Saturday, January 23, 2021

Main Street Busway In Queens Downtown Flushing Is Now In Full Swing

 By N Miller

A Northbound Q44 +SBS heading towards the Bronx Zoo
approaching Main St/38th-39th Avenues in the heart of
Flushing, Queens.

Just after seven months after the city first announced it, the Main Street Busway in Flushing, Queens has now come into fruition. It has taken a court case and months of pushback, but it was still done. The busway rolled out this past Tuesday. Cars are not allowed between Main Street/Northern Blvd and Stanford Avenue & Main Street/Kissena Blvd. So, this gives the buses and delivery trucks all of the priority along the corridor. Main Street & Roosevelt Avenue is the largest subway-to-bus transfer in the country. Flushing is served by the Q12, Q13, Q15, Q15A, Q16, Q17/LTD, Q19, Q20A/B, Q25/LTD, Q26, Q27/LTD, Q28, Q34, Q44-SBS, Q48, Q50LTD, Q58/LTD, Q65/LTD, Q66, & N20G. The current busways in effect as well are the 14th St (Manhattan), Fulton Mall (Brooklyn), and Jay Street (Brooklyn).

Main Street appeared nearly desolate Tuesday morning without the typical passenger car traffic. Bicyclists took advantage of the extra road space and bus operators were able to pull up to their pickup spots without skirting around parallel-parked cars. NYPD officers acted as crossing guards stationed at several points where the busway began (streets that are mentioned in the 1st paragraph) in order to direct drivers away from the prohibited area. Some drivers were unaware of the changes despite new signage placed throughout the Downtown Flushing area and changed their path, while others bypassed the guards and traveled illegally down Main Street.

Other vehicles traveled down blocks between the major entry ways to access Main Street where crossing guards were not stationed. The DOT had announced with the launch that drivers would still be able to access every block via side streets but generally must make the next right turn. The DOT didn’t say whether it will provide additional traffic enforcement to counter the vehicles that sneak into the now-prohibited area. Bus lane cameras, however, will be installed in the coming weeks. For the first 60 days of the camera installation, drivers who incorrectly travel in the bus lanes will be issued a warning letter. After the two-month interim period, vehicles that continue to defy the new rules will be fined.

The new busway pilot along Main Street in Flushing will:

·         Provide better access to the terminus of the 7 train, as well as to New York Presbyterian Queens Booth Memorial Medical Center

·         Help businesses by improving truck loading and unloading, with no parking loss

·         Clarify regulations for local vehicles

·         Allow for emergency vehicle access on the corridor with less congestion.

We will keep a sharp eye out on the progress of the Main Street Busway. In other news, the city approves a plan to have Union Square Park renovated and have space expansion. More busways will be coming to 5th Ave (Manhattan), West 181st Street (Manhattan), & Jamaica Avenue (Queens). The R211s photos have been leaked all over the internet and the MTA states that the R211As (the first 10-car set) will arrive on property on April 2021 (nine months later than what is expected).

 

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