Flushing, Queens to Finally Get ‘Bus Only’ Lane in Major Shopping Zone

A bus only lane in NYC (NYC DOT)

By: Jared Evan

Main Street in Flushing is finally set to become the city’s latest bus-only strip, according to the NY Post

The Department of Transportation told the local community board in a letter sent Friday that the project is set to move forward “in the next two weeks.”

The plan calls for third-of-a-mile stretch to be converted to bus-only traffic.

Due to the pandemic this project was held up for several months.

A few days before the Department of Transportation was slated to lay down the red paint to turn congested Main Street into a car-free busway in October, Flushing Council Member Peter Koo, State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Community Board 7, and the Queens Chamber of Commerce, hired big-time law firm Meyer Suozzi to send a letter demanding a delay of at least 30 days.

Queens Council Member Peter Koo, has been a vocal opponent of the bus only lane, siting the loss of customers with cars for local businesses. The bus only lanes cause a loss of parking spots, whenever they are installed.

Regardless, the plan appears to be moving ahead.

NY Post reported: In separate public appearances on Friday, de Blasio and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg conceded that the city would fall short of the 20-mile bus lane goal set in June — which was far less than the 60 miles sought by the MTA.

“We wanted to do 20 miles by the end of the year. It looks like it’ll be closer to 17, which is a good achievement,” Hizzoner said during an interview with WNYC.

Of the five busways announced in June, just Brooklyn’s Jay Street and now Main Street have actually come to fruition, Streetsblog reported Friday.

According to a 2015 DOT study of shoppers on Main Street, only 17 percent of people arrived by cars, while 27 percent arrived by bus. And even fewer people, just 4 percent, actually parked on the usually congested corridor in front of a storefront, according to a DOT presentation on the busway from last month.

This study appears to be at contrast with the bus lane opponents. One can assume every shopping area in New York is different and the bus lanes will continue to be a contentious issue as more of the lanes are proposed.