The Queens Public Transit Committee (QPTC)
is presenting a movement and petition
is presenting a movement and petition
AGAINST the application of SBS (Select Bus Service) on Woodhaven Blvd
DATE: June 21, 2015
CONTACT: QPTC Chairman Philip McManus at: PhilAMcManus@gmail.com
or by phone at: 718-679-5309
The QPTC will be at the Bayswater meeting on Monday and will be available for comment at that time. The Bayswater Civic Association invited the QPTC to present a public presentation on our group and our ideas including QueensRail, ferry, subway, bus and roadway service on Monday, June 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm.
Please RSVP in advance with Philip McManus.
We, the users of Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, oppose the introduction of Select Bus Service (SBS), sometimes called Bus Rapid Transit, for the following reasons:
· SBS was pre-determined by the city and the Department of Transportation as the solution to traffic and transportation problems. Funds were allocated for SBS prior to the first Community Meeting where it was presented merely as an "alternative." There has been no meaningful community participation!
· Meetings and workshops were then held in which only the positive aspects of the plan were presented. One had to closely inspect the diagrams at the workshops to ascertain some of the negatives. Others were never disclosed.
SBS is Bad for Drivers:
· On the northern portion of Woodhaven, two of the eight thru lanes will become local lanes only, separated by new islands, which will narrow the lanes making it difficult to pass large trucks and buses.
· Two lanes will become bus lanes at all times. Right and left turn lanes will be eliminated slowing traffic.
· This means that at major intersections such as Metropolitan Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, and Rockaway Boulevard, 10 travel lanes will be reduced to 4 lanes for cars and trucks at all times. That's a 60 percent reduction in the capacity for traffic to enter and go through major intersections.
· 23 left turn movements on Woodhaven will be banned, in addition to the 60 that are already banned. You will be able to turn left about once every mile and probably not until the third turning cycle.
· All left turn lanes on Cross Bay will be eliminated, forcing you to change lanes to go straight, slowing traffic.
· Bus stops will be lengthened eliminating many parking spaces.
· At Metropolitan Avenue all left turn traffic will be redirected to the narrow residential Trotting Course Lane, which will be become a two-way street and will have to accommodate large trucks.
· Emergency response times will increase since emergency vehicles will get stuck behind buses picking up passengers at bus stops. They will have to cross to clogged lanes of traffic before being able to jump the divider into the opposing traffic lane. New trees will prevent them from easily crossing into the service roads.
· The new lower speed limit of 30 mph has already gone into effect on Woodhaven. It will increase travel times and expenses since speed cameras will issue large fines. Police officers with radar guns will be able to issue summonses to vehicles traveling at just 32 or 35 mph. The speed limit on the bridges may also be reduced.
· Travel times will double with heavy traffic at all times instead of only during rush hours while bus lanes will be largely unused. Your average speed will be reduced to 10 or 15 mph.
SBS is Bad for Bus Passengers:
· Promises of faster passenger travel are a myth. During the off-peak hours when there are few buses on the road and traffic currently moves rather quickly, bus travel times will increase. There isn’t a shred of evidence that travel times will be improved by 35% as alleged.
· A lower speed limit will mean buses will have to travel more slowly which will increase operating costs.
· Longer buses will mean fewer buses since service levels are based on crowding levels.
· Local Bus Service will be reduced as riders shift to Select Bus Service (SBS).
· It will be impossible for express and SBS buses to pass local buses at most bus stops during the rush hour.
· Fewer bus stops in Broad Channel and the Rockaways will result in longer walks to bus stops and will overcrowd beaches near remaining bus stops. Boardwalk businesses near Beach 105 Street will be harmed.
· Current SBS routes exhibit major problems that the MTA is keeping secret, such as broken fare machines that are not repaired in a month's time and passengers receiving fines in excess of $100 although the bus driver tells them they can board the bus. Pavement markings are not maintained and wear out after only one year.
· Ridership is down on in the past year on most SBS routes or fewer riders are paying their fare.
How Deception is Being Used to Promote SBS:
· None of the questions or requests for data from the public has been answered.
· One had to attend all four workshops to learn where all 23 left turning movements will be banned. DOT has not kept its promise to list on their website the locations where turns will be banned. Neither is there a list available of which bus stops will be removed.
· The width of Woodhaven Boulevard was exaggerated to falsely give the impression that lanes can be removed without any negative impacts.
· All publicity for the meetings was geared to bus riders, keeping drivers in the dark regarding proposed plans.
· Two new bus stops will be added in Ozone Park and the Q52 will be extended to Far Rockaway. Both changes will increase ridership and can be accomplished now without waiting for SBS. However, by delaying these changes, the increased ridership will be attributed to SBS making it appear to be a success.
Why You Should Sign This Petition
· The same powerful groups who support QueensWay (to rob us of repurposing the abandoned Rockaway Line also known as QueensRail) support SBS. It is a cunning plan to take away our time, freedom, and prosperity.
· QueensRail would greatly speed travel times as well as spur economic development. Yet it wasn't even included in the study of the Woodhaven Corridor.
· Faster bus and car travel times have been promised by reducing road capacity for cars and trucks and lowering speed limits. There has not been a shred of proof how this will be accomplished. Where is the data from the traffic and transit forecasting models? Why isn’t it being shared? We have not been dealt with honestly.
· The project cost increased from a $20 million initial cost to $231 million plus ongoing costs of at least $2 million per year. No one has explained how the additional monies will be spent or how spending ten times as much will increase the benefit tenfold. This is your tax money, not “free” federal money.
· SBS costs more to operate than traditional Local and Limited Service, primarily because of the high cost to guard against fare evasion, yet provides limited benefits and many disadvantages such as longer walks to bus stops. The B44 SBS has been such a failure that no first year assessment has been made public due to the fear of jeopardizing planned new routes. Paid ridership is down by 8% in the first year of operation.
· Queens Rail has been dismissed as too expensive when it could be built for not much more than what Queensway and Bus Rapid Transit would cost together. Contrary to claims, Queens Rail (the restoration of rail service to the Rockaway Beach Line) has NOT been extensively studied, openly, and fairly in comparison to the SBS: not like SBS/BRT, light rail, and subway in the Second Avenue Subway study. In short, Queens Rail has gotten the short shrift. What's fair and good for Manhattan should be fair and good for Queens.
I am signing this petition because we deserve to have Queens united through better transportation, not divided by a plan that greatly hurts drivers and businesses, while providing minimum if any benefits to bus riders.
Signed: ________________________________________ Date: ___/___/2015