Astoria, Featured, Long Island City, Transportation
Feb 11, 2016

Trains and Automobiles, Ferries and Bikes – Queens Transportation News You Can Use

Did you hear the news? Earlier this week, concerned neighbors rallied together to demand the MTA give the 7 train a “top-to-bottom review,” similar to the ones performed previously on (…)

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Image source: Adam_T4 via the WHA Flickr Pool

Image source: Adam_T4 via the WHA Flickr Pool

Did you hear the news? Earlier this week, concerned neighbors rallied together to demand the MTA give the 7 train a “top-to-bottom review,” similar to the ones performed previously on the F, G and L lines. There is a lot of aggravation out there about the current performance of that line, and if you’ve ever had to take the 7 on a regular basis, you know what I’m talking about.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer led the charge, outraged at the constant delays, skipped stations, and dangerously overcrowded platforms, not to mention the sardine-like atmosphere in the cars themselves at certain stations. Yes, yes, people know that the MTA is working on the line in an effort to bring it a modern signal system, allowing for more cars to travel the rails. But people are fed up right now. Status: “stick a fork in me.”

Perhaps they shouldn’t complain because the MTA is putting in the work to make things better, but the reality is that people are tired of the unpleasant experiences they’re having these days. I know a number of people that follow the 7 Train Blues Facebook group, and find the accuracy regarding the 7 train status at any time to be more accurate than what the MTA puts out. And I think that is part of the problem—inferior communication by the MTA.

Transportation is been the talk of the town lately. Here are a handful of other related articles on this topic, especially ICYMI originally.

DOT’s Astoria Park Safety Plan Calls for 3 Protected Bike Lanes.

shore-blvd-changes-bikes-cars-peds-astoria-queens

Graphic credit: DOT

Perhaps even more contentious a topic than the 7 train’s performance is the topic of Shore Blvd. Talk about strong opinions. Last month Streetsblog wrote about the recent DOT plan for the road, which essentially makes it a one-way street:

DOT’s project would create more room for pedestrians and cyclists by shifting the bikeway [from Astoria Park] into the street, replacing the east-bound travel lane, and adding curb extensions on the river side of the street to shorten pedestrian crossings.

Our local Assembly Member, Aravella Simotas, suggested that cars be completely removed from Shore Blvd, but you know that did not go well. There are some very strong voices that loudly oppose that plan, which led to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg rejecting the plan. So, it won’t happen… at least right now. I expect at some point in the future the street will be closed to cars.

Other improvements to the area that DOT is considering are:

  • Daylight intersections around Astoria Park’s borders, which will make it safer for pedestrians to cross.
  • Add speed bumps by the intersection of Ditmars Blvd and 19th Street, the location where Betty DiBiaso was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
  • Create a two-way protected bike lane on 20th Avenue between Shore Boulevard and 37th Street, which will narrow the street (traffic calming measure).
  • Transform the current buffered one-way bike lane into a two-way protected lane; to do this, they’ll move the bike lane to the south side of the street. A motor vehicle lane will be removed as a result, eliminating conflicts with buses, lessening the opportunity cars have to speed, and pedestrians will have a shorter distance to cross.

Mayor de Blasio to Propose Streetcar Line Linking Brooklyn and Queens.

brooklyn-streetcar-mockup

Yep, it looks like it’s closer to coming true—a streetcar near the waterfront, linking Queens and BK, and DeBlasio seems to be into the idea. We wrote about the BQX last month, and since they we’ve heard various opinions. Some Astorians we’ve spoken to think it’s a terrible, wasteful idea, and others love it and can’t wait for it to be a reality. But nobody can deny that we need more options when it comes to public transportation in NYC.

Interestingly enough, just this morning there was a story on NPR about how young and old alike are opting to live an urban life without owning a car. Two notable quotes: “Honestly, at this point, it just doesn’t really seem worth it.”—Peter Rebecca (25), on owning a car; and “It’s quite a bit expensive, because you have to have insurance. The last two years, I use public transportation and I really enjoy it because it’s cheap and it’s reliable everywhere you’re gonna go.”—Raul Chavez (48). These folks are in Chicago, but we imagine plenty of New Yorkers feel similarly.

In NYC, transit patterns certainly have shifted, at least a bit; not everyone wants to simply go into Manhattan. Queens-Brooklyn travel is on the rise and will likely increase.

Bikes! On the topic of bikes, we’d like to remind you that Citibike is up and running in LIC. This is a terrific option for those who can handle riding a bike in the area, and will be something of an even more realistic option once temperatures warm up.

citibike-lic-queens-map

A clickable map is here, too.

Ferry! On the topic of the ferry dock planned for Astoria, it’s interesting to see that NY Water Taxi just raised its wages. $15 is the name of the game for all 200 employees there. Perhaps they think this could sway DeBlasio’s decision on who to hire for the new Citywide Ferry service, a decision he’ll make in the coming weeks.

No. 7 subway train riders demand better service from MTA at Queens rally [NYDN]
DOT’s Astoria Park Safety Plan Calls for 3 Protected Bike Lanes [Streetsblog]
Mayor de Blasio to Propose Streetcar Line Linking Brooklyn and Queens [NYT]
Like Millennials, More Older Americans Steering Away From Driving [NPR]
NY Water Taxi raises wages [Capital NY]

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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