Members of the Riders Alliance spoke with local residents on Saturday and tried to drum up support for the bus lane, which would serve 30,000 riders of the Q58 bus daily.
The rally was in response to recent calls by local lawmakers for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to delay the implementation of the lane. Community Board 5 also voted against the plan last month.
“As a Ridgewood resident and bus rider, I couldn’t be more excited for a bus lane on Fresh Pond Road,” said Riders Alliance member Kerry Herlihy. “The Q58 is a vital and crowded bus line, and it is exasperating to be at the mercy of extreme congestion when I ride it down Fresh Pond.
“The Fresh Pond Road area’s access to public transit makes it the thriving commercial center of Ridgewood, but cars and parking spots take up too much of the road for it to function properly,” he added. “It’s time we promote buses’ ability to efficiently lessen traffic, noise pollution and air pollution.”
Legislators like Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Councilman Robert Holden have asked the DOT to try other measures, like synchronizing the stop lights and consolidating bus stops, before installing the lane.
Residents and business owners have also opposed the project due to a loss of parking, despite the DOT giving back dozens of metered parking.
Transit advocates, however, urged their neighbors to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to overlook the bus lane critics and go ahead with the proposal.
“The 30,000 riders who depend on this route deserve better service,” said Juan Restrepo, Queens organizer at Transportation Alternatives. “The best way to achieve faster bus speeds and less bunching is to dedicate a lane for buses along Fresh Pond Road.”