A Queens Bus Redesign Meeting is set for February 4th in Long Island City, the closest so far for Roosevelt Island. Showing up and speaking up matters. Be there.
Opinion by David Stone
Updated: RIOC, responding to resident requests agreed today to ferry passengers to and from tomorrow’s meeting. Board in front of PSD, 550 Main Street at 5:30.
Looking for feedback on planned changes, the MTA scheduled a series of local listening sessions around Queens. At the first, last week in Jackson Heights, leadership got an earful from angry residents.
“This is just a draft. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing is decided,”Soon to resign MTA President Andy Byford
The MTA reacted constructively, and that’s a good sign for Roosevelt Island.
It’s a given that those most upset show up for meetings, demanding to be heard. But many others applaud the Queens Bus Redesign as needed change for an outdated system.
Still, few here applaud the plans so far.
Related: Roosevelt Island Transit Choices
Quick Historical Aside
While the MTA’s bus redesign for Roosevelt Island makes some sense, in perspective, it heals a problem the agency created by making it worse.
Until a few years ago, Q102 buses alternated routes along Main Street. Some turned north off the bridge; others went south. That broadly answered mass transit needs for workers at Coler and Goldwater Hospitals, among other things.
But then, for undisclosed reasons, the MTA changed. All Q102s went north to Coler before completing a full circle through town.
The most significant effect was ending direct MTA bus service from the F Train subway to Coler. That, in turn, sent hospital workers onto RIOC Red Buses, a purpose for which they were never intended.
Both Manhattan Park and The Octagon assist RIOC with Red Bus costs because both locations’ residents depend on them critically. But overcrowding caused to some extent by MTA rerouting strains resources for those needing them the most.
The Queens Bus Redesign worsens that by ending service north of the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Coler employees, even those arriving by bus, will have no mass transit choice. Nor will Octagon residents.
All will cram together on RIOC Red Buses.
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Hope for the QT78 Bus in the Redesign
According to the MTA Queens Bus Redesign, the QT78 replaces the Q102 but only partly. The map shows it traveling only as far as the subway station in the middle of Southtown before returning to the bridge for an exit.
Think what you will about that plan, a lack of brain power is clear.
For example, a return to the bridge from the subway station requires turning around adjacent to The Tram… without stopping there.
Did the MTA even talk to its drivers?
But there’s hope in the QT78. QT, after all, stands for “Queens Temporary.”
Let’s take president Byford at his word and deliver local sentiment on February 4th.
Get to know Roosevelt Island in history…
- The Queensboro Bridge / Greater Astoria and Roosevelt Island Historical Societies
- Roosevelt Island (Images of America) / Roosevelt Island Historical Society
- Damnation Island / Stacy Horn
Queens Bus Redesign Meeting Details
Where: Jacob Riis Settlement, 1025 41 Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
For now, the Q102 is your best bet. Board anywhere for an eventual ride up 36th Ave.
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.