June 27, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
Several elected officials and local groups are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to add a new bus stop near the Ridgewood Reservoir as part of the Queens bus route redesign.
The MTA announced in April that it will undergo a year-long redesign of all 107 bus lines in the borough in an attempt to modernize the routes and reverse the declining bus ridership. Local leaders are calling attention to the fact the 50-acre reservoir is not currently accessible by public transit and are asking the MTA to include a new stop in the revamp.
”Currently, one has to walk a mile from the closest subway station and a half mile from the closest bus stop to get to the Historic Ridgewood Reservoir,” said Assembly Member Mike Miller. “More families, students and seniors can enjoy this 50 acre natural oasis if there was a bus stop in front of the reservoir.”
The closest bus stop to Ridgewood Reservoir, located on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, is the Q56 at Jamaica and Shepherd Avenues, about a half mile away. The nearest subway station is the Norwood Avenue J train station, located a mile downhill from the reservoir.
Nonprofit NYC H20 has led the charge calling for the new bus stop and has received support from City Council Members Robert Holden and Antonio Reynoso, State Senators Michael Gianaris and Joseph Addabbo, and Assemblymembers Andrew Hevesi and Catherine Nolan. Community organizer Rob Jett of Friends of Ridgewood Reservoir and Marit Larson of NYC Parks have also given their stamp of approval.
“The Ridgewood Reservoir is a hidden gem on the border of Queens and Brooklyn, and any additional method to bring people to the reservoir to connect with nature is welcomed,” said Holden.
NYC H20, which submitted a successful application that earned the Reservoir a National Register of Historic Places designation in 2017, emphasized the importance of equity in park accessibility for New Yorkers.
“The Ridgewood Reservoir’s greenspace serves as a cultural and ecological treasure solely for those New Yorkers who have cars and can access it,” NYC H20 said in a statement. “A City bus stop at the Ridgewood Reservoir would allow more students to access the historic wetland which is now accessible to them solely through the Field Trip program.”
The nonprofit did not specify where they would like to see the bus stop go in.
The Ridgewood Reservoir, built in 1859 as a water supply for the then-independent city of Brooklyn, has become home to 175 species of plants and 163 species of birds since it was decommissioned in the 1980s.
Late last year, the reservoir was given a Class 1 Freshwater Wetland designation by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in a move to permanently protect the reservoir as a natural area after years of advocacy.