Tag Archives: Metropolitan Transit Authority

Residents rally against MTA bus reroute on Ridgewood/Bushwick border


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy of United We Stand Neighborhood Association

In the face of a proposed bus route change by the MTA, members of the United We Stand Neighborhood Association and residents of Bushwick and Ridgewood rallied and marched to oppose the new B26 and Q58 bus routes, which on Sunday started traveling down their blocks on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border.

The march was set to take place Saturday afternoon, but after meeting with a representative from the MTA on Wednesday, the group decided to move the rally to Sunday, the day the bus routes officially changed, in order to maximize the protest’s impact.

“They did not give us any notification that they would be doing the reroute of the buses,” said Flor Ramos, member of United We Stand Neighborhood Association. “The MTA never informed the public that anything was happening.”

“There were around 150 people in the meeting,” Ramos added. “We have support from Councilman Rafael Espinal and from [Brooklyn] Community Board 4.”

On Sunday afternoon protesters marched down Putnam Avenue to Ridgewood Place and up Palmetto Street, the new route which the buses would be taking.

Residents took out their smartphones to snap photos and take videos of the buses trying to turn onto Ridgewood Place from Putnam Avenue. The protesters were not surprised when the buses could not complete the turn.


“This is our concern,” Ramos told the Ridgewood Times in a phone interview. “Those buses can’t fit through there. Even if they made it to Palmetto, they couldn’t turn there either.”

Ramos said that both the B26 and Q58 buses failed to make turns onto Ridgewood Place, at which point they were rerouted to another block, where they also had troubles making the turn. In the end, the buses were brought back to their original route, according to Ramos.

“I think the rally was very successful. It brought awareness to people in the area who didn’t know about it,” Ramos said. “We are bringing a lot of light to this issue. These buses turning on small residential streets is dangerous. The narrower streets will cause more accidents.”

According to Ramos, the MTA is looking to implement no parking restrictions on the corners of the blocks on the rerouted bus lines to remove vehicles from the corners, allowing buses to safely turn onto and off of Ridgewood Place, in order to complete the new route.

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Ridgewood march against proposed MTA bus rerouting plan


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy the MTA

Members of the United We Stand Neighborhood Association, a newly formed civic group on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border, will be holding a march and rally in Ridgewood this Saturday to oppose the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) proposed plan to reroute the B26 and Q58 buses.

The MTA’s proposal would take these two buses off of Wyckoff Avenue and instead reroute them onto Ridgewood Place. The MTA cites dangerous turning conditions at the three-way intersection at Palmetto Street and Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues as well as heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic as reasons for the proposed changes.

This location has been the scene of many traffic-related injuries, several involving MTA buses, including the fatal accidents that killed Ella Kottick Bandes in 2013 and Edwin Torres in 2014.

“The whole idea of rerouting buses in the area of Myrtle and Wyckoff was due to the need to make traffic conditions safer for pedestrians,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5. “Unfortunately, two people were killed in vehicular accidents at that intersection. The decision on which blocks to reroute the buses to was studied by the MTA. This was done to save lives. The whole reasoning was for pedestrian safety.”

The United We Stand Neighborhood Association was formed in April of this year to combat this rerouting.

“We are a newly formed group,” said Flor Ramos, member of United We Stand Neighborhood Association, in a phone interview with the Ridgewood Times. “We got together mainly because of the situation with the bus rerouting. Nobody wants those buses around there.”

Protesters will assemble at the intersection of Putnam and Wyckoff avenues at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. They will begin their protest at noon and march along Putnam Avenue to Ridgewood Place, ending on Palmetto Street, which is the proposed new route for the buses.

“Now it’s totally going to affect our quality of life,” Ramos said. “There is the noise issue and the fumes. Now you will have double the noise from screeching breaks and compressed air making that horrible bus noise echoing through the streets. We won’t be able to leave our windows open. These are all residential house along this new route. Wyckoff Avenue is all commercial.”

Currently, the Q58 travels down Putnam Avenue, turns right onto Wyckoff Avenue and right again on Palmetto Street, where the Ridgewood Terminal is located. The B26 travels straight down Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street to the Ridgewood Terminal.

“That intersection is the beginning of our commercial district,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, who supports the bus route changes. “Since day one, we have been working with the city for the mayor’s Vision Zero plan and have advocated for improvements in that area.”

The proposed changes would have the Q58 turn right onto Ridgewood Place, then right again on Palmetto Street, while the B26 would turn left onto Putnam Avenue, right onto Ridgewood Place and right onto Palmetto Street.

“Overall, the buses will be making five new turns with this new route,” Ramos explained. “The B26 will add three more turns and the Q58 will add two more turns. They will be taking the accidents from there and bring them to the new location. That is going to cause a lot more problems.”

Members of United We Stand Neighborhood Association believe that moving the bus routes to Ridgewood Place would put more children and elderly at risk since the streets of the proposed reroute are very narrow, which would make it difficult for a bus to turn.

“Sending out a bus through there, all they’re doing is bringing that problem to our streets,” Ramos said. “There is nothing they can do about making the streets wider.”

“You have wider streets on Wyckoff and Palmetto,” Ramos continued. “There is about a 5-foot difference in width. The sidewalks on Wyckoff are much wider, giving bus drivers a better view of pedestrians passing through there.”

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MTA improvement plan may benefit restoration of Rockaway Beach Rail Line


| slicata@queenscourier.com

File photo

South Queens has one of the longest commute times to Midtown Manhattan out of any area in the five boroughs. But changes may soon be made as part of a new study released by the Metropolitan Transit Authority that could undermine a proposal to turn an unused Queens rail line into a park.

In the study, the MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission proposes to “aggressively expand the capacity of the existing [MTA] system.”

The newly released MTA study was welcome news to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, who has been advocating for improvements to the already existing infrastructure where the Rockaway Beach Rail Line once was.

“Support for reactivation of the rail line continues to grow and this new report drafted by leading transit experts is a huge step in the right direction,” said Goldfeder. “The Commission recognizes that reactivating unused rights-of-way such as the Rockaway Beach Rail Line is the best and most cost-effective way to improve access to transit for hundreds of thousands of Queens families.”

The report finds that the economic success of New York is dependent on a world class transportation system and that the MTA must continue to make improvements to it if it wants to keep this economic growth.

“New York will never have a world-class transit system unless the MTA reinvents itself and the public invests in it. A robust transportation network is essential to the region, but its past achievements do not make future success inevitable,” said Ray LaHood, co-chair of the Transportation Reinvention Commission and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation. “Our work shows that the MTA can meet the array of challenges it faces, but doing so will require careful stewardship, creative thinking and heightened investment to ensure it can continue to be the engine that drives New York.”

The MTA study comes as a group has been advocating for a project called QueensWay, inspired by Manhattan’s High Line, which would convert the long-dormant rail line into a public park stretching across a wide swath of Queens.

The report released seven key strategies for improving transportation throughout the city. It states that the MTA must make investments designed to serve existing and emerging population and employment centers that are not well served by the existing system while also “pursuing new flexible service alternatives and operating modes.”

This expansion is already taking place in south Queens with plans being discussed for Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard.

The reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line could result in 500,000 daily trips and would cost the MTA around $700 million, according to a recent Queens College study.
Goldfeder believes this is a significant step forward in his fight to bring rail service along the line back to south Queens.

“I’m pleased that the Commission recognizes what our communities have known for a long time — that using this right-of-way is our best option for cutting commute times, growing our small businesses, and building a stronger, more resilient transit network,” concluded Goldfeder.

“Residents overwhelmingly support the reactivation of the rail line and I will continue to work with the MTA and my colleagues to make that dream a reality.”

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MTA announces fare and toll hike proposals


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Today the Metropolitan Transit Authority officially announced its proposals for the fare and toll hikes that are planned for March.

The agency said that the increases will bring in “vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system.”

The MTA is considering four options that would increase bus and subway rides.

On October 10, the New York Daily News published those options ahead of time. Though the MTA would not confirm whether those were its actual proposals, the ones it revealed today did reflect the ones the paper released.

Two options keep the base fare at $2.25; the other two raise it to $2.50.

If the base fare stays the same, the cost of a weekly unlimited MetroCard would go up from $29 to $34 and the monthly from $104 to $125. The seven percent discount for every $10 put on a MetroCard would be lowered to five percent.

The second option would raise unlimited rides to $32 and $119, but eliminate the discount.

If the MTA raises the base fare to $2.50, then straphangers would keep the seven percent discount, but pay more for an unlimited MetroCard ($30 and $112).

The final option would keep weekly unlimited MetroCards at $29, and only increase the monthly by $5, but the base fare would be $2.50, and there would be no discounts.

There are also four proposals for express buses. Again, two would keep the base fare, which is currently $5.50, and the two others would raise it 50 cents. The options would also have similar trade-offs for MetroCard discounts and unlimited rides.

Most of Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets would go up by 8.19 to 9.31 percent, said the MTA.

These hikes would be the fourth increase in five years for subway, bus and commuter rail fares and that is one too many said public transportation advocacy group, the Straphangers Campaign, following the MTA’s fare proposals announcement.

“Blocking or reducing the fare increase is possible, if we get more help from Albany,” said Straphangers spokesperson Gene Russianoff. “One promising plan is to generate new revenue by both raising and lowering tolls on city bridges and tunnels in line with where there is the most and least congestion.”

The proposals that the MTA announced Monday would raise the tolls for many area bridges and tunnels. Though E-ZPass customers would still pay less than other drivers, everyone will be paying more.

Those increases include raising the tolls for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel from $4.80 to $5.30 for E-ZPass holders and from $6.50 to $7.50 for other drivers.

Tolls for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge would go up between 12 and 33 cents, depending on whether the driver has an EZ-Pass or is a Rockaway resident.

In November, a month before the MTA votes on how it’s going to raise tolls and fares, the agency is letting the public weigh in on the options in a series of public and video forums. It is also accepting public statements via email and regular mail.

“The public will have significant input into our decision-making process. In the spirit of transparency, the public will assist in shaping our fare policy,” said MTA chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “These proposals have been designed to balance our need for revenue with public involvement. We need to hear from the public. Feedback evaluating the specific alternatives we’ve put forward is particularly useful, but we value all our customers’ input, and we’ll consider changes to our proposals based on what we hear and read.”