By Jonathan Sperling
Community board opposition to a proposed bus lane along Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood hasn’t stopped transit advocates from taking to the streets to collect signatures in support of the plan.
The Fresh Pond Road bus lane, which is set to stretch curbside from Bleecker Street to Putnam Avenue, encountered resistance from members of Community Board 5 because it would mean a loss of parking spaces, the Ridgewood Post reported. The lane would remove a total of 70 parking spots — 50 metered and 15 alternate side spaces, according to the Department of Transportation.
Members of Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives, however, sought out supporters of the bus lane plan over the weekend, collecting signatures to petition De Blasio to move ahead with the plan.
“As a Ridgewood resident and bus rider, I couldn't be more excited for a bus lane on Fresh Pond Road. The Q58 is a vital and crowded bus line, and it is exasperating to be at the mercy of extreme congestion when I ride it down Fresh Pond,” Riders Alliance member Kerry Herlihy said, referring to the bus that takes riders between Ridgewood and Flushing.
The activists also urged Ridgewood residents who missed the petitioning to text “BUSNYC” to 52886 to speak up and support the bus lane.
Buses travel an average of 3 mph during the p.m. peak on Fresh Pond Road between Metropolitan Avenue and Putnam Avenue, compared to the 6.4 mph peak Queens average, according to DOT data. Approximately 30,000 riders take the Q58 daily.
But the Q58 is not the only bus affected by the congestion along Fresh Pond Road — the QM24/25/34, which provide express service to Manhattan via the Long Island Expressway, are also impacted, according to the DOT.
“The Fresh Pond Road area's access to public transit makes it the thriving commercial center of Ridgewood, but cars and parking spots take up too much of the road for it to function properly. It's time we promote buses' ability to efficiently lessen traffic, noise pollution, and air pollution,” Herlihy continued.