28 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 13, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
MTA public outreach lacking on Queens bus redesign proposals
Th e MTA’s rollout of its draft proposal to
completely redesign the Queens bus network
Story: Food Bazaar in Long Island City sells $2 million
Summary: Queens is playing its hand at the lottery this
week and coming up big. For the third time in seven
days, a major lottery winner has been announced in the
Reach: 17,420 (as of 2/10/20)
has been a dog and pony show since
the plan was released on New Year’s Eve.
Th e agency recently expanded its
“unprecedented public outreach” of presentations
and public workshops at
more than 20 locations around the borough.
However, the eff ort has been lacking
according to Rockaway resident Jim
Burke, who has been to a half dozen of
these public meetings as a safe streets and
public transit activist.
“We did the unprecedented public outreach.
Th ey did not,” Burke said. “When
this process began, my group distributed
15,000 fl yers on buses and bus stops
and for 2 ½ weeks no one ever heard of
the meetings. When people hear the MTA
say the eff ort is community-driven, they
At a recent rally against the plan at
Borough Hall, Councilman Donovan
Richards, who is running for borough
president, said, “Every pocket of Queens
is against this plan. Th ere was very little
real community input into this plan from
At an Astoria presentation last month,
the MTA’s chief of operations planning
admitted that the impact on transfers “was
not considered as much as it should’ve”
been. Th at is something real community
input into the proposals would have fi xed.
“Th ree buses instead of one to get to
your destination,” Burke said. “Now who
would say they would prefer three transfers
over a one seat ride.”
Burke was at the fi rst feedback meeting
in Jackson Heights on Jan. 15, when the
crowd was outraged there questions were
“Initially, we weren’t allowed to speak
but then Andy Byford arrived and started
taking questions,” Burke said. “Each subsequent
participation from the public.”
He’s been to meetings where participants
on paper and then a moderator chooses
which questions to ask and “she picks only
soft balls.” Burke has been to meetings in
Jackson Heights and Corona where the
MTA has brought along a single translator
who was overwhelmed by the crowd
and he has seen people taken aside from
their work group for a “one-on-one” consultation
“Th ey do everything they can to limit
dissension from spreading,” Burke said.
Th e “unprecedented public outreach”
by the MTA has been a sham since Byford
announced he was stepping down as transit
president last month.
Th e beleaguered agency should just
heed the call of the entire Queens delegation
the drawing board and amend this draft
and address the real concerns of Queens
PUBLISHER & EDITOR
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meeting has allowed for just limited
are told to write their questions
with an MTA offi cial.
to the City Council and go back to
JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
ANGELICA ACEVEDO, JENNA BAGCAL, KATRINA MEDOFF,
CARLOTTA MOHAMED, MAX PARROTT, BILL PARRY
CLIFF KASDEN, SAMANTHA SOHMER, ELIZABETH ALONI
JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
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Photo by Mark Hallum
The MTA public outreach sessions backing its eff orts to completely redesign the Queens bus network
have been a bust since Andy Byford met with bus riders in Jackson Heights.