Despite the best efforts of mass transit naysayers in one of the largest hubs in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Jan. 19 would be the official start date for the Main Street busway pilot in Flushing.
After Queens Supreme Court Judge Kevin Kerrigan slapped aside a temporary restraining order filed by business owners along the corridor, the city Department of Transportation plans to move ahead with the dedicated bus lanes between Sanford and Northern Boulevard, threats for an appeal be damned.
“Mass transit is the present and future of this city. New Yorkers deserve better bus service, and today I’m proud to transform the way New Yorkers access an iconic Queens neighborhood,” de Blasio said. “Successes like the 14th Street Busway in Manhattan and the Jay Street Busway in Brooklyn have proven that these initiatives work. I can’t wait to build on this project and expand faster, more reliable transit options to even more neighborhoods this year.”
Daily bus ridership through the transit hub linking up to 11 bus lines with the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington Line and the Flushing-Main Street Station on the No. 7 train was recorded at 155,000 daily, and this improvement will serve to speed up the commutes of these straphangers in a post-COVID-19 city.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, one of the most important objectives of this Administration is to keep New Yorkers moving safely, and buses have played a critical role,” acting DOT Commissioner Margaret Forgione said. “Since the start of the pandemic, buses have transported commuters, including essential frontline workers, between their homes, workplaces and vibrant commercial districts around the five boroughs.”
The Flushing Chinese Business Association and attorney Randall Eng launched their attempt to halt the city’s proposal over the summer, and much like litigation against the 14th Street busway and the Fresh Pond Road bus lanes, did not pass the smell test in court.
Eng said in an interview with amNewYork Metro on Jan. 5 that they would be seeking an appeal.
“We have seen over and over that as bus speeds go up, ridership goes up,” Craig Cipriano, President of the MTA Bus Company, said. “Bus priority is essential throughout the city. New Yorkers demand and deserve more efficient commutes with shorter travel times.”
The busway through one of the most congestion choked roadways in the city is part the mayor’s larger plan to speed the commutes of 750,000 New Yorkers as part of the Better Buses Restart plan announced in June 2020.