NEW YORK STATE SENATE
OFFICE OF SENATOR MICHAEL GIANARIS
(Queens, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris, elected officials, transit advocates and cultural institutions from Astoria and Long Island City celebrated the long-awaited permanent service expansion of the Q103 bus line, which connects the two Queens waterfront neighborhoods along Vernon Boulevard. After strong pressure from Senator Gianaris and community leaders in 2014, the MTA instituted a trial expansion for the Q103 that expanded weekday service hours and finally provided service on weekends. The trial program was a success and the MTA will now make this expansion permanent after years of advocacy.
“I am thrilled the MTA heeded my call to make this Q103 service expansion permanent. Western Queens has long needed better bus service, so it is gratifying that the MTA responded to our concerns,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “There is so much happening throughout western Queens that our need for better methods of traveling between our neighborhoods has never been more pressing. This service expansion represents a hard fought victory, but I will never stop fighting for improved transit service in our community.”
“I commend the MTA on the decision to make permanent its recent trial expansion of Q103 bus service in western Queens, a fast growing area of our borough that has been in need of improved mass transit,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The area’s residents and its thriving local businesses benefited from the trial expansion and will appreciate the knowledge that this expanded service will remain in place indefinitely.”
“I applaud the MTA for making the Q103 service expansion permanent,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “As the Long Island City and Astoria communities continue to grow, the demand for increased bus service is greatly needed. I commend both Senator Gianaris for pushing this priority and the MTA for listening to the community.”
“Connecting our dynamic neighborhoods in western Queens will allow residents to take advantage of all that our communities have to offer and begin to address the limited transit options we face,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. “I applaud Senator Gianaris and the dedicated efforts of local transit advocates who fought for this improvement.”
“Working with my colleagues in government we were able to secure permanent and expanded Q103 bus service for thousands of riders who have been in need of additional transportation options,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Enhancing alternative transportation services for riders here in Western Queens has always been a priority for me. With the permanent addition of the Q103 even more New Yorkers will gain access to Western Queens’ cultural scene and some of the hottest neighborhoods in our City.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “The Q103 being permanently expanded is very good news for our community. The East River waterfront corridor along Vernon Boulevard has been one of the more under-served transit thoroughfares in Western Queens. As we move closer toward our goal of reducing our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, we must encourage sustainable habits including the expansion of public transportation options. Expanding Q103 service during nights and weekends would be a vital resource to residents and help bolster the Western Queens economy. I commend Senator Gianaris for his leadership on this valuable service expansion.”
“We knew the expansion of service was necessary, but until we had it on weekends and for people working later than 6 we didn’t know just how important that connection is. Now our world class art, food and waterfront will not just be seen from across the river, since people can get to it on the Q103 all week long,” said Sheila Lewandowski, Executive Director of The Chocolate Factory Theater.
“With a permanent expansion to the Q103 service, the MTA just made public transportation easier for our staff, local residents, and the 100,000 visitors of the park every year,” said John Hatfield, Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park. “We’re now on our way to making the accessibility of Western Queens on par with the growing vibrancy of its arts and cultural offerings.”
“We are thrilled that the MTA is making weekend service on the Q103 bus permanent. This will not only make life easier for the residents and businesses in western Queens, but it will also ensure that the neighborhood’s vibrant and internationally celebrated arts organizations, including The Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Chocolate Factory Theater, are easily accessible by public transportation. Special thanks to Senator Michael Gianaris and City Council and Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer for their leadership. This is just the kind of support that New York’s neighborhoods and cultural institutions need from the City.” —Jenny Dixon, Director, The Noguchi Museum.
“The trial expansion during weekday and adding weekend hours demonstrated clearly that Western Queens has the people, the attractions and the need for full service mass transit running North-South along the waterfront, connecting those living and working in both great new buildings and historic older ones to each other and to the many assets of the neighborhood. We are very grateful to Senator Gianaris and our other incredibly effective local elected officials for making this trial happen, and to the MTA for rightfully making these much needed changes permanent,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, President, Long Island City Partnership.
Jess Nizar, Senior Organizer at the Riders Alliance, said, “For bus riders, one of the most important aspects of their commutes is reliability. Now Q103 bus riders will be able to rest a little easier knowing that they can rely on their bus to show up on weekends. We thank Senator Gianaris for fighting for better transit for Queens waterfront residents, and commend the MTA for making this improvement a permanent one.”
# # #