ELMHURST — The city has unveiled plans for a 14-mile bus lane that will speed up travel for 30,000 riders in Queens by 25 to 35 percent, officials said.
The Department of Transportation released designs for the Select Bus Service on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards on Tuesday, and it’s the longest route since the city began creating them in 2008, officials said.
The estimated $200 million plan will improve travel for riders of the Q21, Q52, Q53, QM15, QM16 and QM17 buses, and the rides will connect commuters from the Rockaway peninsula to Woodside.
“This is the kind of ambitious overhaul New York City’s bus riders deserve,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
The new route will also include transit stations with shelters, seats and real-time information on bus arrivals, landscaped medians for pedestrians to stop while crossing the boulevards and a separation between local and through traffic, officials said.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said it's "the biggest, boldest, and most ambitious design concept the city has attempted for Select Bus Service" and added that the borough deserved better transit.
Travelers have complained for years about slow and unreliable bus services on Woodhaven Boulevard, which is often congested during rush-hour as other cars slow traffic down with turns, the DOT said.
The Ramones even memorialized the long route to the beach in their 1977 song “Rockaway Beach" with the line “bus ride is too slow."
Local politicians who have pushed for improved transportation, especially from the Rockaway peninsula, celebrated the plan.
“Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard will improve the flow of traffic on one of Queens’ busiest corridors and make the road safer for pedestrians and drivers alike,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich, who represents a large portion of the bus route.
Councilman Donovan Richards said in a statement that the changes “can vastly improve the commuter experience for the thousands of New Yorkers that depend on the Woodhaven Blvd transportation corridor.”
Construction is set to begin in 2017 and will be finished in a year, the DOT said. The city will seek federal funding for the project.
More details of the SBS plan will be presented to the community at upcoming workshops, although those dates are not immediately clear, according to the DOT.