Tens of thousands more have been waiting over 50 years for a downtown Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal, despite numerous planning studies documenting the need for one.
Today's generation of planners, elected officials and transportation advocates have forgotten about construction of the long-forgotten Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal. In the early 1960's, Flushing Municipal Parking Lot 1 was considered for the construction of an intermodal bus terminal.
This facility would take hundreds of buses off the surrounding streets, where they discharge and pick up riders.
For over 50 years, generations of public officials, on a bipartisan basis, have failed to secure any funding necessary to support environmental review, design, engineering and construction of this badly needed transportation improvement.
The MTA $32 billion Five Year Capital Plan provides several million to once again study this idea.
From the 1960s to today, there has been an explosion in the number of commuters riding buses to Flushing and transferring to the subway. This has been complimented by a huge growth of commercial businesses accompanied by the demolition of homes to construct apartment houses and multi-family homes in the surrounding neighborhood.
Just walk in any direction from the corner of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue in downtown Flushing and see for yourself.
Buses traveling to, from and thru downtown Flushing move at slow speeds due to excess traffic, not only during rush hour but also off peak. This results in a longer commute for riders and periodic bunching of buses on many routes.
Construction of a climate controlled intermodal bus terminal could assist in improving traffic and pedestrian circulation in and around the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, along with the rest of downtown Flushing.
Over 60,000 rush-hour 7 subway riders and thousands more off-peak would be protected from heat, cold, rain, snow and winds. There could be a smoother transfer between the bus and subway.
Opportunities would still be available for air rights above the bus terminal for parking and development.
How disappointing that no elected official has ever stepped forward to honor this commitment from decades ago. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is building 260 units of affordable housing at Flushing Municipal Parking Lot 3.
This facility is located just off of Main Street adjacent to the Flushing LIRR station. It is only two short blocks away from the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue and 7 subway station.
While there are other locations in and around Flushing for construction of affordable housing, Municipal Lot 3 may have been the last opportunity for construction of any viable intermodal bus terminal that could provide reasonable bus-to-train transfers.
This project could have been combined with the ongoing upgrades to the Flushing LIRR station. Municipal Parking Lot 3 could have been used for building an intermodal bus terminal.
Over 60,000 rush-hour commuters plus thousands more would have benefitted from this transportation improvement, versus less than 1,000 tenants.
Larry Penner worked in the transportation field for 31 years.