Queens Residents Oppose Loss of Parking for Bus Rapid Transit

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Trend Watch: New York City Community Boards and civic groups opposing progressive transportation projects on the grounds that they interfere with car owners' on-street parking and double-parking privileges. Last week, while DOT was catching flack in Brooklyn for its plan to stripe bike lanes on Brooklyn's 9th Street, Community Board 13 in Queens was putting up a fight over the removal of parking spaces for a new Bus Rapid Transit on Merrick Boulevard. In the Bronx, Coop City residents were calling BRT plans "a recipe for disaster."

The Queens Chronicle reports:

Transit officials say the New York City Bus Rapid Transit system will be a commuter's dream. With fewer stops, dedicated lanes and on-board technology that can communicate with stoplights to clear right of way for the buses, advocates hope to create a quick and more convenient mode of transportation that will beat driving to work.

But with a pilot route scheduled to begin on Merrick Boulevard in the fall, some residents are voicing concerns about the impact the buses might have on local merchants and businesses.

The buses will use dedicated lanes during peak hours, according to Ted Orosz, Bus Rapid Transit project manager for New York City Transit. The change will be accompanied by more police enforcement to prevent motorists from parking in the dedicated lanes during operating hours.

"We already don't have enough parking," said Bess DeBetham, a member of Community Board 13 and a local business advocate. "Elderly people going to see the doctor can't even double park to see the doctor right now. Now having a bus stop in front, that's going to have an impact on business."

Photo: SuperEvilBrian/Flickr