Queens CB 4 Member: No One Will Need Bike Lanes “Once Trump Removes the Illegals”
Ann Pfoser Darby, a long-time member of Queens Community Board 4, argued last night that 111th Street by Flushing Meadows Corona Park doesn’t need a protected bike lane because Donald Trump will deport “all the illegals.” City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland is now calling for Borough President Melinda Katz to remove Darby from the board.
Transportation Alternatives Queens organizer Juan Restrepo reports that at an update on the 111th Street project last night, Darby said, “Once Trump removes all the illegals from Corona, there won’t be anybody to ride bike lanes.”
Community board members are appointed by council members and borough presidents to two-year terms. Darby has been reappointed to Community Board 4 since 1987.
This morning Ferreras-Copeland issued a statement calling for Darby’s removal from the board: “These comments raise legitimate concerns that this bigoted attitude is behind delaying necessary safety improvements on 111th Street which CB4 has obstructed for the past three years.”
Streetsblog contacted Katz’s office for comment and has yet to receive a response.
It’s been nearly two years since DOT presented its initial plan for 111th Street, spurred by a broad coalition advocating for safer access to the park. The coalition includes Make the Road New York, Immigrant Movement International, and Mujeres en Movimiento — organizations representing the Corona immigrant community.
Their campaign for a safer 111th Street has run up against obstinate resistance from some longtime residents, including Darby. In June 2015, Darby was one of the two members of the CB 4 transportation committee who attended the first meeting about the 111th Street project and voted it down, setting in motion a string of delays and setbacks.
Later that year, Assembly Member Francisco Moya, who aligned with the faction opposed to the street redesign, held a “town hall” on the project without alerting Ferreras-Copeland, DOT, or the immigrant community.
Last October, the city scaled back its original plan in order to win over Moya, keeping the two-way protected bike lane but doing away with marked crosswalks and retaining an unnecessary traffic lane. But those changes weren’t enough to win over CB 4 transportation committee chair James Lisa (who was the other vote, along with Darby, against the project at the first presentation in 2015) and District Manager Christian Cassagnol, who later berated DOT staff with bogus concerns about non-existent congestion on the corridor.
As recently as November, Lisa denied that 111th Street was dangerous for people walking or biking to the park. Meanwhile, proponents have repeatedly demonstrated widespread community support, turning out large numbers to rallies last year on 111th Street and at City Hall.
The CB 4 transportation committee did not vote on the project last night, opting instead to “motion” it to March 14’s full board meeting, according to sources who were in attendance. CB 4’s March 14 meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at VFW Post #150, located at 51-11 108th Street in Corona.
On the broader question of community board reform, City Council members have proposed transparency measures and term limits for community boards in recent years, but that legislation has not moved forward. When Melinda Katz was running for borough president, she said she supported community board term limits, but she took a different position after winning the race.