Thursday, April 8, 2010

MTA Urged to Reconsider Shift in Q10 Bus Line by Howard Koplowitz >

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Nathan Gray of the city Department of Transportation presents two plans that would add parking spaces to 156th Avenue in Howard Beach. Photo by Howard Koplowitz

Community Board 10 told MTA Bus to think more about its plan to reroute a portion of the Q10 bus line from 131st Street to 130th Street after 130th Street homeowners said they opposed the proposal at the board’s meeting last week.

Robert Lei, deputy director of service design and operations planning for MTA Bus, said 131st Street is a narrow street that makes it difficult for two buses to pass each other in opposite directions and that the road is out of the way for the Q10 route, which goes from Kew Gardens to John F. Kennedy International Airport using Lefferts Boulevard.

The Q10 has the highest ridership of the 80 bus routes operated by MTA Bus, Lei said.

“We think [130th Street] is the better street for the bus to run on,” he said, noting that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would save money from the change because the buses could run 1 1/2 minutes faster.

He said 130th Street would avoid extra turns for the bus and bus drivers would have improved visibility because the street is wider than 131st Street. Of the 1,260 Q10 riders who use the bus stops on 131st Street, Lei said 8 percent will have a shorter walk to proposed bus stops on 130th Street, 44 percent will have the same walking distance and 47 percent will have a longer walk to the stop.

Lei said MTA Bus hopes to implement the plan in late June.

Martha Taylor-Butler, an aide to state Assemblywoman Michele Titus (D-Far Rockaway), said she initially thought the MTA’s plan was a good idea, but said she changed her mind after realizing it would be difficult for Q10 riders to transfer to the Q9 at Rockaway Boulevard and 131st Street.

Bianca Peebles, a 130th Street resident, disputed Lei’s claims that the road was wider than 131st Street, arguing there are three schools on the street, which leads to double- and triple-parked cars when the schools open and close for the day.

“You need to go out there at 3 p.m. when school is coming out,” Peebles told Lei. “I think it’s not a good idea.”

CB 10 approved a motion for MTA Bus to reconsider the plan and urged the agency to talk to more 130th Street residents about how they feel about the proposal.

The board also approved a plan that would add more parking spaces to a Howard Beach street.

Nathan Gray of the city Department of Transportation said the agency’s Highway Design Unit drew up two plans for 156th Avenue between 77th and 78th streets that would allow for parking on both sides of the road.

The first proposal would put a concrete median in the middle of 156th Avenue with painted stop bars at 78th Street and 156th Avenue and Amber Street and 156th Avenue. The plan provides for 14 parking spaces — eight on the north side of the street and six on the south side.

The second proposal was the same as the first except there would be seven tree pits along the concrete median, Gray said.

“This is a good alternative to provide parking” on the street while also controlling speeding, which had been a concern for the DOT, Gray said.

Four homeowners who attended CB 10’s meeting said they were in favor of the second proposal.

The board approved the second plan in a voice vote.

Gray said the plan would be sent to the citywide concrete unit for installation, which could take between eight and 12 months.