Jan. 7, 2020 By Kristen Torres
Local elected officials and transportation advocates are rallying in Jackson Heights Tuesday to voice opposition against proposed bus service cuts by the MTA.
The rally—which is slated to take place at 73-19 37th Road at Diversity Plaza from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.—is being organized by Nuala O’Doherty-Naranjo, a community activist who is also vying for a spot in the New York State Assembly.
The rally is being held in response to the MTA Queens Bus Network Redesign Draft Plan, which was released on Dec. 31. The plan—which is still in its early draft stages and is far from being finalized—will eliminate bus service going east on Roosevelt Avenue between 74th and 83rd Streets. It will also remap the Q49, which currently runs diagonally connecting Jackson Heights to East Elmhurst.
“I wish the MTA had considered people that lived in the neighborhood,” said O’Doherty-Naranjo. “People pick their apartments, their jobs, their schools all based on proximity to bus stops.”
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and transportation activist Jim Burke will also be attending Tuesday’s rally, according to O’Doherty-Naranjo.
“The MTA fails to understand that people take the bus for specific reasons,” said O’Doherty-Naranjo. “Maybe they can’t climb steps or can’t walk multiple blocks, but the draft redesign transforms bus routes into feeders to the closest subway stops. Not everyone wants to go to the subway.”
O’Doherty-Naranjo said they will be handing out flyers to educate community members about the MTA’s proposed changes.
MTA officials will be hosting an outreach meeting at the 74th Street/Roosevelt Avenue subway station on Jan. 8 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Another community forum to discuss the draft plan for the Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona communities will be held by the MTA at 100-01 Northern Boulevard inside the Langston Hughes Library on Jan. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m.
MTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.