MTA Representatives Hear Resident Concerns Over Queens Bus Network Redesign During Virtual Workshop – QNS.com

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Residents of Community District 5 heard a local breakdown of the new redesign of the Queens bus network, with some locals expressing concerns about the proposed plan during Wednesday night’s virtual workshop hosted by the MTA.

The May 4 workshop is part of the MTA’s three-month public feedback period before the agency finalizes the proposal.

The MTA released a new draft plan for the Queens bus system in March after halting the 2019 draft at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The revision offers a total of 85 lines for rounding, with 20 new lines and other extensions, shortenings and consolidations to improve efficiency; there are currently 82 bus routes in Queens. The plan will remove a total of 1,685 stops.

In an effort to shorten travel time, the MTA wants to space stops farther apart, approximately 850 feet to 1,400 feet. That could save 20 seconds of travel time per stop, officials say.

The new bus line is focused on reliable service and faster travel, according to MTA officials presenting the plan during Wednesday night’s virtual workshop. However, some residents who live in the district – which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth – argued that some of the adjustments would completely disrupt their commute.

One resident, Melissa Ferrara, mentioned that she chose to send her children to McClancy Memorial High School in Elmhurst because the Q47 provides a simple, no-transfer ride.

“The rerouting will require them to take two to three buses, which will add tremendously to their commute,” Ferrara said.

The proposed Q47 route would be realigned at its southern end to serve 69th Street in Maspeth instead of 80th Street. It would also terminate at Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road, serving the M train at Middle Village station.

MTA Representative Ryan Zatlin said some proposed bus routes will deviate from typical routes and operate “specialty school trips.”

“This proposal to realign the route to 69th Street was about our strategies for straightening routes and providing direct connections, in this case to the M Train and Metropolitan Avenue,” Zatlin said. “However, the proposal may not meet everyone’s needs, and that’s what we wanted to hear today.”

Another resident reiterated that concern, saying the proposed plan for Q47 “simply doesn’t make sense”.

“It’s neither more efficient nor direct, in fact it shows the opposite on the proposed plan,” the resident said. “The proposed MTA plan offers an alternative of multiple buses and transfers. I don’t see how it’s more efficient or direct. This greatly increases transit time.

Daniel Randall, another MTA representative, reiterated that the proposal is not final and encourages all criticism and comment.

“None of this is final. All of this feedback is very helpful; you know your communities better than we do,” Randall said.The fact that you name economic institutions, schools and local infrastructure – it’s really helpful, as it will inform the next phase of this plan.

Individual local route profiles in Community District 5 – consisting of Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, Fresh Pond and Liberty Park – can be viewed on the MTA website.

MTA responders also pointed out that although some routes show that Portion A will end, often other bus lines will pick up the slack in this area. For example, Q39 – which connects Astoria and Maspeth – will cut off connections on its southern segment and interchange with Q67, starting in Long Island City and ending in Ridgewood.

According to the MTA, this bus proposal will increase access to 38.5% more jobs and 21% more residents in Queens. Nearly 52% of Queens residents rely on public transit for their daily commute, and at least 11% commute primarily by bus. According to the city comptroller, MTA buses are the slowest in the country and have lost 100 million passenger rides since 2008.

The MTA has already kicked off the bus redesign implementation, starting with the Bronx, which will see the new bus system this summer. The next virtual workshop will be Thursday, May 5 for Community District 6. The public can register for all upcoming community workshops on a Google Form provided on the MTA website.

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