Tag Archives: Queens Public Transit Committee

Transit advocates to rally in Elmhurst for improvements

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of NYC DOT

As Select Bus Service (SBS) and bus rapid transit (BRT) routes are scheduled to come to Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards, an increasing amount of Queens residents are opposed to the idea of the Department of Transportation (DOT) taking away lanes from drivers and dedicating them for buses.

The Queens Public Transit Committee (QPTC) urges the public to join them during their Transportation for Everyone Rally on Sunday, Sept. 13, at the corner of Hoffman Drive, Queens Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard in Elmhurst, to fight for better and faster transportation.

“We are rallying for more transportation, not less transportation,” said Philip McManus, QPTC chair. “People are fed up with our leaders who are making it harder to get around. We are rallying to organize the people to fight for more transportation options and protest anti-transportation plans that hurt commuters. Some leaders are trying to divide and conquer commuters, demonize some commuters and reward others.”

McManus believes the residents of Queens need “faster and safer transportation for everyone which will create more opportunities for people.”

“We need to reduce travel times with reasonable safety precautions to improve our standard of living,” he added.

Members of QPTC are looking to public officials to answer their questions on why some of their transportation options are being taken away in favor of other transportation options.

“Why is it okay to ride a bike, but the city will ticket and slow street traffic with less travel lanes and slower speed limits? Why is it okay for some people to lose their bus stops? Why is it okay to spend money on bike trails but not railways? Why is it okay to spend $32 billion dollars in Manhattan for railway expansion, but no railway expansion in the outer boroughs?” McManus asked.

The QPTC sees several problems with the way transportation is evolving in Queens.

“Vision Zero, Select Bus Service and the QueensWay are all linked together in taking away our transportation options including five bus stops, travel lanes, left turns, parking; narrow travel lanes, reasonable speed limits, local bus frequency and the QueensRail,” McManus said.

“It will also Increase travel times, congestion and gridlock, pollution, accidents, emergency response times, travel expenses, residential traffic and Zero Vision enforcement including tickets, arrest, confiscations, and higher insurance rates with speeding and bus lane cameras,” he added.

The rally will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. near the southbound Q52 and Q53 bus stop. For more information, visit the QPTC website.


Transit committee finds new support for restarting Rockaway Beach Line

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Jeff Liao

One by one, members of the Queens Public Transit Committee (QPTC), an organization focused on improving transportation in the borough, thanked Community Board 5 (CB5) last week.

The board voted to support the idea of restarting the defunct Rockaway Beach Line last month, in part to help ease traffic congestion issues on major thoroughfares, such as Woodhaven Boulevard.

The news was significant for QPTC, because the 3.5-mile trail could also be transformed into a park.

“Getting more people like CB5 is tremendous because they realize overcrowding is becoming a major problem,” said Phil McManus, chair of the QPTC.

In November of last year, Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder, who has voiced support for a new train, announced that Queens College will be doing a study of both the train and park ideas.

The Friends of the QueensWay (FQW), a group made up of residents that live near the trail who are pushing to transform the former rail line into a public green space, has argued against restarting the line.

“After over five decades of abandonment and multiple studies concluding that rail reactivation is not feasible, the time has come to utilize the over 50 acres of land that make up the QueensWay,” according to a statement from FQW. “As evidence shows, rebuilding this abandoned land will dramatically improve the quality of life, create jobs and safer streets, and highlight the incredible history and cultural diversity of central and southern Queens.”

FQW also said that the new park will have a much needed bike path, which could be used for transportation.

Not everyone has taken a side though. Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) would like to see formal proposals, instead of making a decision on speculation.

“We want to make sure a lot of concerns are answered. Can’t say that we are for or against,” said Martin Colberg, president of the WRBA.

McManus said the QPTC isn’t opposed to doing both ideas in some capacity, but a FQW representative said that isn’t a possibility.

“I just don’t see that as being realistic,” said Travis Terry, a member of FQW Steering Committee. “I wouldn’t even like to consider that option until there is some proof.”