Transit Advocates Want Better Waterfront Bus Access in Astoria and LIC

By Jeanmarie Evelly on May 20, 2013 4:21pm 

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  Riders Alliance Western Queens volunteers are pushing for subway station repairs and better bus service.
Riders Alliances Starts Western Queens Campaign
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LONG ISLAND CITY — A group of transportation advocates are petitioning the MTA for a better ride in Astoria and Long Island City, including more waterfront bus access and free station transfers.

Volunteers working under the grassroots group Riders Alliance are launching a campaign for transit improvements in the two Queens neighborhoods, are also pushing for repairs and upgrades at the N/Q subway stations in Astoria.

The group started collecting signatures this past weekend, looking to garner local support for their list of requests, which includes asking the MTA to address "50 fixes" they identified at several N/Q subway stations in Astoria including fixing crooked stairwells, peeling paint and a speaker system that doesn't work.

"A lot of these stations are out of date and haven’t been touched in a long time," said volunteer  Sean Quinn, 33, an Astoria resident. "They do sort of piecemeal repairs as problems come up," 

Petitioners are also asking for increased service on several local bus lines, including the Q102, which runs along 31st Street under the N/Q train from Astoria down to Queensbridge — an important option for disabled riders who can't access subway platforms, where there are no elevators.

The group also wants more frequent service along the Western Queens waterfront, which they say is lacking and doesn't run frequently enough to keep up with the population growth along the Long Island City shore. 

The petition calls for increased bus service on the Q103 route, which runs along Vernon Boulevard between Astoria and Long Island City, and for a Queensboro Plaza connection on the planned B32 Brooklyn-Queens waterfront bus route— something community leaders have been calling for as well. 

"The buses that go down to the water, they don’t run enough, and the Q103 doesn’t even run on nights and weekends," said Astoria resident and grad student Bobby Preti, 26. 

The group is also pushing for the MTA to give commuters a free transfer between Queens Plaza and Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City, two major transit hubs located just a few blocks from one another.

MTA spokesman Charles Seaton said the agency is open to the group's feedback. 

"Of course, we welcome the interest of the Riders Alliance and we maintain a dialog with them, working to accomplish what we can, given our resources and system wide demands," he wrote in a statement.  

"It must be noted that we are working from a pool of finite resources and have to maintain a fair allocation of investment throughout the system."

Riders Alliance was formed last year, and the grassroots group has launched similar campaigns in Brooklyn, advocating for better service on the G train. 

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