Assemblywoman Nily Rozic called for additional local
and express buses in her district, including the Main
Street corridor from Flushing to Jamaica.
Photo by Joe Marvilli.
BY JOE MARVILLI
Two Queens assemblymembers held a public oversight hearing to address the mass transit needs in their respective districts.
Assemblymembers Nily Rozic (D-Hillcrest) and Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park), along with James Brennan (D-Brooklyn), headed an Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions oversight hearing on the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program. Rozic and Goldfeder used the hearing to call for improved transit options in their neighborhoods.
Rozic stressed that bus transportation was essential for her district, as it is not served by any subway lines. She asked MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast for an update on the northeast Queens bus restoration study she secured funding for in this year’s State budget. As part of the study, the MTA will look at the effects of the 2010 service cuts, which removed 38 bus routes entirely and shortened 76 others.
The study, which will wrap up in April 2015, will determine transit needs beyond the restoration of the cut lines in northeast Queens.
“We have a lot of important needs in terms of local buses and express bus service. That’s restoring lines, but also creating new ones and adding additional service during high-peak hours,” Rozic said. “It’s also important to note that the de Blasio administration has made a promise to do 20 Select Bus Service lines across the City. I think it’s essential that one of them be in eastern Queens to help not just commuters to the City but also people traveling within Queens or to the Brooklyn or the Bronx.”
When it came to new bus service, the Assemblywoman stressed two key parts of her district in need of additional resources. She said the Main Street corridor needed a line to take people from Flushing to Jamaica. She added that Douglaston is a two-fare zone, meaning that residents need to take a bus to a train or two buses to get anywhere in the City.
“So much of the time is usually spent on the 2nd Avenue subway and East Side Access and not taking away from those important projects, it really is our transit-starved neighborhoods that need a lot more attention,” Rozic said. “It’s really essential that those communities be serviced first.”
Goldfeder’s focus was on restoring and increasing transit options between south Queens and the Rockaways. He asked Prendergast to extend the residency rebate for the Cross Bay Bridge toll to include neighboring communities like Ozone Park or Howard Beach, or for the toll to be eliminated for Queens residents.
The assemblyman also asked for improved A train service and ferry service. He said that an investment into public transit is an essential part of the Rockaways’ continued recovery from Superstorm Sandy.
“In the immediate aftermath of Sandy, we experienced firsthand the detrimental impact that the lack of public transit has on our families–in order to plan for our future growth, we must invest in vital transit infrastructure now,” he said.
Goldfeder also took time to praise the MTA for including the restoration of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line as part of its Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment Report.
In response, Prendergast outlined some key points of the MTA’s Capital Plan, including the replacement of 86 miles of subway track, the introduction of contactless fare technology, general maintenance and the addition of new routes for Select Bus Service. While the chairman’s prepared remarks did not specifically mention resources for eastern Queens, a MTA spokesman said the agency is going to provide answers to the legislators in the near future.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.