ROCKAWAY BEACH — A plan to create the longest Select Bus Route in the city was approved by Community Board 14 Tuesday — with members saying they're in favor of anything that will improve transportation off the peninsula.
The plan to add the SBS service to the route — which would run along the Q52 and Q53 bus routes on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards — was first introduced in 2015. Since then, the city has begun adding infrastructure including widening pedestrian medians including one for boarding the bus in the center of bustling Woodhaven Boulevard, and some separate bus-only lanes.
Express buses from Rockaway will also be able to utilize the bus lanes.
"Anything that's going to shorten my trip into Manhattan, I'm all on board with it," member Annette Lord Cohen, who lives in Bayswater and travels into the city and The Bronx for work, told the group of DOT and MTA officials who presented at the CB14 meeting.
She later added that the "hardest part out here has always been getting out of Rockaway, getting off the peninsula." "If it's going to make the transportation easier, why not?"
On the Rockaway peninsula and in Broad Channel, the biggest change will be bus ticketing machines and the reduction of a few bus stops. The area will not get dedicated bus lanes, since there isn't the room for them, according to a DOT official.
Of the nearly 30,000 riders on the Q52 and Q53 buses, more than 3,000 of those begin their rides in Rockaway and Broad Channel, a DOT official said.
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But not everyone was in favor of the plan.
At CB 14, some members feared reducing a lane of traffic would only worsen the commute for drivers.
"Who wants this?" board member Brian Heffernan asked MTA and DOT officials at Tuesday's meeting.
"Is some part of New York calling for this?" he added.
"De Blasio," member Danny Ruscillo answered, adding that it's part of the mayor's plan to "get us out of our cars so we can all ride bikes and skateboards to work."
The plan has also been opposed by critics including Community Board 9 — which covers Woodhaven and will see the largest infrastructure changes along the route.
DOT officials said they were moving forward with the plan — which is slated to be completed by the end of the year, officials said.