111 Corona Mothers Take Over 111th Street to Call for a Safer Design

Mujeres en Movimiento — a Corona-based group of immigrant Latina mothers — marched on 111th Street this Saturday, calling on NYC DOT and Queens Community Board 4 to move forward with the city’s plan for traffic calming and a protected bike lane on the street.

They were joined by their children, members of Immigrant Movement International Corona, and Queens street safety activists. More than 160 people turned out for the march, which was billed as 111 mothers taking over 111th Street for 111 seconds.

Today 111th Street is a treacherous crossing for Corona residents going to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. With two northbound lanes and three southbound lanes, drivers move at dangerous speeds. DOT’s proposal would calm traffic by expanding medians at crossings, painting new crosswalks, installing a two-way protected bike lane along the park, and reducing the number of motor vehicle traffic lanes to one in each direction [PDF].

NYC DOT first presented a redesign for 111th Street more than a year ago, responding to a campaign organized by IMI Corona, Queens Museum, Make the Road New York, Transportation Alternatives, and Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. But it is currently stalled with no timetable for implementation. CB 4 has failed to advance the project, and Assembly Member Francisco Moya has tried to block it. DOT will only say that it plans to “return to CB 4 later this year.”

Saturday, some demonstrators marched with their bicycles, while others held signs with messages like “Los calles tambien nos pertenecen” (“The streets belong to us too”) and “Un futuro mas seguro para nuestros hijos” (“A safe future for our children”). At 49th Avenue, the group blocked the street to car traffic and paraded around the median between 49th and 50th Avenues.

Veronica Ramirez of Mujeres en Movimiento speaks to marchers. Photo: David Meyer
Veronica Ramirez of Mujeres en Movimiento speaks to the demonstrators. Photo: David Meyer

Speaking at the entrance to the park, Mujeres en Movimiento founder Veronica Ramirez and other members read from their manifesto. “As women, we used to think perhaps we were better off not being heard, and more so as immigrants because of language or not feeling that we belong here,” they said. “Now, together as Mujeres en Movimiento in IMI Corona, we feel valuable and deserving of the same rights as everyone because we are part of this community in Corona.”

“It’s been really painstaking,” Corona resident Claudia Corcino of the group Ciclistas Latinoamericanos said of the process with CB 4. Corcino bikes on 111th Street every day from her home near Roosevelt Avenue to her job in Forest Hills. “I don’t know if they know that it’s a lot of people [who] bike here, not only for the park but for going to work.

When residents brought up the 111th Street redesign at the board’s February meeting, Chair Louis Walker disputed that 111th is a dangerous barrier between the neighborhood and the park and said he was “getting a little tired of hearing about” the project.

DOT has the power to go ahead with the project at any time — community board positions on street design are advisory, not binding. Instead, the agency is conducting its second study of traffic in the area during major sports events. In the fall, a DOT spokesperson told Streetsblog that new data would be presented in the spring.

Under DOT's plan, 111th Street would received a protected bike lane, new pedestrian crossing and additional parking spots. Image: DOT [PDF]
Under DOT’s plan, presented last April, the removal of car traffic lanes on 111th Street would make way for a two-way protected bike lane and wider pedestrian medians. Image: DOT [PDF]
DOT has another big project before CB 4 this year — the second phase of its redesign of Queens Boulevard. The board is scheduled to vote on that plan tomorrow, and organizers of the 111th Street action encouraged attendees to turnout for the meeting.

The important thing about bike lanes is that they don’t happen in isolation,” Queens Museum Organizer Jose Serrano-McClain told the crowd. “If we support bike lanes on Queens Boulevard, they connect to bike lanes in Corona, they connect to bike lanes all over Queens — including 111th Street.”

The meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Italian Charities of America, 83-20 Queens Boulevard. The public will not be able to comment until the board has already voted — those are CB 4’s house rules — so supporters are encouraged to bring signs to show their support.

  • Vooch

    a decent proposal – would be improved with daylighting at corners and bump outs

  • Cristina Carnicelli Furlong

    The community board needs to ask more of USTA Tennis Assn, Citi Field and the many event sponsors in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. With proper policing and enforcement traffic at these events could be alleviated. The new tennis stadium is a traffic nightmare INSIDE and outside of the park. But remember, most of the year, day in and day out the community is accessing the park and using 111th as a commuting thoroughfare. Blaming activists for getting involved or saying that activists are outsiders as the community board is so ruffled about, is a disservice to the community. As leaders at CB4 they should be holding event organizers more responsible for occasional traffic snafu’s rather than getting themselves upset about bike lanes. Also, they could tour other neighborhoods in the city where bike lane implementation has helped traffic and safety.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Address for Italian Charities Queens Bl CB4 vote is 83-20 Queens Bl in Elmhurst.

  • Push the Plan Through

    CB4 ignores the community so badly, I wish it was criminal so they could be ousted somehow. NYC DOT just needs to announce they are gonna go ahead and push the project thru vote or no vote. The video from Transportation Alternatives showing zero traffic problems during the World Series shows everything is being overblown. When is the last time you saw a community rally like this? Each time I am over on 111th Street I see so many bikes and people dangerously crossing cause they have no choice. But cars zoom and speed however they would like.

  • J

    How can they ignore this?! Show this video at the next meeting! Or outside the meeting.

  • KeNYC2030

    Very inspiring community action! If this doesn’t do it, try 111 minutes.

  • Bernard Finucane

    Well I guess, but here are some easy and obvious improvements that would massively increase safety.

  • Bernard Finucane

    Or maybe with wider crosswalks

  • Vooch

    exactly,

    but I’d even Daylight the PEs crossing more. Replace 1 private property storage spot at each crossing point with brown avec LES Bollards and you Have a Deal .

  • I have been following this community for sometime. It is so obvious the people want the NYC DOT improvements. The people railing against it have complained that it cuts back on parking. But if you look at the DOT plan, it actually INCREASES the number of spots (like by about a dozen). And yet they still cite that as a reason not to vote for it.

  • Brian Howald

    In their defense, although the typical community board whine is parking, this time around CB4/local prominent residents/Assemblyman Moya are saying 111th Street needs two lanes of traffic for the six minutes a year there is traffic on that street.

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