WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES AUGUST 15, 2019 3
Holden clashes with DOT over bus lane
BY MARK HALLUM
Why did they bother reaching
out to Ridgewood?
That’s the question
Councilman Robert Holden asked of
city Transportation Commissioner Polly
Trottenberg in a letter condemning the
Department of Transportation (DOT)
for moving ahead with a proposed bus
lane on Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood
with purportedly little incorporation of
the community’s input.
Holden charged that recommendations
from the community to improve the
plan were virtually ignored, and that
the DOT’s community outreach on the
plan was little more than “window
Trottenberg acknowledge a list of
concerns from Holden in an Aug. 7 letter
that argued that the agency has taken
some recommendations into account
such as the hours of the bus lane.
“While I realize that you still have
ongoing questions, I would like to report
that we have heard your concerns
with regard to the hours of the bus
lane operation and will be reducing
the hours from 2 to 8 p.m. to 3 to 7 p.m.
Monday through Friday,” Trottenberg
wrote. “You can be assured that DOT
will monitor the conditions along the
corridor following the implementation
of our proposed plan and will be ready
to make adjustments, as needed.”
Holden called foul on the agency’s
outreach claim Trottenberg was only
acknowledging support from the
community and ignoring dissent by
referring to diff erent reactions at diff erent
levels of the Community Board.
Asking the DOT to consider
community recommendations as
alternatives to the bus lane for a few
months, Holden claimed that not phasing
in the proposal will cause bedlam in the
streets of Ridgewood.
“It is true that DOT engaged with the
community in numerous meetings aft er
announcing the bus lane proposal, but it
is clear that these meetings were nothing
more than window dressing,” Holden
said. “In your letter, you mentioned the
Community Board 5 Transportation
Committee vote, yet you conveniently
ignored the fact that the board as a
whole voted overwhelmingly against
the proposal, 28-6.”
Holden also believes that DOT’s
higher-ups made decisions without ever
visiting Fresh Pond Road and lacked an
understanding of minor situations such
as parking spots that are poorly placed,
slowing down traffi c.
“When I visited Fresh Pond Road on
multiple occasions with DOT Queens
Borough Deputy Commissioner Jason
Banrey and Borough Planner John
O’Neill, they both agreed that I off ered
sound solutions to the heavy traffi c,”
Holden continued. “Yet it seems that
their input was overruled by the central
DOT staff in Manhattan that has never
actually visited the site to see the issues
The seven-block corridor acts as one
of the few major north-south routes
between Ridgewood and Middle Village,
but average speeds of buses and likely
all other vehicles on the road has a
recorded average of about 3 mph.
DOT’s bus plan will consolidate bus
stops to make reduce the time buses
are at rest and the lane will also act as
a turn lane the agency has said, which
will increase fl ow. There will also be a
net gain in overnight parking along the
main road and side streets.
The bus lane will only be southbound
on Fresh Pond Road between
Metropolitan and Putnam avenues.
Part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Better
Buses” plan, the DOT projects the bus
lane could help increase bus speeds by
as much as 25 percent.
Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood. Photo: Max Parrott/QNS
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