Queens, NY – In response to the announcement that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plans to restore services throughout New York City, local leaders, led by Senator Michael Gianaris and District Leader Costa Constantinides, rallied today outside the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard subway station to call for the restoration of two western Queens services, the W subway line and the QM22 express bus. Both services were eliminated in 2010 due to the MTA’s budget cuts.
The rally focused on the need for the MTA to improve access to Manhattan from western Queens and give the same consideration to terminated services in Queens as is being given to other boroughs. A large number of the MTA’s restorations are in Brooklyn and the Bronx, with few services restored in Queens.
“Recent cuts have put western Queens residents at a disadvantage when it comes to commuting to and from Manhattan,” Senator Gianaris said. “I urge the MTA to restore all western Queens mass transit cuts, whose loss has greatly impacted the lives of commuters here. We have suffered as much as any borough due to recent service reductions.”
“Astoria is a growing, thriving, hard working community,” Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides said. “The people of this community deserve more transit options to Manhattan, not less. This was the case in 2010, when the MTA cut our service and it is even more the case now. Our trains and buses now are more crowded than ever. It is not economically or environmentally sustainable to keep our transit options here in Western Astoria at the level they are currently. We have rallied, written letters and collected close to 1500 signatures from members of this community. Today we again speak in one clear voice, MTA stand with the people of Astoria and restore our W train and QM22 bus service!”
The W train, which travelled along the same route in Queens as the N and Q lines, allowed more people to access local stops between Astoria and Lower Manhattan without having to transfer. It also connected to southwest Brooklyn at the beginning and end of the day. The QM22 bus was an express service between Midtown Manhattan and Jackson Heights, Queens that travelled via Astoria, allowing residents here who did not have easy access to the subway to commute to Manhattan.
Representative Joe Crowley said, “Residents of Western Queens have been without these two essential transportation routes for far too long. This has not only left residents without a fast and reliable way to get to and from work in Manhattan, but it has choked off opportunities for this vibrant community to expand and grow, including area small businesses. We need to do more when it comes to meeting our community’s growing transportation needs, or in this case, bring back what was once lost. I urge the MTA to include the W subway line and the QM22 express bus on its list of restored services.”
Representative Carolyn Maloney said, “I am pleased that the MTA will be offering increased service around the city, but the people living or working in western Queens deserve to share in some of the benefits of restored service, too.”
Senator Jose Peralta said, “It’s a slap in the face to Queens commuters for the W and QM22 to be left off the MTA’s list of service restorations while other services are restored–and entirely new services are added in other boroughs. Queens commuters need the MTA to restore the valuable services that were cut.”
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said, “While the restoration of service to some areas after 2010’s disruptive and devastating cuts is welcome, the growing community of Western Queens should not be left out of the equation. Our neighborhoods must share the benefits and convenience of additional public transportation options.”
Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr. said, “With Astoria and Long Island City constantly growing, its residents require more service – not less. Queens riders should not have to deal with more time between trains, more crowded trains and more transfers to get to work in the morning. The W and QM22 should be fully restored.”