Trottenberg: Safer 111th Street “Tremendously Important” But Let’s See How CB 4 Votes

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg speaking in Queens this morning. Photo: David Meyer
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg speaking in Queens this morning. Photo: David Meyer

Days after a member of Queens Community Board 4 said a protected bike lane on 111th Street won’t be necessary because undocumented immigrants will be deported, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg called the project “tremendously important” but stopped short of saying the city will definitely proceed with it.

Ann Pfoser Darby, facing the camera, was first appointed to Queens CB 4 in 1987. Photo: Juan Restrepo
Ann Pfoser Darby, facing the camera, was first appointed to Queens CB 4 in 1987. Photo: Juan Restrepo

Longtime CB 4 member Ann Pfoser Darby said at a meeting on Tuesday that immigrants living in Corona will be sent “back home,” making bike lanes superfluous, and later doubled down on her statement.

The 111th Street project has languished since DOT first unveiled a plan almost two years ago, when Darby joined up with one other CB 4 member to vote against it and set in motion a cascade of delays.

Trottenberg was asked about the project at a press event this morning. “We see a lot of cyclists on that street, all kinds of New Yorkers cycling — immigrants, native-born, young, old, families with children,” she told reporters. “There is a real safety need there. It is a tremendously important corridor for people trying to get to the park, for families who want to cycle, for pedestrians, and we think this project will address a lot of those challenges.”

DOT doesn’t need community board approval to make streets safer and can always move forward without a vote. Asked why, after three years of public process, DOT has yet to install the redesign, Trottenberg said she wanted to wait for the full board to vote later this month.

She also cited other sources of obstruction. “The debate about the project is not just involved with the community board,” she said. “I think people who’ve followed it know there’s been a vast discussion involving a lot of the elected officials in that part of Queens, so there’s been a lot of players and a lot of back-and-forth. Again, we always try to work with community boards, but, as you know, sometimes we will go ahead with projects when we think they’re essential.”

The elected official fighting the redesign is Assembly Member Francisco Moya. In October, DOT revealed a watered-down version that Moya appeared to endorse in a statement. Then DOT initiated another round of presentations to CB 4.

DOT's updated 111th Street plan (top) maintains two southbound traffic lanes and omits marked crosswalks included in the original plan (bottom). Images: DOT
DOT’s updated 111th Street plan (top) maintains two southbound traffic lanes and omits marked crosswalks included in the original plan (bottom). Images: DOT

Given the wide-ranging community coalition that supports the project, CB 4’s history of obstruction, and Darby’s recent comments, moving ahead with the original, safer redesign seems like the way to go at this point.

  • Reader

    DOT rarely misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  • AnoNYC

    Eliminating the marked crosswalks is not going to stop people from crossing, but it will make drivers forget to yield or drive aggressively past if someone is crossing.

    A poor compromise.

  • Pat

    DOT’s own plan drawings can’t even show crosswalks that are properly daylighted.

  • Before anyone rags on Trottenberg for her inadequate response, let us realise that Trottenberg is not an independent actor. She is simply a functionary of the City’s administration; she can go only as far as her boss (the mayor) will alow, and no further. Trottenberg’s tepid response tells us nothing about her own personal mindset, but everything about the lukewarm support for bike infrastructure on the part of de Blasio.

    By the way, as the election creeps closer, and as potential right-wing challengers emerge, we can expect de Blasio’s commitment to bike infrastructure to get even weaker. My fear is that he’s preparing to give some of our lanes away in the name of “balance”, so as to appease the most backward of Queens voters and therby to undercut conservative candidates who would use bike lanes as a weapon against him.

  • Shemp

    So back to the East Tremont m.o.? – wait til someone is killed there then use that to proceed without the community board

  • Brian Howald

    However, eliminating marked crosswalks makes crossing at those locations illegal.

    Rules of the City of New York (RCNY) Section 4-01(b) defines an unmarked crosswalk as:

    “That part of a roadway, other than a marked crosswalk, which is included within the extensions of the sidewalk lines between opposite sides of the roadway at an intersection, provided that (A) the roadway crosses through the intersection rather than ending at the intersection, and/or (B) all traffic on the opposing roadway is controlled by a traffic control device.”

    According to RCNY Section 4-04(c)2:

    “No pedestrian shall cross any roadway at an intersection except within a crosswalk.”

    DOT is now enticing people to make an illegal crossing of the street. That sounds like a good civil claim should anyone get hit.

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