Facing community and political opposition, the MTA and the city Department of Transportation slammed the brakes on a proposed dedicated bus lane for the limited Q44 bus line on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills.
The news came during Wednesday night’s meeting of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association. The MTA planned to take one lane in each direction of Main Street to convert the Q44 between Flushing and Jamaica into a Select Bus Service (SBS) route.
Civic leaders and elected officials protested the plans previously, claiming the lost lane of traffic would increase vehicular traffic on Main Street while also depriving both residents and shoppers of valued parking space.
“A dedicated bus-only lane in Kew Gardens Hills was always the wrong choice for our community,” Councilman Rory Lancman said in a press release Thursday. “The proposed bus-only lane would have increased congestion, reduced parking spaces, hurt businesses and diverted cars onto residential streets.”
Lancman along with Rep. Grace Meng, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and state Senators Joseph Addabbo and Toby Ann Stavisky praised the MTA and DOT for hearing concerns about the bus lane and ultimately nixing the plan.
According to Lancman, the DOT and MTA will seek other methods to improve traffic flow on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills, including potential street reconfiguration, off-board fare collection and re-synchronizing traffic lights.
A source familiar with the plan indicated a bus-only lane is most likely for areas of Main Street north of the Long Island Expressway. However, it is not likely a bus lane would be created on Main Street south of Kew Gardens Hills due to a lack of street space.