Dear Electeds and Community Representatives:
Please accept the following as both a formal complaint and ask in regards to the City’s planned changes for transportation in our neighborhood, submitted on behalf of residents living in Western Queens, including those living in Astoria, Ravenswood, Queensbridge and Woodside Houses.
First, the most recent draft plan for the bus redesign in Queens eliminates the Q103 line.
This is unacceptable. The Q103 is a critical link between Astoria, Ravenswood and Queensbridge Houses, and residents use it regularly to visit friends, access resources, attend events, shop at Costco, and more. The elimination of this line would create further hardship for the seniors living in these communities, for whom walking to 21st Street is far and arduous. Eliminating the Q103 is out of the question. This cannot happen. If any changes are to be made to this line, they should increase the number of buses so we are not waiting 20-30 minutes for a bus, and they should extend the line so that it connects with the N/W line at the Astoria Boulevard Stop on 31st Street.
Second, the NYCEDC appears to be moving forward with the BQX, a project that communities all along the route have vehemently opposed from the beginning. If it were to move forward, this project would create havoc and hardship for our community members along this route, including residents, small businesses and retail, LaGuardia students, and more.
In tearing up the road to put in the tracks and other related infrastructure, construction would cause excessive noise, make sidewalks less accessible, cause undue traffic, obstruct access to existing transit, parks and other resources, place undue stress on existing infrastructure, disrupt existing businesses, and undoubtedly cause other unknown disruptions. In turn, these conditions may contribute to an exodus of residents and businesses, which ultimately erodes communities through attribution and invites more over development, feeding the cycle of land grabs, displacement and escalating land values.
Moreover, this route doesn’t bring any benefit to the community. According to our transit survey, traveling along the waterfront from Queens to Brooklyn is not a common route. Instead, residents are more likely to travel east-to-west, or even southeast to eastern Brooklyn. In addressing these needs, residents preferred extending and improving transit options that already exist, meaning more bus lines and buses and subway cars. Residents also recognized that there already exists north-south options. These include the buses along Vernon and 21st Street, and the G train.
Further still, there has been no guarantee that this trolley would be integrated into the existing transportation ecosystem. If free transfers or unlimited cards are not accepted, or additional fares or higher fares are required, this mode of transit will be prohibitive for the communities the project’s promoters use to justify it. This is further concerning given that, if ever completed, the trolley promises to disrupt existing transportation options, like the buses, that are integrated and heavily used.
Needless to say, we are STILL in complete opposition to the BQX project, and if possible, more opposed than ever. It is disrespectful for the city to revive this plan, given that communities across the two boroughs were united in their disdain and opposition.
Taken together, these decisions around transportation in our neighborhoods are confounding. How can the City justify the BQX project – which communities immediately banded together in opposition to – on the basis of transportation equity, while eliminating an critical transit line that serves the same communities they claim to want to help.
Instead, we implore you support your communities by PUBLICLY opposing both the BQX project and the elimination of the Q103 bus line. We also ask that you advocate repurposing any public money intended for the BQX towards improving and expanding the bus lines that serve Queens NYCHA residents.
Doing so tomorrow, would be a good way to honor Amazon’s decision NOT to come to LIC, and to show your continued commitment to the communities of Western Queens.
Please confirm receipt of this complaint, and tell us how you will address the concerns and needs of your communities.
Justice For All Coalition
Long Island City Coalition
Hunter’s Point Civic Association
Queens Anti-Gentrification Project
Stop Sunnyside Yards
Queens DSA Housing Working Group
Woodside on the Move
Queens Neighborhood United