What to Know
- Business owners throughout a busy stretch in the Ridgwood section of Queens are concerned over a proposed bus lane
- Many of these business owners rallied alongside lawmakers Thursday to ask the DOT to rethink the bus lane along Fresh Pond Road
- DOT plans to install the bus lane later this summer, saying it’s what’s best for the nearly 30,000 bus passengers who ride the route daily
Business owners throughout a busy stretch in the Ridgewood section of Queens are concerned over a proposed bus lane.
Many of these business owners rallied alongside lawmakers Thursday to ask the Department of Transportation to rethink the bus lane along Fresh Pond Road between Bleecker Street and 67th Avenue.
“The solution has to work for everyone,” Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said.
To speed up traffic flow – which around late afternoon tops about 3 miles per hour — the DOT wants a bus lane that restricts traffic from 2 to 8 p.m.
The bus depot near the Fresh Pond Road Train Station only adds to the congestion.
The idea of the bus lane, however, has some support.
A member of the Riders Alliance said: "It's time we promote buses' ability to efficiently lessen traffic, noise pollution, and air pollution."
However, those who don’t support the proposal, posted signs in store front windows and signed a petition.
“By having the bus lane, it’s going to obstruct parking for the people,” business owner Filippo Barone said.
He and others want the DOT to eliminate some parking spots, synchronize traffic lights and consolidate bus stops before adding the bus lane.
“We want to work with the city. We are a reasonable community. Right now the city is being very unreasonable with us,” Nolan said.
Council member Robert Holden shared similar sentiments in a statement that said in part: “Business owners, residents and the community board have all expressed support for these alternative measures, so it’s time for the DOT to listen and react accordingly. Rushing to install this bus lane despite legitimate concerns from the community is not constructive.”
However, in a statement, a DOT spokesperson said the department “has received this feedback and will take it into consideration for implementation. However, a robust solution is needed to fix the mobility problems on Fresh Pond Road that have plagued this commercial corridor.”
According to the DOT spokesperson, the proposal “this critical corridor will make traveling faster for all users, and will benefit businesses, motorists, and the 30,000 daily bus riders using this route.”
Additionally, the statement went on to say that the DOT worked closely with the business community to address their concerns and as a result are “adding loading zones and over 60 metered spaces on the side streets."
The DOT plans to install the bus lane later this summer, saying it’s what’s best for the nearly 30,000 bus passengers who ride the route every day.