Does Rockaway need more dollar vans? A letter recently sent to Community Board 14 District Manager Jon Gaska by the Department of Transportation requests feedback on a proposed commuter van service that would operate from Beach 108th to Mott Avenue.
In a letter dated July 11, NYCDOT’s Christina Blackston detailed the proposal for the commuter van service, which would run along Shore Front Parkway from Beach 108th to Beach 73rd Street and continue onto Beach Front Road to Beach 67th Street, then would turn left to Rockaway Freeway and would continue to run downtown via the Freeway and Beach Channel Drive to Mott Avenue. The proposed service would allow for up to 20 vans to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long. There would likely be no designated stops like a bus but would function as an express service between the ferry area and downtown Far Rockaway. The service would be operated by AJAP Trailways LLC, which has an address listed in Cedarhurst.
The letter was sent to request feedback on the proposal. “This is to notify you that the New York City Department of Transportation is reviewing an application for a new proposed service van authority from AJAP Trailways LLC. Your written comments in support or in opposition to this service will enable NYCDOT to determine the public convenience and necessity for the service,” the letter said.
As the letter was shared on the Friends of Rockaway Beach Facebook page, the overwhelming feeling was that this service would not be convenient or necessary. In a poll on the page, more than 500 people said they were opposed to the idea, while only about 70 said they were in favor of it. Those in opposition cited traffic issues in the summer, congestion caused by dollar vans in other areas of the peninsula and a history of reckless driving among van drivers. Many also said the service would be unnecessary with trains, busses and even a free ferry shuttle pilot that is underutilized from the ferry landing to Far Rockaway, already in place. Those in favor suggested the service would reduce the need for private vehicles and would be a good form of transportation around the concessions.