MTA Bus Plan & More Top February CB14 Meeting

 MTA Bus Plan & More Top February CB14 Meeting

By Katie McFadden

MTA going your way? Not quite, says Community Board 14. At the latest monthly meeting, the board provided feedback on the MTA’s latest Queens Bus Network Redesign plan, and most agreed, there’s room for improvement.

With snow on the ground, this month’s CB14 meeting met remotely on WebEx. Not used since the Covid pandemic, the board faced some technical difficulties that got the meeting off to a late start. But it started on a good note. Many congratulated Felicia Johnson on her new position as district manager after CB14 announced her hiring at the end of January’s meeting.

Then the meeting jumped into updates from Rockaway’s precincts. Officer Victor Boamah of the 100th Precinct spoke about a shooting in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 13 at 71-15 Beach Channel Drive. They are still looking for the suspect. Other than that, Boamah said things are going well in the precinct. A member of the 101st Precinct had a similar report, with a shooting on Monday morning on Beach 53rd Street. There has also been an uptick in robberies in the 101st, and a few of the suspects have been arrested.

Next were reports from elected officials or their representatives. Jason Greenberg of Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato’s office reminded the board that they’re seeking nominees for their annual Women of Distinction awards. All women doing great work in Assembly District 23 can be up for nomination. Contact Pheffer Amato’s office at 718-945-9550 for more info. Dan Brown spoke of some recent big arrests in Queens by the Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz’s office. Her office is also seeking proposals for a registered nonprofit that serves the youth in the community to implement the Queens District Attorney Community Youth Development and Crime Prevention Project. Call Brown at 718-286-6593 for info.

Phyllis Inserillo of Councilwoman Joann Ariola’s office says they’re working on getting clogged catch basins cleared, so if people are having issues with one near their home, they can call 718-318-6411. She said Ariola’s office is excited that the city has launched the Office of Marine Debris Removal and dedicated $1 million toward the effort of removing abandoned vessels from around Jamaica Bay and other areas. Ariola’s office also continues to work closely with the Beach 116th Merchants Association and will join them in hosting a summer kickoff festival on the block on May 19. Khaleel Bragg of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards’ office reminded the board that the final day to apply to serve on Community Board 14 for the next term is February 16. For more info, email:

Next up, Denise Lopresti of the Land Use Committee presented her report on the committee’s meeting on January 22 on three variance requests. The first was a request to enlarge the high school, Torah Academy for Girls at 610 Lynette Avenue, in ways like filling in the unused pool, enlarging the gym and adding nine more classrooms to the second and third floors. Board member Brian Heffernan made a motion to accept the change. With two abstentions, the motion passed unanimously. The second variance was for Congregation YMH at 11-17 Bay Park Place in Bayswater. They were requesting to convert the back of the yeshiva school building into a dormitory for their students. Six board members chose to abstain or voted no to this, but with a majority saying yes, it was approved. The last variance was for the K’hal Machziker Torah at 1 Jarvis Court, which wants to expand its current temple, that only has 57 seats, to one that can accommodate 228 seats, to meet the needs of its congregants. With only five members abstaining or saying no, the motion was approved. Lopresti also gave the board a heads up about the Housing Opportunity portion of the City of Yes plan, which will be up for discussion starting April 17.

It’s that time of year where the board votes for its executive board members. Dolores Orr remains as Chair.  With Johnson having to leave her position as first vice chair for the district manager position, those in the lower positions have moved up. Betty Leone will now serve as first vice chair. Jose Velez will serve as second. Nancy Martinez will serve as third and David Shelborne will now serve as fourth. As Sonia Moise had been nominated for secretary, she now takes over for Shelborne as secretary.

Lastly, the bulk of the meeting was focused on the MTA’s detailed proposal for the Queens Bus Network Redesign. The MTA presented its Final Proposal to the Transportation Committee on January 24, so committee chair Chris Tedesco gave a summary of their findings before Lucille Songhai and Tori Winters of the MTA provided another presentation to try to clear some things up. They explained that this move to redesign the bus network in Queens goes back to April 2019, when they presented their first draft. “I think I can say all of Queens hated that plan,” Winter said. The MTA received more than 11,000 comments in feedback, but things were put on pause due to Covid. In December 2021, the MTA withdrew the original plan, and incorporating the feedback, they came up with a new proposal which they revealed in December 2023. Now the MTA is in the process of collecting feedback on the latest plan, going around to each community board, holding public hearings, and collecting comments online, through the spring.

There are some notable changes that will impact the peninsula. The plan calls for the Q35 to be rerouted from Newport Avenue to Rockaway Beach Blvd., replacing the Q22, and it would extend to the ferry landing at Beach 108th instead of Beach 116th. Due to low ridership, the Q22 route would be shortened on the western end and extended on the eastern end. It would start at Beach 116th Street instead of Fort Tilden and would end at Nameoke Street in Far Rockaway, so riders can connect to the Far Rockaway LIRR train, and it would make fewer stops in between.

Orr brought up an issue with this change, given the closing of the Marine Parkway Bridge this Friday and Saturday, and asked the MTA reps if they could guarantee that the Q35 would still operate from the Fort Tilden area to Beach 116th, if the Q35 couldn’t cross over the bridge from Brooklyn. They did not provide a satisfactory answer, as they said it would be subject to the specific closure, and had little to do with the redesign plan.

John Cori asked why the Q35 would stop at Beach 108th when the Beach Channel Academic Campus and Scholars’ Academy are a few blocks west. This proposed set up would leave students having to walk the rest of the way or board the Q22 to go the extra distance. The MTA reps said they will look into adding “school trips,” where the bus can go the extra distance during school rush hours. Nancy Martinez suggested that that the Q22 should make at least two stops in Bayswater to serve the school children and seniors in the area. The reps asked her to provide specific stop requests, which they will take into consideration. Karen Sloan-Payne also recommended that the MTA should consider reinstating the Q22 service to Fort Tilden in the spring and summer months to serve those who utilize the sports fields at Fort Tilden and the crowds that use the beaches in Riis. The reps said they can look into it.

The current Q52 and Q53 bus services would remain unchanged in the new plan. However, Tedisco suggested that the MTA should consider some changes, since these routes are so similar once they get into mainland Queens. One change that the board was adamant about adding, presented by Jack Epter, was to request that the Q52 be extended to Beach 49th Street instead of ending at Beach 54th Street, especially to accommodate the new residents that will come to the area with ongoing development. A motion was made by the board at the end of the meeting to support this change and it passed.

The QM16 and QM17 routes would also remain mostly unchanged.  The Q114 from Far Rockaway to Jamaica would absorb the Q113 service, making it a one-seat ride from Far Rockaway to Jamaica, which Tedesco saw as a positive for the community.

Besides the motion on the Q52 extension, the board asked the MTA reps to simply take all of their feedback from the night into consideration in general. The full Queens Bus Redesign plan can be found at:, where the public can also leave feedback.

After the presentation, two members of the public were given time to speak during public speaking. Adam Cardone provided the board with some updates on his efforts to name the Beach 94th Amphitheater for punk rock band, The Ramones. He said he has more than 4,000 signatures on a petition, support from the remaining band members and a letter of support from the Rockaway Beach Civic. Orr asked that he send it all to CB14 and they’ll consider having a committee meeting on it.

On the matter of the MTA bus plan, Eugene Falik said, “the community needs to tell them what we need and not be concerned with what they want to do.”

In new business, John Cori requested that they write a letter to Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers, asking her to request more traffic agents at Mott Avenue and Cornaga Avenue to address some of the traffic chaos in Far Rockaway. Betty Leone also asked that sanitation start giving fines to businesses that haven’t been cleaning the front of their properties.


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