The MTA and the community worked together, and now the Q41 bus will not lose its loop.
In May, the MTA presented a plan detailing proposed changes to several bus routes serving Queens, at the monthly meeting of Community Board 10 (CB 10).
The Q41 bus was in danger of losing the loop it currently makes off of Cross Bay Boulevard. Right now, the bus goes southbound on Cross Bay Boulevard, right on 164th Avenue, right on 84th Street, and right on 160th Avenue to Cross Bay Boulevard.
Proposed changes to the MTA’s Q11 routes would have completely eliminated service on the Hamilton Beach line after 9 p.m., meaning residents there would have to walk across a pedestrian bridge at 163rd Avenue to access Q11 service on the Howard Beach loop.
The proposed changes, particularly to the Q41, distressed attendees of the CB 10 meeting so much that the board sent a letter to the MTA detailing its concerns with the plan. Specifically, the letter asked that Q11 service to Hamilton Beach not be cut and that the Q41 loop be allowed to remain on the route.
In the letter, CB 10 stressed the route changes were a bad idea, particularly because the alterations to the route would have put buses in spots where it’s harder to turn, and pedestrians at intersections with higher accident rates than the ones they meet the bus at now.
The letter also stated that one of the new bus stops that would have been needed if the loop was altered would have created serious issues, as it’s right outside of a post office and so is already a very high-traffic area.
In response, the MTA sent CB 10 a letter of its own, in which it agreed to keep the Q11 running through Hamilton Beach until 10 p.m. instead of the originally suggested 9 p.m., and also agreed to keep the Q41 loop as it is now.
“The Q41 turnaround was a new idea for a potential future change in 2013 and not the subject of the plan for July 2012,” said MTA Vice President of Intergovernmental and Community Affairs James Harding in the letter. “We heard the community’s concern and will retain the current travel path.”
MTA representative Kevin Ortiz confirmed that the Q41 loop is here to stay. He said the revision was a new project the MTA just wanted some feedback on, and that “based upon the comments we received from the community, we will retain the current elongated loop in Howard Beach for the Q41 for the foreseeable future.
Among the most vocal opponents to the changes were CB 10 members Joann Ariola and Nina DeBlasio. Both lifelong residents of the community, the pair was concerned about parking and congestion.
“I am pleased that the MTA heard our concerns. We must use this as an example of how the sense of reason may prevail when presented by the unified voice of the community,” CB 10 member Joann Ariola said. “The plan was never viable.”
Parent Teacher Coordinator at MS 207 Nina DeBlasio, who is also a member of CB 10, was quick to echo the sentiment. “We have 82 students at the school [MS 207] that would have been disenfranchised as a result of this proposal—they will be gone over the next two years but certainly other students will take their place. We have to keep these routes as they are.”
By Liz Peterson