April 2, 2015
By Corey Bearak
Plan that Flushing Bus Terminal before times runs out
An early column in this space covered transit and transportation planning; some others discussed bus service the MTA capital plan and options to fully fund the plan. In almost every discussion – formal and informal – I participate around transit planning issues, the benefits of a central hub near rail and/ or subways to ease access to buses comes up.
Nowhere remains more needy of this important public transit amenity than downtown Flushing, Queens. Many bus lines terminate in the area of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street with layovers on adjacent streets. Those layover spaces remove parking or through lanes, spaces for deliveries to the many stores, restaurants and other business in this economically thriving part of New York, far from the Manhattan's central business district. The reliance on narrower side streets in bus planning in and around Flushing's downtown certainly impacts bus service. Proposals for Select Bus Service such a route connecting Flushing's downtown with Jamaica's offers no remedy here.
In 2010, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056 then led by now Council Member I. Daneek Miller raised the need for a new Flushing terminal at an economic development breakfast hosted by the Assembly Member Grace Meng. The now Member Congress embraced the ATU's terminal recommendation addressing the media following that discussion with business leaders. Current ATU 1056 President Mark Henry raises the need for the terminal in public and private meetings.
All recognize how investments in transportation infrastructure keys growth in the economy and job creation. It behooves City Hall to work with the MTA to find a sound site for a central bus transit hub in downtown Flushing before development there makes siting all but impossible. This transit planning need certainly merits the same energies currently devoted to other public development efforts