ASTORIA – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris is calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to hold more in-person engagement in western Queens surrounding the Queens Bus Network Redesign plan. Senator Gianaris sent a letter to the agencies encouraging them to plan more events in their series of open houses.
“Queens commuters are heavily dependent on reliable bus service and any changes should inure to the benefit of riders,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “To know what works best for riders, the MTA and DOT must have more outreach to them throughout the borough, and especially in western Queens. I encourage these agencies to expand their public outreach plan accordingly.”
New York’s transit agencies are developing and implementing a plan to modernize bus routes throughout queens. The agencies have held a series of pop-up events and virtual workshops, as well as a current series of five in-person open houses across Queens to gauge public interest in the plan and solicit feedback. Of their in-person workshops, only one is being held in western Queens – in Jackson Heights.
Senator Gianaris’ full letter follows:
August 9, 2022
Janno Lieber, Chair
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
New York, NY 10017
Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner
New York City Department of Transportation
55 Water Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10041
Dear Chair Lieber and Commissioner Rodriguez:
I write to follow up on invitations my office has received to attend the Queens Bus Network Redesign open house meetings. While I appreciate the volume of outreach your agencies have done on this plan, I believe bus riders in all of Queens’ neighborhoods deserve the same opportunity to provide input and need more information and opportunities to comment. I ask that you consider holding further in-person engagement sessions throughout western Queens.
Your open house series, with language and ASL interpretation, provides an asset for community members who may not otherwise have time to engage in this critically important process. With the only session in western Queens being in Jackson Heights, neighbors in Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Woodside, and other areas are not easily able to attend and participate. By holding more of these open houses in distinct neighborhoods, you will get a stronger turnout from community members and even more valuable feedback.
I hope you will consider doing additional, neighborhood-specific meetings about this plan in the coming weeks and months. The additional comments you receive will be important to the plan, and our commuters deserve every opportunity for input on a project of this scale.
Senator Michael Gianaris
Deputy Majority Leader