Money is the real star of Queens’ bus network overhaul – Streetsblog New York City
Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy the MTA fewer headaches as it rolls out its Queens bus redesign.
In its second attempt to straighten out the borough’s spaghetti bus routes and consolidate stops that are too close, the transit agency abandoned its previous “revenue-neutral” approach to speeding up buses and increasing the traffic. So where the previous attempt created winners and losers, the no longer revenue-neutral approach does something familiar to any fan of a big-market sports team: paper on possible gaps with wads of cash ringing and stumbling.
But who knows? It could work.
“If it’s ‘throwing money at it’ then maybe that’s a good thing because they need to invest in bus service in Queens,” said the director of policy and communications at Riders Alliance, Danny Pearlstein.
This time around, with the simple addition of money, the MTA appears to be achieving its goal of simplifying and straightening out bus routes, while addressing the strongest concerns from the first round:
- Remember how residents of Community Board 6 were upset that Q23 was split into two routes and leave 69th Avenue? Q23 is still redirected in a kind of L-shape that connects East Elmhurst to Fresh Meadows via 108th Street and Union Turnpike. But a brand new Q14 will cover the cut slice of East Elmhurst and bring riders all the way to Fresh Pond. And an all-new Q73 will pick up stops at 69th Avenue in Forest Hills and travel all the way to Queensborough Community College, mostly along Jewel Avenue and 73rd Avenue.
- Remember how upset the residents of Jackson Heights were really that the Q66 no longer ran past Woodside or the mix of buses no longer went to the Roosevelt Avenue subway hub? Q66 will now go all the way to Long Island City, but in an effort to keep the road straight, it will run along Northern Boulevard. The cut sections of 35th Avenue and 21st Street will now be supported by the new Q63 which connects Queensboro Plaza and Elmhurst via Northern Boulevard and Broadway. Additionally, Q32, Q33, Q49, and Q52 all route to 74th Street. And Q53, which was on the chopping block due to providing a double serve to Q52, comes out of said block.
- Remember how State Senator John Liu was unhappy with how the revenue-neutral nature of the foreground had resulted in the abolition of Q1 and Q36 buses and the consolidation of three express bus routes in Whitestone? Well, thanks to new funds, Little Neck now has an urgent service, the type of route focusing on transporting people to transit centers, to Hollis and Jamaica with the brand new Q45. But that’s not all! The new Q57 local route will take people between the eastern Queens border and the Rockaway Boulevard A train, via the Jamaican hub. And the new Q82 will provide state-of-the-art service between the UBS Arena, home of the hated islanders, and Jamaica. At the same time, the Q1 is back and will embrace the cousins of the Q45 and Q82, to fill the gaps left by non-stop service from peak lines. QM2, QM20 and QM32 are no longer bound, although each bus drops two or three minutes on its peak frequency.
The decision to throw money at things and build on top of the existing network instead of wiping the slate clean is most evident at the Jamaica Transit Hub. Where the last plan reduced the number of bus routes serving the hub to 14, the new plan foresees 28 lines converging on the area, with a strong emphasis on peak lines bringing passengers from the east and south. of Queens.
It’s amazing what the MTA can accomplish when the city’s DOT creates two successful bus lanes for the area.
The money also means that even if the MTA creates 19 new bus routes from whole fabric or through consolidation, the agency can afford to run the majority of its local service every 10 minutes or less, a level that ‘she considers “high frequency”. Forty-five of the 85 buses on offer have advances of 10 minutes or less during weekday rush hours in the morning and evening, and 26 do so all day. Only eight routes will be outside of this 10-minute window.
If there is a clear upgrade of this new plan, there is also the question of How? ‘Or’ What the redesign is presented. The first redesign attempt was ambitious, but in retrospect it had the ambition to attempt to build a bike while trying to ride it at the same time. The decision to rename each route and give vague directions to where stops were too much to put on people’s plates, especially when trying to offer single-seat rides turning into multi-seat rides to an audience. skeptical.
MTA President and CEO Janno Lieber promised Tuesday that there is no cap on how much the agency is willing to spend on the overhaul. This promise may be tested when riders on one line or another press for more frequent service or better bus stop amenities or restored stops, and someday in the future it might be a financial calamity for lines deemed “inessential”.
For now, the revamp relies on the trench warfare of determining which bus stops survive and which fall to the side of the road, which the transit agency lists on each route profile. The MTA’s opening gambit calls for consolidating 1,685 network stops and spacing local stops between 1,050 feet and 1,320 feet apart, which is below the European standard of 1,500 feet, but still more than the current average of 909 feet between stops in Queens.
“That balance is key to picking up speed,” Pearlstein said. “The problem is that the bus service has been allowed to deteriorate so far, people who really value speed have already been driven out of the system and found other ways to get around. So there is a core of people who depend on the bus service, who are not in a rush, but the system must be able to work so that everyone can potentially take the bus.
With meetings scheduled in all 14 community councils in Queens and the agency’s general willingness to appear before parastatals such as civic groups and business groups, planners and government liaisons will be on notice. But if the Bronx’s redesign is any guide, where the 400-stop consolidation increased the average distance between stops from 882 feet to 1,092, planners have built themselves wiggle room to restore some of the proposed reductions.