DOT’s Permanent Queens Boulevard Redesign Promises to Speed Up the Sluggish Q60 Bus

The Q60 currently averages 6 mph. Thanks to expanded pedestrian space, the service can start running in Queens Boulevard's central roadway, speeding it up.

The Q60 bus will run in the central roadway instead of the Queens Boulevard service roads. Image: DOT
The Q60 bus will run in the central roadway instead of the Queens Boulevard service roads. Image: DOT

DOT is gearing up to cast its redesign of Queens Boulevard in concrete, and the next iteration of the project should speed up trips for bus riders on the Q60.

The basic blueprint for the redesign expanded pedestrian space and added protected bike lanes along the medians on Queens Boulevard’s service roads. It’s made a difference: Cycling has increased 141 percent on a 2.5-mile stretch in Woodside and Elmhurst, according to DOT, while pedestrian injuries have fallen 63 percent.

Capital construction on the Woodside segment of the project, which was installed with low-cost materials in 2015, is set to begin next year. DOT presented plans for the permanent version of the redesign to the Queens Community Board 2 transportation committee on Tuesday [PDF].

Riders on the Q60 will notice the biggest difference. Currently the route averages just 5.9 mph. It carries about 14,000 trips per day but ridership has fallen 8 percent since 2010, according to the Bus Turnaround Campaign.

With wider, more accessible pedestrian zones, the medians will be able to serve as bus stops, and the plan is to shift the Q60 from the Queens Boulevard service roads to the central roadway. Buses will no longer be traveling in the same lanes where drivers are parallel parking. In effect, bus riders will be in the express lanes.

The project does not include full, continuous bus lanes for the Q60, but it does call for a few bus lane segments.

At 65th Place, bus-only segments will let buses bypass traffic queues at the northeast and southwest corners. And a 550-foot eastbound bus lane segment will be carved out of unused street space around 69th Street (shown above).

The painted pedestrian space and bike lanes, meanwhile, will be elevated, turning the medians into more cohesive, greenway-like paths. However, DOT’s design shows the bike lane as black asphalt, not the more distinctive green of the low-cost version. There’s also no physical protection other than a mountable curb:

Image: DOT
Image: DOT

Construction gives DOT the opportunity to make a few other adjustments to street geometry. In between the main road and service roads, slip lanes will be adjusted to give drivers a clearer view of approaching cyclists. One negative, however, is the addition of a westbound slip lane approaching 70th Street/45th Avenue.

The city’s transportation capital projects are handled and executed by the Department of Design and Construction, which has a reputation for dragging projects out for years beyond the initial deadline. DOT’s Tuesday presentation did not provide a timetable for the project’s completion.

DOT reps will be showing the same presentation to the full board on April 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th Street.

  • J
  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Someone at DOT knows how to use Revit. Otherwise, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Nick Ober

    Did DOT provide a reason for why they’re choosing to go with black asphalt and not green painted lands for the bike lane? Ditto for the mountable curb.

  • Joe R.

    Why not colored concrete? Besides being able to essentially make the color part of the road surface so it can’t wear off, concrete offers two other major advantages. One, it’s a lot less prone to potholes and much longer lasting. Two, it offers slightly less rolling resistance than asphalt.

  • Mountable curb + no delineation poles = parking + express overpass lane

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Pretty outdated design for cycling that unfortunately won’t be touched again for a generation. 5 feet is really not an adequate width for a separate bike facility if they expect it to ever be well used or enable social cycling. This design also puts people cycling closer to moving vehicles than on Sands Street (no buffer!) with probably more and faster vehicles in the adjacent lane, especially at sections like at 65th Pl where there’s a ramp to the BQE.

    The curb should be mountable on the bike side (forgiving design), not the car side. Low visibility chevrons and thin lines at the crossovers instead of green paint and elephant teeth. No protection at the intersections, it’s really just a curbside lane. No protected turn box for right or left turns. For a left turn I guess you just wait in the middle of the road blocking the crosswalk, and for a right turn you just stop and block the bike lane?

    It seems to me like ultimately the capital design is a quasi-protected lane, rather than a cyclepath, that simulates riding on the road rather than providing a distinct and low stress environment that is neither sidewalk nor roadway. It’s for “cyclists” (the helmeted stencil was never more accurate) rather than for cycling.

    It’s almost like they don’t want to provide too good of a cycling experience because they think it might be too jarring to leave it for every other street in the city.

  • AnoNYC

    Mountable curbs = sideswipes.

    Even tuff curbs are way better.

  • Hugh Shepard

    Why not sidewalk-style curbs? Also, why not this type of curb that is common in Japan?
    Look carefully at the picture below (photo credit google maps streetview) and you’ll notice that the sidewalk is at the same level as the road, there’s just an extra curb between the sidewalk and the road. This design is very friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d38066e96ad12fdf1822edb9e5ca983748c32017094d92ef7fd1b169cb40c9b8.png

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen
  • StanChaz

    This making waiting pasengers even more exposed to the elements, car & truck fumes and errant drivers…

  • Ephraim Becker

    What’s the point of bus service on Queens Boulevard if there’s already a subway?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Boulevard of Life, Phase 2: DOT’s Plan for Queens Blvd in Elmhurst

|
Last night DOT presented a plan to redesign Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst with protected bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements to Community Board 4 [PDF]. While local Council Member Danny Dromm has supported the project, DOT may have to proceed without an endorsement from CB 4, judging by the reactions of key board members. Queens Boulevard is designed […]

This Week: Redesigning Queens Boulevard, Phase Two

|
The first phase of DOT’s Queens Boulevard redesign added a bike lane and safer pedestrian infrastructure along 1.3 miles in Woodside. The changes have made a big difference for walking and biking, and there’s more on the way. This week DOT will talk about what’s next for Queens Boulevard as the second phase of the redesign […]

Queens Boulevard Safety Plan Has First Encounter With a Community Board

|
Skepticism from the Community Board 2 transportation committee toward DOT’s proposed changes for Queens Boulevard wore off over the course of a meeting last night, as board members learned more about the project for 1.3 miles of safety improvements [PDF]. DOT will return to the committee again after tweaking the plan, which appears to be on track to receive CB 2’s backing by […]