With the first phase of new bike lanes set to go before Community Board 2 this fall before being installed in the spring, DOT has a new survey asking western Queens cyclists where they’d like to see bike lanes come next.
The survey is the latest step in months of outreach and feedback with members of Community Board 2, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and western Queens residents.
“Our district has a special responsibility to ensure safe cycling,” said CB 2 transportation committee member Evan O’Neil, “since we are the access point to the Queensboro Bridge.”
Dana Frankel, district services manager for the Long Island City Partnership, was also supportive of the new bike lanes planned for the neighborhood. “We’re excited that bike-share is coming to LIC,” she said. “The bike lanes will help make our streets safer.” She also mentioned that the area’s first StreetRack bike corral at MoMA PS1 has been well-used. “We are happy to help connect property owners and institutions who may want StreetRacks with DOT,” Frankel said.
The first round of bike lanes, which will bring nearly 10 lane miles to Long Island City and Sunnyside, were identified at community meetings with DOT in March and July [PDF]. They include critical connections such as 11th Street between the Pulaski Bridge and Queens Plaza South; 39th Street between Northern Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue; and Skillman and 47th Avenues in Sunnyside.
The first phase will not include Greenpoint Avenue itself, which community members identified at a March workshop as their top priority for bike lanes. Greenpoint Avenue has a dangerous history: In July, a cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run near 39th Place, after a cyclist was killed in April at the intersection with Borden Avenue. Bike lanes on Greenpoint Avenue would connect to the avenue’s bridge across Newtown Creek. DOT had proposed buffered bike lanes on the bridge, but backed off in the face of opposition from nearby companies that operate trucks across the span. The proposal has not seen much public progress since.
“Long term, it’s pretty clear that protected lanes like the excellent new infrastructure on Queens Plaza North should be the standard,” O’Neil said. However, the bike lane projects being considered by DOT are restricted by the department’s promise not to eliminate any parking.