With the push for a permanent Rockaway ferry still dominating the south Queens transportation conversation, elected officials and transit advocacy groups this week rallied on the steps of City Hall, calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to bring high-quality bus rapid transit to a patch of the borough that historically has been bereft of public transit options.
City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) hosted the Tuesday morning event, announcing support from fellow councilmembers and bus riders, and unveiling a “BRT For NYC” movement petition, boasting 5,000 signatures, for the service along the Woodhaven and Cross Bay corridor, extending into Far Rockaway.
Bus rapid transit, according to Richards, combines the permanence, speed and reliability of rail with the flexibility of buses, all at a fraction of the cost of a subway system.
“Building on the success of Select Bus Service, the Woodhaven and Cross Bay corridor represents an opportunity to deliver BRT for the more than 30,000 residents relying on bus service along the corridor every day,” Richards said. “Protected bus lanes and center-median stations will help make one of the most dangerous and extensive transportation corridors in the city more safe, reliable and equitable for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.”
Additionally, councilmembers Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale), Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) have signed a letter to the MTA and city Department of Transportation outlining recommendations for full-featured BRT along the bustling thoroughfares.
The petition is being handled by the “BRT For NYC” Steering Committee, which is composed of representatives from the Association for a Better New York, the New York Public Interest Research Group Straphangers Campaign, Pratt Center for Community Development, Riders Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Transit Workers Union and Working Families Party.
To sign the petition, log on to: http://salsa.ridersny.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=9664
By Michael V. Cusenza