January 20, 2009
The 30th Council District is comprised of the Queens neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.
As a City Councilmember I must address the MTA planned service reductions which unfairly burdens the residents of my district.
The elimination of the Q56, Q74, QM 23 bus routes, the reduction in service QM 24 and QM12 bus routes, the elimination of the Z train and the reduction in service to the J train.
Q56; The Q56 which runs down Jamaica Avenue, a vital business district, needs an MTA bus. The J train which runs above Jamaica Avenue should not be the only option for public transportation on Jamaica Avenue, since the elevated train stations are not handicap accessible and in some stations the stairs to the elevated J trains are in need of repairs and present dangers to commuters.
Q74 Bus for those going to Queens College, Townsend Harris, and John Bowne High Schools, the elimination of the Q 74 between Kew Gardens and Queens College means that the cost for a round-trip will become $10 since only one transfer is allowed. Three buses will be necessary: from Richmond Hill to Kew Gardens from Kew Gardens to Main Street and Union Turnpike and the Q20 or Q44 up Main Street to school or Queens College. In addition to students, there are many Richmond Hill commuters who take their kids to summer programs at Queens College or work at these sites. I recommend that the Q74 is not eliminated, and if elimination happens please extend the Q37 or Q10 to Queens College.
The elimination of the QM23, and the reduction of service of the QM24 and QM 12 will lengthen an already long commute for many residents. Our district residents that do not have direct access to the subway system need reliable express bus service into Manhattan
The elimination of the Z train and J-Skip Stop service will increase the length of time to get downtown making it unbearable for many. The E trains and F trains will become the only train option for many Richmond Hill residents making those trains even more overcrowded, and further crowding the Q10 and Q37 to Kew Gardens.
As a representative for the City, I oppose the increase of the monthly MetroCard from $81 to $105 and the proposed increase of Access-A-Ride doubling the current $2 fare to $4. We must do everything possible to encourage the use of mass transit and sustain a high quality of service but not at the cost of such extraordinary increases. We must charge a fair amount that does not overburden working people particularly at a time when many New Yorkers are experiencing employment hardships. Our seniors and the physically challenged who utilize the service of Access-A-Ride often live on the tightest of budgets and are finding it increasingly more difficult to live in this City.
I must also state that I believe that we have a very intelligent transit system and that I support the need to continuously reinvest in our system's infrastructure. I know the importance of rebuilding for current need and to prepare for the growing need of tomorrow.
While I support your plan for the Second Avenue Subway line and the East Side Access, you must hold the LIRR Third Track with an equal importance to fairly give Queens and Brooklyn residents who commute to Nassau and Suffolk Counties an option for rapid transit. These three projects are immense and only the LIRR Third Track will allow for a "reverse commute" and have any benefit for the growing number of people who live in the communities I represent. These three major capital projects mentioned above will take billions over the course of years before measurable real results happen.
Today I also bring to your attention the condition of much of the real estate owned by the MTA. I am speaking of areas abutting the right-of-ways, empty abandoned lots and sections that ring my neighborhoods that are contaminated areas. This real estate needs to be improved. The tracks identified as LIRR and utilized by private corporations for freight distribution run through Richmond Hill, Glendale, Ridgewood, and Middle Village. The property is poorly maintained and in dire need of beautification.
In addition to your financial troubles you must realize the broad deficit of property in my neighborhoods that could be improved. Please remember that our Queens neighborhoods are not just a doormat for commuters to Manhattan.