Gulluscio Sets Three-Point Transportation Plan
"These are tough fiscal times, unemployment is on the rise, the cost of living is going up and hardworking middle class New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet. Yet, time and again those same New Yorkers are being asked to shell out more for basic services," says Democratic candidate for City Council Frank Gulliscio. "In the past year alone, the MTA has hiked the base transit fare by 10 percent and 30-day Metrocard by 25 percent without any real improvements in service or facilities. According to a report by the Center for an Urban Future, the outer boroughs of New York City have the four longest average commuting times of the 231 counties in the United States with populations over 250,000. The average commute time in the United States is 25 minutes; the average commute time in Queens is 42 minutes; the average time for someone living in the Rockaways is over an hour. The difference is stagg ering and we owe it to the hard working middle class taxpayers of the Rockaways to do better."
Gulluscio outlined his plan recently in a prepared statement sent to The Wave. "We need to make high quality low cost public transportation a priority in this City. We should invest in the City's transit infrastructure to in - crease the frequency and quality of subway, bus and ferry service.
"We must improve subway service and station maintenance. The 2008 Rider Report Card issued by New York City Transit found that most riders polled gave the A Train a C minus. The MTA continues to raise the fare while providing service that the majority of riders deem sub-standard. In addi - tion to unreliable service on the A train; Rockaway residents who do not catch the morning express A-Rock - away Park train are forced to take shuttle service to transfer to the A-Far Rockaway line. As many residents have mentioned to me, this transfer can add 20 minutes on top of an al - ready long commute. One issue here is the train timing, shuttle train riders frequently have to wait for the A-Far Rockaway line to pass in front of them only to arrive at Broad Channel to wait for a future A-Far Rockaway. One short term solution could be to address this timing issue. If shuttle trains were allowed to pass before the A-Far Rock - away then they could transfer smoothly to a closely following A-Train at Broad Channel. One long term and nec essary solution would be to extend the full-time A-Rockaway Park service to Rockaway residents making the Broad Channel transfer issue moot. There needs to be a full time A Train serving both sides of the Rockaways. Shorter wait times and transfer times would go a long way toward improving commute times.
"Between 1998 and 2006, 81 percent of the increase in bus ridership across the city occurred outside of Man hat - tan. The number of people in Queens riding city buses rose by 24 percent. New York City has the largest bus fleet and network in the nation, but it also has the slowest riding times in the nation. One solution for Rock away residents is to expand the current express bus service. We have limited express bus service from the Rockaways to Man hattan; the problem is it does not run at night or on the weekends. Ex - panding this service would provide a needed transportation alternative. Another solution is to restore the limited service routes available on the Q35 and Q53 routes. Limited service on these lines could reduce the commute time by approximately 20-25 minutes.
"We also need to expand ferry service. I applaud our local elected officials - then-Councilman Addabbo and Congressman Weiner - for delivering the funding and political will to create the Rockaway-to-Wall Street ferry service. This service has been a success with weekday ridership averaging between 155-360 and weekend ridership averaging between 500-700. How - ever, this program can be much more. We must build on this success by expanding service on the existing route - adding additional evening return service from Manhattan so that those who do not have a strict 9-5 schedule can take the ferry home. We must also create new ferry routes with service to other parts of Manhattan beginning with high speed service to mid town.
"In order to create more affordable and efficient transportation options for the hard working people of the Rock - aways we must make prudent fiscal choices and invest in the City's transit infrastructure. The Mayor's campaign projects that we can find $247 million to invest in infrastructure by cutting the bureaucracy and investing in better services. That would be a good start. The City must get serious about working with the State and the MTA to cut bureaucracy and waste in the transit system and make a meaningful investment in the City's strained trans portation infrastructure. The City must also use the $15 million in federal ferry funding allotted by Congressman Anthony Weiner to purchase high-speed boats to service the Rockaway community. We must do everything we can to reduce commute times and improve public transportation. It's good for the Rockaways and it's good for all New Yorkers."