Supporters of the Select Bus Service scheme seized on the report as a sign that the “haters” would have no choice but to “shut up.”
The report claims that the scheme, which cost taxpayers over $200 million, has improved transit times for bus riders by up to 10 percent while not impacting car traffic at all.
Only the geniuses that dreamed up this fiasco could release a report patting themselves on the back so disingenuously. Well, that’s the Department of Transportation (DOT) in a nutshell.
Let’s start with the bus transit times. While we’re all happy there’s been an improvement, does DOT really think a 10 percent improvement is something to crow about? So a 45-minute trip in a dedicated bus lane only gets reduced by four-and-a-half minutes?
That’s remarkably unremarkable. The same savings (or better) could have been achieved by following the suggestion of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association to have a bus lane bypass the bridge crossing the tracks between Union Turnpike and Metropolitan Avenue.
This report also claims that transit time for all other modes of transportation has stayed the same. That’s not just incorrect, it is a lie.
I’ve lived within a few blocks of Woodhaven Boulevard my entire life. I’ve been up and down its length in cars and buses thousands and thousands of times.
And I’ve never sat in traffic as often as I have since DOT put this daft and dangerous plan in place.
Rush hours were always bad on Woodhaven Boulevard. It was awful before and it’s awful now. But due to these wonderful improvements bestowed upon us by the Department of Transportation, it’s awful off-hours as well.
There’s traffic on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons, cars lined up on Woodhaven Boulevard due to the extra lights and congestion at Jamaica Avenue.
Go to Jamaica Avenue anywhere between the boulevard and 87th Street to see the line of cars backed up. Watch these cars get stuck in the intersections of 88th, 89th and 90th streets, blocking cars trying to cross the avenue and backing up traffic on side streets.
And watch as pedestrians have to cross through this mess, bringing them into closer proximity to automobiles than ever before.
That our Department of Transportation doesn’t see this means that they are either dishonest or incompetent. Most likely, they are probably just a little of both.
Putting all this aside, the tragedy here is that this road has not been made any safer than it was before. We have had two fatalities here in Woodhaven, neither caused nor prevented by this SBS plan.
Instead, both were allowed to happen due to a complete lack of enforcement of laws for drivers along Woodhaven Boulevard. These deaths, and the others that are sure to follow, could be prevented if the city would truly crack down on speeding and reckless vehicles.
Again, all you have to do is stand along Woodhaven Boulevard at 5:30 a.m. to see the speedway that is our boulevard, and you’ll be left wondering where the enforcement is.
You’ll be left wondering how many more pedestrians have to be killed before the city does what it should have been doing for years: enforce the law.
The city could rake in a fortune in speeding tickets. Instead, they’re finding their fortune fining the hardworking businesses on Jamaica Avenue for signs and awnings.
They’re finding their fortune by increasing the cost of parking on Jamaica Avenue by 50 percent, again hurting the local businesses struggling to survive.
This city is broken and this report by our beloved Department of Transportation is just another example of how it’s not likely to get better.
Because when you can serve up a turd sandwich to your customers and still give yourself an A rating, you’ll just keep slinging out those turd sandwiches.
Congratulations to the Department of Transportation on their report. If a slight improvement in bus transit, congestion and chaos off-hours and on side roads, and no improvement in pedestrian safety is considered a success, all we can say is, well done!