An estimated 150 concerned area residents turned out for a meeting of the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association on Monday evening, prepared to speak out on the MTA’s controversial Queens bus network redesign proposal.
“None of our members were consulted about this proposal,” said association President Chris Collett.
“If it goes into effect as proposed, I think it’s going to be a disaster.”
The plan is the subject of a series of ongoing meetings and workshops being held around the borough since Jan. 21.
According to a handout distributed at the meeting, 18 bus lines currently serve the area. The meeting focused primarily on one of them, the Q23, which, according to Collett, is used by 17,000 individuals each day.
Individual and organizational stakeholders who ride the Q23 include senior citizens, caretakers for children and the elderly, students, school employees, children going to after-school activities, members of religious organizations, diners, healthcare professionals, store owners and employees, shoppers and delivery persons, the handout noted.
Among the locations within three blocks of the Q23 route are medical facilities, houses of worship, schools, shopping districts and senior centers.
Forest Hills resident Claudia Valentino sees the line as “a spine that connects all parts of the community to essential destinations.” One of her concerns is that the proposed changes would include “replacement lines (that) go nowhere that we need to get to and create a transit desert in the middle of our neighborhood.”
Community activist Anna Guasto, a resident of Forest Hills Gardens, agreed, suggesting that “the proposed bus changes will not serve the needs of the established community. The everyday quality of our lives will be impacted.”
Guasto was also concerned over the “element of danger for women” that would result from having to walk farther distances at night.
And, while open to some changes, she added, “The MTA came in from afar and made life-altering decisions without considering the daily lives of the people who live there.”
Upcoming hearings aka "workshops" for the MTA's bus redesign austerity plan are as followed:
• Wed., Feb. 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing;
• Thu., Feb. 20, 7-8:30 p.m. (public workshop), Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York. 203-05 32 Ave., Bayside;
• Tue., Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m., Community Board 5 Transportation Committee, Christ the King High School, 68-02 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village;
• Tue., Feb. 25, 7 p.m., Community Board 14 Transportation Committee, Knights of Columbus, 333 Beach 90 St., Rockaway Beach;
•Wed., Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m., Community Board 7 Transportation Committee, Union Plaza Care Center, 33-23 Union St., Flushing;
• Thu., Feb. 27, 7-8:30 p.m. (public workshop), Cross Island YMCA, 238-10 Hillside Ave., Bellerose;
• Wed., March 4, 6-8 p.m., NYC Health + Hospitals, 79-01 Broadway, Elmhurst;
• Thu., March 5, 7-8:30 p.m., Poppenhusen Institute, 114-4 14 Road, College Point;
• Thu., March 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (workshop), August Martin High School, 156-10 Baisley Blvd., Jamaica;
• Mon., March 16, 7-8:30 p.m., Queens Community Board 8 Transportation Committee, Hillcrest Jewish Center, 183-02 Union Tpke., Hillcrest;
• Wed., March 18, 7-8:30 p.m., Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church of Whitestone, 12-01 150 St., Whitestone; and
• Thu., March 19, 7-8:30 p.m., North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Pkwy., Floral Park.