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The Public Ought To Know

April 17, 2015
By Corey Bearak

Efforts to improve bus service in one corridor must not drive bad impacts off-site

Last month the City's Department of Transportation (“DOT”) announced its plan for Select Bus Service (“SBS”) on Woodhaven Boulevard (“Woodhaven”).  Interestingly, Woodhaven varies in its configuration throughout much of its route; the roadway's variance limits any ability to uniformly deliver three lanes of traffic throughout its length. 

It some cases it features a wide grand boulevard with center median and services roads.  In others, it narrows to avoid a major street (Atlantic Ave.) and two LIRR crossings. 

This makes interesting how DOT opts to address Woodhaven's existing use as a route from southern Brooklyn and Southeast Queens to reach northwest and north Queens, and to connect with the Long Island Expressway to reach points east and west. Other routes including the Brooklyn-Queens and the Van Wyck Expressways already endure congestion most times of the day.  Before implementing the new plan, it makes sense to ensure any effort to provide better transit for those who already use buses and might get attracted to it from cars introduces no significant adverse on transport including freight commerce to JFK Airport.

As the Woodhaven corridor gains SBS features, new traffic patterns off-corridor could slow traffic and impact bus service along other routes.  Local residents and others concerned get four workshop opportunities this month to discuss concerns, including on a block by block basis.  One took place April 16 (Union Tpke to Rockaway Blvd.). The others: April 23 (Queens Blvd. to Union Tpke.), April 29 (Cross Bay Blvd.) and April 30 (The Rockaways).

 Efforts to improve public transit – to build new capacity, must deliver enhancements on balance throughout the transit network, not shift or introduce issues elsewhere.  Some critics vociferously argue DOT's current plan fall short. How will the affected Community Boards react to this proposal presented as a service upgrade?  DOT must show positive impacts along Woodhaven and no significant adverse impacts offsite from any traffic diversion.

*Corey Bearakcan be reached at StrategicPublicPolicy.com.  Find his ebook, The Public Ought To Know, at Kindle, Nookand Apple iBooks.

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