DOT Scrubs Flushing Busway Forum Amid Pushback from NIMBYs
The DOT quietly — and infuriatingly — canceled a “town hall” forum to promote its long-overdue “busway” plan for Main Street in Flushing after the neighborhood’s council member criticized the plan with a racially inflammatory remark.
Late on Friday afternoon, the DOT tweeted that the online forum planned for Monday morning had been canceled — just hours after Council Member Peter Koo had chanted, “What does BLM stand for? Business lives matter” at what was supposed to have been an event On Thursday to highlight the benefits of the car-free, .3-mile stretch from Northern Boulevard to Sanford Ave.
It's bad enough our elected officials are sabotaging much-needed transportation upgrades, but now they are co-opting the language of racial justice to stop a public hearing. Sad. https://t.co/9xWqUZzqBn
— John Choe (@jxcnyc) August 1, 2020
Streetsblog asked DOT why the forum had been scrubbed and got back this answer from agency spokesman Scott Gastel: “It was postponed and we’ll be in touch with updates.” (Let the record show, we asked “why” not “was.”)
Insiders said that Koo’s outburst — in which he appropriated the Black Lives Matter movement equity movement to bolster his a pro-driver/anti-transit message — was behind the cancelation. (Koo later offered a weak statement meant as an apology.)
When politicians appropriate #BLM to advance the car-centric ideology of wealthy elites, they not only undermine the struggle for racial justice, they put all our lives at risk. We need leadership to serve the majority of New Yorkers (83%) who ride buses, walk, bike into Flushing https://t.co/zjrVedLwkB
— John Choe (@jxcnyc) July 30, 2020
Koo is one of just a few Flushing leaders who oppose the busway plan claiming it will be bad for business. But the city’s own studies show that far more people use transit to get to Flushing’s shopping center than drive.
It’s not the first time the busway project has been delayed. When Mayor de Blasio announced the plan in June, he said the route would be complete that month. It is now August.
Transit advocates have begged the mayor to fight for long-suffering bus riders in Flushing, which has some of the slowest buses in town.
DOT has not responded. We will update if the agency does.