Queens CB 5 Set to Move Ahead With Bike Lane Planning, Plaza Construction

In Queens, Community Board 2 has garnered attention for its partnership with DOT on bike route planning. Immediately to the southeast, CB 5 has been busy working with the Department of City Planning on a parallel effort to map out routes in Ridgewood, Maspeth, and Middle Village that could receive bike lanes as soon as fall of next year.

Ridgewood, Middle Village, and Maspeth are missing the bike lanes that neighboring areas to the north and west enjoy. CB 5 is looking to change that. Map: ##http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemaps.shtml##NYC DOT##

Last year, the community board approached DOT asking for new bike lanes; while DOT will handle implementation in CB 5, it has handed off planning for the area to DCP’s transportation planning division. Community meetings over the spring and summer led DCP to develop a list of routes:

  • Eliot Avenue from Metropolitan Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard;
  • Juniper Boulevard South from 69th Street to Dry Harbor Road;
  • Woodward Avenue, Onderdonk Avenue, and connecting streets from Metropolitan Avenue to Cypress Hills Cemetery;
  • Central Avenue and Cooper Avenue from Cypress Hills Street to Woodhaven Boulevard;
  • 69th Street from Calamus Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue; and
  • 80th Street from the Long Island Expressway to Myrtle Avenue.

There are four additional routes that could receive further study: Grand Avenue, a north-south route between Ridgewood and Maspeth, a route between Ridgewood and Bushwick, and a loop around Juniper Valley Park. CB 5 transportation committee member John Maier said DCP was also considering a route along Rust Street, connecting to streets near Woodside.

“That’s just what they’re looking at; it doesn’t mean they’re going to get any specific treatment,” Maier said, adding that DCP staff is currently taking measurements of streets and coming up with design treatments for some of the streets. DCP will host another workshop with the community board next month to show its preliminary recommendations. Those projects could be implemented as soon as fall 2014. (DCP and DOT have not responded to questions from Streetsblog.)

Also at last night’s CB 5 transportation committee meeting, the Department of Design and Construction and a landscape architect consulting for DOT presented plans to upgrade the new, triangle-shaped plaza DOT created along 71st Avenue where it intersects Myrtle Avenue and Stephen Street. The capital project will raise curbs at the plaza to sidewalk level and install permanent street furniture.

Capital upgrades of the plaza at Myrtle Avenue and 71st Avenue call for two styles of concrete paving and a bioswale. Image: NYC DOT and Mathews Nielsen

The plaza will include new tables, chairs, umbrellas, and plantings maintained by the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District. BID executive director Ted Renz said DOT was exploring an agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection that will allow plaza maintenance partners to access fire hydrants to water plants.

The project includes reconstruction of the sewer beneath 71st Avenue. Because it will eliminate a storm drain, the project adds a bioswale to divert stormwater runoff. According to Scott Makoseij of DDC, the bioswale will be maintained by the Parks Department in cooperation with DEP.

Although committee member Roland Belay expressed frustration that the handful of parking spaces that had been “taken away” by the plaza would not be “given back,” Renz noted that DOT is studying adding metered parking to a section of 71st Avenue, and other board members added that a few lost parking spaces were a worthwhile tradeoff for the plaza.

The plan goes before the Public Design Commission next month; the committee is expected to provide a letter of support for the project shortly.

Meanwhile, planning for permanent reconstruction of another plaza in CB 5, at Myrtle and Cooper Avenues, is even further along; the community board is currently reviewing preliminary bid documents before DDC selects a contractor to implement the project.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Immediately to the southeast, CB 5 has been busy working with the Department of City Planning on a parallel effort to map out routes in Ridgewood, Maspeth, and Middle Village that could receive bike lanes as soon as fall of next year.”

    This is an example of an area that could really benefit from bicycle infrastructure — particularly bike parking at subway stops, which are located outside the area. The subway may not be close enough to walk for much of the area, but it is close enough to bike.

    But based on what I assumed I knew about the local politics I would have said not to bother. If I was wrong, I’m glad, particularly since I bike through the area on the way between Brooklyn and Citifield for day games, using Eliot Avenue.

  • Toby Sheppard Bloch

    Three cheers to CB5 from a resident!

  • Ben Kintisch

    Incredible when a community works with DCP or DOT to really throw down a whole new network within an area. This will be tremendous for these nabes!

  • Anonymous

    I am super excited to be getting a bike lane on my street!

  • Christina

    The sightlines at intersections along Woodward and Onderdonk need to be adjusted before bike lanes are installed along them. You have to pull your bike or car halfway out before you can actually see if traffic is headed your way. Most are not 4-way stops.

  • Christina

    How do you find biking along Eliot between the cemeteries? The bike riders around here avoid that area because the street is very narrow.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, this would be great. I take Onderdonk Ave. and also Central Ave. every day on my commute home. I recently switched from Woodward Ave. to Cypress Ave. on the commute into work; but, if there were a bike lane on Woodward, I’d probably switch back.

    If they are going to put lanes on Onderdonk and Central, maybe they’ll connect the the two by means of the route that I use myself, and that I see many other people using (both by bike and by car): from southbound Onderdonk, left on 69th Ave., right on 60th St., left on 71st Ave., right on Cypress Hills St., then left onto Central. A painted lane at that last intersection would really help facilitate that left tern.

  • Jeff

    I find it frustrating that we need bike lanes on streets like Onderdonk and Woodward. The geometry and neighborhood character of these streets should allow for a more “shared space” scheme that doesn’t call for well-defined places for different street users. But alas, we allow motorists to run amok and act like children in this city, so for the time being, bike lanes are a reasonable treatment.

  • Christina

    The problem on Woodward and Onderdonk is not lack of space or “motorists running amok.” The problem is not being able to see past the parked cars at intersections to know what’s coming down the street. In Hoboken, you are not allowed to park near the crosswalks and it makes driving and cycling a lot less stressful.

  • Christina

    The problem on Woodward and Onderdonk is not lack of space or “motorists running amok.” The problem is not being able to see past the parked cars at intersections to know what’s coming down the street. In Hoboken, you are not allowed to park near the crosswalks and it makes driving and cycling a lot less stressful.

  • Christina

    The problem on Woodward and Onderdonk is not lack of space or “motorists running amok.” The problem is not being able to see past the parked cars at intersections to know what’s coming down the street. In Hoboken, you are not allowed to park near the crosswalks and it makes driving and cycling a lot less stressful.

  • S. Hagan

    It’s great seeing another new plaza popping up in the city. So many millions of people and just too many roads. Oh, my. Cars really don’t need front-door access to every building. A tiny inconvenience for the automobile but just lovely for everyone walking in the neighborhood. Thank you DOT.

  • John

    Much of these two streets actually have the right of way at intersections, it’s the streets entering that usually have to stop. Not that I wouldn’t like to see more daylighting, I’m just saying that it isn’t as bad as you make it seem for east-west traffic.

  • Christina

    That’s what I was talking about. I live on one of the streets that crosses Woodward and Onderdonk, and you can’t see well when you turn onto those 2 streets or need to cross them. It can be bad for a cyclist if a motorist has to pull out into the intersection to see. Daylighting is important.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Scary but brief. I’m following the “future bike routes” line and can’t figure out an alternative. You’ve got to get past those cemeteries somehow.

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