It’s official: Woodhaven Boulevard now has dedicated bus lanes from Metropolitan Avenue to Alderton Street and Dry Harbor Road, and as they run right in front of this newspaper’s offices, we can tell you firsthand the results are not looking good so far. And we expect worse to come.
Of course traffic is more congested when you have fewer lanes, as drivers now do during both the morning and evening rush hours, in both directions. Only the true believers who want to get people out of their cars would contend otherwise. So we now have a handful of employees who commute home to South Queens from our Rego Park offices stuck in traffic longer than they were before. Their reports as to how bad it is do vary — along with the times they hit the road — but one says her former 45-minute commute has been closer to 90 minutes. She’s actually started taking the Van Wyck Expressway to the Belt Parkway to get back to Howard Beach, a route that looks insane on a map but actually has been eating up less of her time. Others are hitting the side streets to go north and south, surely something the residents on those blocks are not thrilled to see.
But of course a key point of installing bus lanes is to frustrate drivers enough so they either take another route or start riding public transportation. The advocates of lane reduction surgery generally don’t admit that, but one elected official we recently spoke with did, and that’s someone who supports the bus lanes. Get ’em off Woodhaven and onto the Van Wyck, off Queens Boulevard and onto the Long Island Expressway — that’s the thinking. Or, best of all, get them onto buses. That’s great for those who can or want to take the bus, but many need a car, van or truck for their job; and few like being forced onto public transportation by the anti-car crowd whose thinking is taking over the government.