Fresh Pond decision a win for bus riders
Sep 24, 2019 | 5313 views | 0 0 comments | 705 705 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A judge’s ruling that the Department of Transportation can continue operating an afternoon bus lane on Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood is a huge win for mass transit riders.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Esposito shot down an attempt by a civic association and local business owners to stop the bus lane because they say it’ll hurt businesses and do little to tackle congestion.

Represented by attorney Arthur Schwartz, who is leading the fight to stop the city’s busway on 14th Street, the plaintiffs argued that the city did not conduct the proper environmental studies prior to implementing the bus lane.

But transit advocates and the city’s attorneys say simply painting lines on a street doesn’t trigger environmental review. They also argue that by taking away a bus lane, riders are actually losing out on 62 hours of time saved.

In the end, Esposito sided with the city. Barring an appeal, the bus lane will continue as planned.

If the DOT’s data is correct, bus riders are already seeing an improvement in travel times. Going from 3 miles an hour to 3.75 miles an hour may not seem like a lot, but collectively it makes a difference.

It’s now DOT’s job to not only monitor the changes, but make appropriate tweaks to speed up buses even more.

The bus lane’s detractors have long argued that the DOT should take other steps like synchronizing traffic lights, increase enforcement and consolidating bus stops.

Last week, Councilman Bob Holden said the MTA should store Brooklyn buses at a depot in Brooklyn, not Ridgewood.

We agree that the DOT and MTA should implement all of those actions if it means reducing congestion on Fresh Pond Road for all users.

If the city is serious about keeping buses as a real mass transit option, they will do whatever it takes, in addition to the bus lane, to make it a faster ride.
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