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Fresh Meadows resident Iris Yiu sent more than 900 signatures from residents irate over the proposed elimination of the Q26 bus to area legislators last week with the hopes that the increased pressure could compel the MTA to drop plans to ax the route that residents said serves many seniors and students.
“There are residents with jobs in Manhattan, elderly residents who need to get to the senior center in Flushing, teenage residents needing to get to school and young adults going to college in Manhattan who will be affected by the elimination of the Q26,” Yiu said.
Yiu, who lives a few hundred feet from St. Francis Preparatory School, created an online petition a couple of weeks ago to protest against the elimination and advocate for the rerouting of the Q27 line to better service area residents.
Among others, Yiu sent the petition to City Councilman John Liu (D−Flushing), U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) and state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose).
“Home values are going to decrease because of the lack of public transportation,” said Yiu, an accountant who works in Manhattan and typically takes the Q26 five days a week. “I’m so tired of getting very bad bus service.”
The Q26 line is one of the routes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposed to cut in December. It runs from 46th Avenue by the No. 7 subway to Francis Lewis and Hollis Court boulevards in Fresh Meadows.
“This is a measure we don’t want to implement, but we’re waiting to see if our legislators in Albany act,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. “We urge our customers to reach out to their local state legislators and tell them to support the Ravitch recommendations, which would eliminate the need to implement these service cuts.”
Richard Ravitch, chairman of a commission charged by Gov. David Paterson with analyzing how to restore the MTA’s financial footing, proposed in December that the MTA implement, among other things, a “mobility tax” and tolls on the East River and Harlem River bridges in order to avoid fare hikes and service reductions.
Liu has railed against the bus line being eliminated and said in an interview last week that he is “going to do everything humanly possible to save the Q26.”
Fresh Meadows resident Genevieve O’Haire said the move to ax the bus route could add more than an hour onto her daily commute to the Chrysler Building in Manhattan.
“I’d have to walk to the 27, because there’s no way I could pay for an express bus,” O’Haire said. “Walking to the 27 adds at least another 15 minutes each way, and the 27 bus is overcrowded as it is.”
Yiu is pessimistic that even if the MTA keeps the Q26 that they will propose to eliminate it as soon as hard financial times fall again, which is why she included in her petition that residents support rerouting the Q27 to include portions of Fresh Meadows.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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