By Jonathan Sperling
A secluded nature reserve located along the Queens-Brooklyn border might become a little more accessible, if a group of ecology educators and local politicians have their way.
The Ridgewood Reservoir is difficult to get to for many Queens residents who depend on public transportation. The sprawling site, located within a more-than-50-acre swath of Highland Park, offers breathtaking views of surrounding neighborhoods, a wide assortment of bird species and a diverse amount of native flora.
But the area’s closest bus and subway stop is at least half a mile away, argues NYCH2O, an education-focused nonprofit. NYCH2O has led about 5,000 students on field trips into the Reservoir, and said that the closest subway station is the Norwood Avenue J train stop, located in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. The closest bus stop is the Q56 at Jamaica and Shepherd Avenues, also located in Cypress Hills. Both stops are at least half a mile away walking from the Ridgewood Reservoir.
This makes it difficult for those living near the Reservoir — especially in Queens — to enjoy the area’s 163 bird species, 175 plant species and dozens of other animal species, according to NYCH2O and Ridgewood Councilmember Antonio Reynoso.
“The Ridgewood Reservoir is a beautiful urban oasis found in the midst of New York City’s dense, urban sprawl,” Reynoso said in a statement. “New Yorkers from all five boroughs should be able to enjoy The Ridgewood Reservoir and the quality greenspace that it provides. However, this will only be possible if the reservoir is accessible by public transportation.”
Reynoso added that the Reservoir is an “important ecological resource.”
The Jackie Robinson Parkway also sets the park apart from Queens and there are no sidewalks along the stretch of Vermont Avenue that borders the entrance to the reservoir.
Advocacy for the bus stop comes amid the MTA’s Queens Bus Network Redesign, which promises to provide “high frequency, high capacity bus service on major corridors, improving bus stop spacing to speed up customers’ commute times,” and improve “off-peak service frequency and coverage,” among other changes.
New York City residents who support the need for a bus stop at the Ridgewood Reservoir can submit their input to the MTA by going online to the Queens Bus Network Redesign input form.