Dozens pressure city for bike lanes on Queens Blvd.
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Apr 03, 2019 | 698 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dozens of community members joined transportation advocacy groups at MacDonald Park on Sunday to call on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install bike lanes on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens.

They included Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee, Families for Safe Streets and BikeNYC.

The DOT announced last June that bike lanes will be installed on Queens Boulevard between Yellowstone Boulevard and Union Turnpike as part of Phase IV, the final phase, of its Queens Boulevard plan. The controversial lanes haven’t been installed yet.

Lindsey Nicholson lives near Yellowstone Boulevard and was looking for an easier way to ride into the city when she and her partner joined group bike rides led by activist and Community Board 6 member Peter Beadle.

Although she doesn't have the opportunity to bike every single day, Nicholson uses her bike for everything from shopping at the mall to visiting the doctor.

“I like to say that my partner and I ‘pollinate’ the local restaurants and diners when we ride our bikes,” she said. “I enjoyed going to Ben’s Best and I learned about Shalimar Diner while biking to Juniper Valley Park one day.”

She argued that as the demographics and the economy changes, the neighborhood must adapt and change as well. She believes having the bike lanes would appeal to the younger families moving to the area.

Laura Shepherd, a communications coordinator for Bike New York, said that many restaurants along Queens Boulevard employ delivery cyclists and that the bike lanes are also valuable for them.

“Delivery workers prove everyday that you don’t need a 2,000-pound vehicle to move goods,” Shepherd said.

Lizi Rahman, whose son Asif was killed while cycling home from work ten years ago, urged the mayor to implement the bike lanes.

“I have been wanting to come here to celebrate the completion of Queens Boulevard for five years,” said Rahman while holding a photo of her son. “It was supposed to be finished last year.”

Community Board 6 member Alexa Weitzman couldn’t attend the rally, but she supports the effort.

“I could have used the protected bike lane today to get from Yellowstone to Union for a meeting in Richmond Hill,” she said. “Instead, I used narrow streets through the Gardens without bike lanes of any kind and I didn’t feel safe.”

Once Phase IV is completed, 7.5 miles of Queens Boulevard between Sunnyside and Kew Gardens will have bike lanes.

But there is opposition to the bike lanes. Last June, in an advisory vote, Community Board 6 voted down Phase IV with 22 board members opposed and 12 in favor of the project.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz has said in the past that she supports byciclists and bike lanes, but opposes of bike lanes on Queens Boulevard.

Nicholson said that since the bike lane debate has already happened and the city has committed to implementing the lanes, they should just get on with it.

“I’m just a regular girl who likes to ride as much as I can,” Nicholson said. “We have a six-lane highway in the middle of our neighborhood, so I’d like to see the bike lanes help to slow things down and make it safer in our community.”
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