When DOT presented plans for traffic calming along Long Island City’s 44th Drive in March, the department chose to put the four lane street on a road diet, using some of the reallocated space for a painted median. That still left enough space in the extra-wide parking lanes for a bike lane, however, a fact which Queens Community Board 2 pointed out at the time.
DOT appears to have taken the community board’s argument to heart and revised the plan to include space for cyclists, according to reports in the Queens Gazette and the Long Island City/Astoria Journal. Painted bike lanes would run in both directions, according to the articles. The revised plan won overwhelming support from CB2, with only four board members voting against it.
The community board also discussed how to ensure that the truck traffic running down 44th would be able to make deliveries, given that double parking would now block an entire direction of traffic. DOT Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy and CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley recommended that businesses request that parking spaces be replaced with loading zones if necessary, according to the Gazette.
We have requests in with DOT about why the bike lanes were added to the plan and what the precise street layout will be in the final design.
Separately, the Journal article quotes a ringing endorsement of bike lanes from Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who represents Corona. “People are getting hurt in my district, both pedestrians and cyclists,” said Ferreras. “We need to find a solution that works, and if bike lanes are the answer then that is a plan we need to get behind.”
Ferreras’s district was singled out as a particularly strong candidate for more cycling infrastructure in the recent Hunter College report on increasing the equity of the bike network.
Update: CB 2 transportation committee member Evan O’Neil writes in with the inside perspective on the addition of the bike lane:
In response to my request for a bike lane on 44th Dr. Commissioner McCarthy confirmed with Joe Conley that we did indeed want one. He said yes, she said great, happy to do it. Then she came back to the full board a week later to present the updated plan including the bike lane and the board voted yes.