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THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2016
The Rockaway Times
STOP DOT!
By Allan Rosen
The NYC Department of
Transportation (DOT) is out of
control. Since Mayor de Blasio
gave Commissioner Trotten-
berg permission last year to ig-
nore communities when Vision
Zero is involved, DOT has been
steamrolling their proposals
without community partici-
pation. Examples are traffic
changes necessitating the re-
routing of the Q54 in Woodhav-
en and the B36 in Sheepshead
Bay. Rockaway may be next.
The Sheepshead Bay commu-
nity overwhelmingly rejected
DOT’s proposals last June, and
today, they are reality.
DOT is once again asking us
just to trust them that their pro-
posals will make streets safer
whenmany believe the opposite
is true. Not only will the streets
become more dangerous, but
bus commuters will also be in-
convenienced. I won’t bore you
with the details. If you want to
read more about what is hap-
pening in Sheepshead Bay just
go to Change.org and search
for B36 to add your voice.
The MTA is an innocent vic-
tim here because the street
traffic changes forced by DOT
is requiring the bus reroute
changes. However, unlike in
the past when the MTA was
able to express its disagree-
ments with DOT, for example
when the Times Square pedes-
trian plaza was built, the MTA
is no longer able to disagree
because the DOT Commission-
er is now on the MTA Board.
The MTA had complained
that the Times Square pedes-
trian plaza added 20 minutes
to bus running times costing
them more money, but is not
objecting to the Sheepshead
Bay proposal which forces pas-
sengers to walk an additional
block to access the subway and
places taxicabs directly in front
of the subway entrance where
the buses used to stop. We
need to make travel easier for
bus passengers, not more diffi-
cult. Having the DOT Commis-
sioner on the MTA Board is a
conflict of interests. This needs
to change.
Something else that needs to
change is that we need more
transparency from the MTA. Its
Operations Planning Divisions
(NYCT and MTA Bus) decide
how much service bus routes
receive. Their decisions are
made in secret. Last Labor Day
passengers waited up to one
hour and three quarters for the
Q35 when returning home to
Brooklyn. Green Lines, the for-
mer operator of the bus route,
had added extra buses on the
Brooklyn - Riis Park portion of
the route on summer weekends
which has the overwhelming
majority of bus passenger traf-
fic. The MTA, since they took
over operations in 2004, elim-
inated that. They also added
stops increasing demand. Yet
the Planning Units believe ser-
vice is adequate on summer
and holiday weekends. How
can that be?
Could they be averaging
passenger loads on rainy days
when the buses are nearly
empty with overflowing loads
on hot summer beach days to
conclude the service is ade-
quate? I can’t think of another
explanation. If the MTA shared
their methodology with us
forthrightly, we might obtain
the answer. However, like DOT,
their motif operandi is - Trust
us because we are the profes-
sionals and we know what is
best for you because you do
not have the ability to think for
yourselves.
Yet they make mistakes in
their analyses all the time
because of just plain sloppi-
ness and being lazy. DOT did
not even bother to run a spell
check in one of their SBS doc-
uments misspelling the word
“Glossary” as “Glossery” not
only in the text of a report, but
in a big bold heading. They
also inaccurately measured the
width of Woodhaven Boule-
vard, exaggerating its width to
add justification to their erro-
neous conclusions.
The MTA, when justifying
their 2010 bus service cut-
backs, measured walking dis-
tances as the crow flies as if
bus passengers were able to
walk through buildings and
cross highways to seek alter-
natives so a walk of ¾ mile
was shown as a ¼ mile walk.
They also ignored topogra-
phy in their analyses. Another
time they confused customers
making a round trip with pas-
sengers making a one-way trip
leading to erroneous conclu-
sions.
However, there is a bright
spot. Unlike the planners at
DOT and the MTA who are
not willing to listen, the MTA’s
bus road operations unit is
and really wants to do a good
job. I have had discussions
with them about the Q35 and
I was assured that 30 addition-
al bus trips will be added to
the Q35 this summer as need-
ed. I am not exactly sure what
that means since the summer
budget the MTA recently made
public does not show planned
changes to Q35 service. We will
have and wait and see what
happens.
Allan Rosen is a former Di-
rector of Bus Planning for MTA
NYCT and a member of the
Queens Public Transit Com-
mittee
Got an idea to improve trans-
portation in the City or Rock-
away? Send your 500 word
article to RickHoran@Smarter-
Streets.org.
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