opposition to the route, claiming the reconfiguration of corridors and stops is dangerous for riders and will worsen already hemorrhaging traffic conditions through the neighborhood. CBS reported hourlong delays on Woodhaven Boulevard on Day One of the SBS launch

But according to de Blasio, this new route will bring Vision Zero safety improvements to one of Queens highest-crash streets.

The mayor said he expects these changes to make a big difference, however.

“Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard are critical roads in Queens and from the Rockaways to Elmhurst, residents deserve this first-class service,” de Blasio said. “We are committed to expanding Select Bus Service even further, as we know it not only brings increased reliability and reduced travel time for bus riders, the dramatic street improvements of SBS will also make our streets safer for pedestrians and motorists.”

De Blasio said that across New York City, SBS has delivered 10 to 30 percent increases in bus speeds and resulted in a 10 percent rise in ridership along the lines. Between 2011 and 2015 Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard recorded over 3,000 traffic-related injuries and 24 fatalities. DOT and MTA began outreach for a Woodhaven/ Cross Bay SBS in 2014, addressing community concerns like unreliable and slow bus service, long pedestrian crossings across ten lanes of traffic and congestion.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said she expects the new SBS route to bring faster, more convenient and more reliable bus service to many Queens communities along the bus route, many of which do not have subways.

“The new service follows a three-year process of community engagement, and we made many adjustments to our plans along the way,” she said. “From planners and engineers to roadway crews and traffic signal installers, so many different DOT divisions deserve praise for their hard work here, the end result of which will not only be better bus service but significant safety benefits on one of New York City’s widest and most crash-prone roadways.”

Some additional upgrades include new red-paved bus lanes and real-time bus information. The Woodhaven/Cross Bay SBS will also include automated camera enforcement. Motorists driving in the new red bus lanes along the Q52/Q53 route will be issued mailed violations, which will include a photo of the violation and a fine of $115 – $150, after the 60-day grace period beginning Nov. 19.

According to DOT, bus-lane camera enforcement has proven to be a critical tool to deliver increases in speed and reliability of MTA bus service. This SBS launch is just the beginning, according to de Blasio, who announced in October that he is pursuing upgrades on more than 21 new routes over the next 10 years, which are designed to reach a half-million more bus riders each day.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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