Jan. 5, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A last-ditch effort to prevent the city from installing a controversial new busway on Main Street in Flushing was struck down by a Queens Supreme Court judge Tuesday.
Judge Kevin Kerrigan denied an appeal against the Dept. of Transportation which sought to stop the agency from converting a stretch of Main Street into a busway under a 1-year pilot program.
The Article 78 proceeding had been filed by the Flushing Chinese Business Association (FCBA) whose members opposed the busway, arguing that it would reduce private traffic into the area and cut into their bottom line.
However, Kerrigan said that the FCBA had failed to convince the court that the busway would deter customers from coming to the busy shopping zone and thus denied the appeal. He also lifted a temporary restraining order that had postponed the implementation of the busway since Nov. 16.
The judge said that the FCBA’s appeal focused mostly on the issue of access to the new World Mall parking garage.
The FCBA in its lawsuit argued that the new busway would force private vehicles to go around the block instead of being able to drive straight through Main Street in order to get to the parking entrance.
They said the detour would be such an inconvenience that shoppers would stay away from the area and businesses would be crippled as a result.
“Petitioners have failed to show any evidence that… this would discourage people from shopping at the location or adversely affect merchants on Main Street,” Kerrigan wrote.
The new busway, which the MTA says will speed up service, will run 0.6 miles along Main Street from Northern Boulevard to Sanford Avenue. Through traffic would be limited to buses, trucks and emergency vehicles while private vehicles would only be permitted to use the stretch for pick-ups or drop-offs.
The MTA said the layout will improve slow and unpredictable bus speeds for the thousands of people who use buses that traverse the route each day.
The Riders Alliance, a public transport advocacy group, welcomed the court ruling.
“Today’s decision is a huge victory for 150,000 bus riders across Queens and the Bronx,” said Jolyse Race, a senior advisor with the group.
“Citywide, judges have now ruled decisively that when riders win well-deserved priority on busy streets, opponents can’t sue and get their way.”