BY LUIS GRONDA
Residents got their first chance to publicly discuss the proposed Woodhaven-Cross Bay Select Bus Service plan that the City is hoping to implement since the official proposal was released last month.
Last week, the Department of Transportation and the MTA held the first of four public workshops, with this one held at PS 306 in Woodhaven, that are scheduled along the corridor.
Residents and transit advocates attending the meeting sat in separate groups and listened to a presentation of the agency’s plan from various DOT and MTA staffers.
The agencies revealed for the first time several street changes they are proposing to make as part of implementing SBS. This includes eliminating and adding multiple left hand turns for drivers traveling along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards.
Among the turns they want to change is taking away the left turn on Woodhaven heading south onto Rockaway towards Resorts World Casino. They also propose to take away the left turn on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park and move that to 103rd Avenue instead. They also would like to eliminate left turns at Myrtle Avenue and Union Turnpike.
The changes are being made to accommodate the new SBS bus lanes and stops that would be installed as part of the project, officials at the meeting said.
The proposals received mixed reviews from residents in attendance, who were nearly unanimous in their opposition towards eliminating the turn onto Rockaway because of the potential headache it could cause drivers trying to get onto Rockaway Boulevard or Liberty Avenue. It could also be a problem for the casino buses from Manhattan that drop patrons off at the Racino, they said.
Another left turn they hope to eliminate is at Woodhaven and Jamaica Avenue to replace that turn in both directions, they are proposing to add a turn on 85th and 86th roads.
Ruben Ramales, a Woodhaven resident, said the turn heading southbound makes sense because it is not far from Jamaica but northbound does not because there is a huge distance to cover if you are trying to get on Jamaica Avenue.
“The last left turn you could have made would have been on Atlantic Avenue and that’s if you got on the service road,” he said. “If you missed the service road, your last turn would be two blocks south of that.”
The next SBS workshop will be on April 23 at Queens Metropolitan High School in Forest Hills.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.