Our Community

Needs Our

Subways and Buses

A strong transportation network is more equitable, increases mobility, cuts congestion and sharply reduces pollution—all while saving money.

Safe and strong public transportation enables our seniors to maintain their autonomy and age in place. It allows our children to take their first steps toward independence. Even before I became chair of the Fix Northern Boulevard campaign, each morning I witnessed how our local middle school students were left stranded on Northern Boulevard and 90th Street as bus after bus, filled to capacity, passed them by. 

We need improved bus service. On December 30th 2019, I was excited to read the MTA’s 400 page Queens Bus Redesign. I was hoping for new dedicated bus lanes, camera enforced violations, bus transit signal priority and enhanced service. Then I saw the proposed map. The “redesign” eliminates crucial service that is a lifeline to so many in our community:  It cuts the Q49, which is a main connecter between East Elmhurst, upper Jackson Heights and the hub; it truncates the Q32 to Manhattan, it re-routes the Q33 from 74th Street; and it even takes away the bus to the beach, the Q53, which is the only SBS service in our neighborhood and provides a quick one-seat ride to a dozen neighborhoods between here and Rockaway Park. 

These cuts will strand our seniors, our mobility impaired, and our neighbors who are traveling with small children in strollers or carrying packages and other supplies. Buses are 100% accessible yet under this “redesign” buses are now being deployed only to  bring us to inaccessible local stations. Even many of our neighbors who live within walking distance of a local station prefer taking the bus to the main 74th Street, Roosevelt Ave. hub where there are many more options: elevators, escalators, express trains and other connecting buses.  

Jim Burke and Nuala O'Doherty-Naranjo direct action on the Q49 bus

As these cuts have been announced our leadership out of Albany has been mostly silent. Where are they now when we need protection from these punitive cuts?  Why did the MTA think that they could just eliminate the transportation network in our neighborhood? Why did our local elected officials let this happen? We do not have time to wait for answers. So, with a group of transportation advocates, we hit the bus stops. We passed out over 15,000 flyers. We rode the buses and spoke to the people. We brought hundreds of riders, our neighbors,  to each community meeting. And we won’t stop until the MTA reverses these senseless and punitive cuts to our bus service.

While happy that the MTA is planning on spending millions of dollars to refurbish the 82nd Street train station, I was aghast to find that they did not include an elevator.  The train station closest to our largest hospital, a level one trauma center, was being re-done without an elevator. I started a petition demanding that the MTA include elevators in the redesign.

When I go to Albany I will make sure devastating cuts are called out BEFORE they are implemented, or even proposed.

I know how important buses and subways are to a thriving community.  Our neighborhood transit must be fully funded. I will insist on transparency so we see how the MTA spends each dollar, but also how they make decisions. Strengthening our transportation network is key to keeping our neighborhood strong. 

Inside crowded Q49 bus in Jackson Heights NY