It also mentioned me by name many times, as well as the articles I had written in our local newspapers against the proposed SBS project. The writer states that I referred to SBS and how it would affect our community as a “threat to Woodhaven.” He goes on to question the importance of this threat, questioning flippantly if it is “terrorism.”
Then he proceeds to state that he is a member of the group Riders Alliance and that he is in favor of the SBS Proposal. Also he spoke derogatively of car drivers and how this plan would shorten commute times for bus riders and improve traffic flow.
He proceeds to write on and on about the virtues of SBS, and how in other communities it has worked where implemented. Now I will convey my response as a Woodhaven resident for 47 years, and involved for 42 of those years, working for the betterment of our beloved community.
I know that the proposed SBS Plan will be detrimental to our Woodhaven’s residents and store owners, and this is why I am against SBS. Also in opposition is a coalition of community organizations from the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association to the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation to the Task Force Committee for a Better Woodhaven.
The reason for the opposition is that there is nothing good in it for Woodhaven. This change is structured to create a “transit-oriented boulevard” with buses traveling in designated lanes in the main roadway, with customers paying the fare before boarding from the island divider in the middle of Woodhaven Boulevard, which will be dangerous to bus riders.
This also will remove an entire lane of traffic and parking, and left turns will be banned. This means no turns onto Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue, which will cut off vehicular shopping to the Woodhaven Business Improvement District, as well as send all delivery vehicles through our residential streets endangering our residents, especially our children and our elderly.
This is a $200 million project, so let's be very careful that is it done the right way for Woodhaven residents and the economy of the shopping strip. This is why the WBID collected petitions and signatures from every small business and store, and over 300 signatures were collected by the Task Force Committee for a Better Woodhaven, a group that was formed specifically to oppose the SBS Proposal.
Councilman Eric Ulrich has granted the WBID money to work with the QEDC to attract new businesses to Jamaica Avenue, which is thriving and will only get better. The implementation of the SBS would destroy the gains we have made on our avenue that have benefited and contributed to the solid tax base for our community.
The writer of the opinion piece stated that we assert “Woodhaven’s Exceptionalism," but we do not assert, we state as a fact that Woodhaven is exceptional.
You do not speak to the needs of all our neighbors. We are cognizant of our neighbors needs and also of Woodhaven’s needs for the safety of our residents and the vitality of Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue.
The residents and business owners have proven that our concerns regarding SBS are relevant and real by forming this coalition and by organizing and advising our elected officials of our position, which State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Michael Miller support.
Regarding public transportation, we have always had good, well-utilized accessible public transportation on Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, as well as car accessibility, which we do not want SBS to change by eliminating left turns from Woodhaven Boulevard.
Our coalition is in opposition to the SBS project because of how detrimental and deadly it would be to Woodhaven residents and to Jamaica Avenue’s economy.
There has been a new proposal made to utilize the Rockaway Railway in Forest Park as a bus lane for the SBS proposal. This is a plan to be considered.