Van Bramer Calls for Protected Bike Lanes on 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside

City Council majority leader demands "immediate" action from DOT after two horrific crashes in as many weeks.

City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, podium, speaking this morning alongside Flor Jimenez, left, whose husband Gelacio Reyes was killed biking on 43rd Avenue on April 1. Photo: David Meyer
City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, podium, speaking this morning alongside Flor Jimenez, left, whose husband Gelacio Reyes was killed biking on 43rd Avenue on April 1. Photo: David Meyer

After two crashes in ten days at the same Sunnyside intersection left one cyclist dead and another in critical condition, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer is calling on DOT to take immediate action and install a protected bike lane on 43rd Avenue between Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue.

Van Bramer spoke this morning at the corner of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street alongside Flor Jimenez, whose husband Gelacio Reyes was killed by a drunk, unlicensed hit-and-run driver while biking home from Manhattan on April 1. Ten days later, a turning box truck driver critically injured cyclist David Nunez, 27, at the same location.

“This intersection, this street — needs to be safe for every single New Yorker at every single moment of every single day,” Van Bramer said. “Vision Zero is not working at this location.”

The painted bike lane on 43rd Avenue is the primary eastbound connection for cyclists headed from the Queensboro Bridge and Long Island City to the protected bike lanes on Queens Boulevard. There’s no official count, but it’s likely that hundreds of people use the street during the p.m. rush.

Intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside, where Gelacio Reyes was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike home from work. Image: Google Maps
Intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside, where Gelacio Reyes was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike home from work. Image: Google Maps

Van Bramer said DOT should take “immediate” action to study “not if, but how” a protected bike lane can be installed on the corridor. He also called for leading pedestrian intervals at the intersection where Reyes and Nunez were struck, which is just feet away from the district’s largest senior center.

“We live in a culture where cyclists like Gelacio, and like David, and pedestrians, are invisible to motorists,” said Peter Beadle, Jimenez’s lawyer. “People cannot be invisible. These are lives.”

Van Bramer wants safety fixes as soon as possible. DOT sometimes spends years to get community board votes in favor of its safety projects, but Queens Community Board 2 chair Denise Keehan-Smith endorsed Van Bramer’s proposal today, saying protected bike lanes on 43rd Avenue are “necessary.”

“[This intersection] has to be made safer right away,” Van Bramer said. “We can’t wait months [or] years for this to change.”

  • Jeff

    YES this would be amazing–in addition to these recent events, this is indeed an easily fixable gap in an otherwise physically protected network beginning in Elmhurst, continuing all the way across the bridge into Manhattan and then along 1st and 2nd ave (well, kind of).

    Let’s just make sure any solution on 43rd Ave is two-way, and if not, that Skillman Ave, the Westbound complement, gets the same treatment!

  • rrllbb

    The north side of Skillman would be a great location for a two way bike lane. From experience my impression is that there is less traffic on Skillman then 43rd and could be a one lane street even during rush hour. Also, with the railyard there are fewer intersections to negotiate.

  • Erin

    I used to use this lane coming home from school and work at all hours of the evening/night. I would love to see a protected lane come in! My ideal scenario would be to eventually have protected lanes going to/from Queensboro Plaza along Queens Blvd to Forest Hills, and Skillman/43 to Flushing, and beyond.

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