DOT scores victory in battle over Fresh Pond Road bus lane

The DOT scored a win in the fight against Fresh Pond Road Coalition of Middle Village, which opposes a bus lane on Fresh Pond Road. The coalition’s lawsuit was dismissed by Justice Joseph Esposito on Monday.  Eagle  file photo by Luca Powell.

The DOT scored a win in the fight against Fresh Pond Road Coalition of Middle Village, which opposes a bus lane on Fresh Pond Road. The coalition’s lawsuit was dismissed by Justice Joseph Esposito on Monday. Eagle file photo by Luca Powell.

By Jonathan Sperling

The city’s Department of Transportation got a major victory on Monday as Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Esposito dismissed a lawsuit launched in response to the agency’s construction of a bus lane through Fresh Pond Road.

The bus lane, which was proposed back in April as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Better Buses Action Plan, was the subject of a suit filed by the Fresh Pond Road Coalition of Middle Village Wednesday, which said that the new bus lane removes vital parking from the area and acts as a detriment to local businesses.

“Everyone is competing for space. Everyone wants to get to work on time. The bus lane will speed up traffic on that street,” Esposito said, according to Streetsblog. “I’ll be blunt. This is a very narrow rational plan to speed up traffic.”

Esposito took a trip out of the courtroom last week, touring the site of the bus lane.

Transit advocates were elated with the decision, as the lane helps accomplish the city’s goal of 25 percent faster bus speeds by the year 2020.

"Today's Queens Supreme Court decision is a big win for Queens bus riders and the whole city,” Riders Alliance Policy & Communications Director Danny Pearlstein said in a statement.

On Monday morning, members of Riders Alliance, Straphangers Campaign and TransitCenter submitted an amicus brief in support of the bus lane. Esposito reviewed the brief in his chambers prior to the hearing and decision, according to Riders Alliance.

“It leaves Mayor de Blasio free to do his utmost to speed up slow buses, putting efficient transit before polluting cars. It leaves riders free to get where we need to go — and to keep holding our leaders accountable for improving struggling transit service," Pearlstein added.

Opponents of the bus lane had hoped that lackluster bus speeds could be solved without implementing the lane. 

“Consolidating buses, synchronizing street lights, that should have been steps one and two,” Fresh Pond Road Coalition of Middle Village President Geoffrey Elkind told the Eagle last week. “The bus lanes were step six.”