Sneak Preview: More Queens Bike Lanes and Bike-Friendly Zoning

If only a zoning amendment could retroactively require the New York Times Building to provide bike parking.

Some interesting nuggets are coming out of DOT bike coordinator Josh Benson’s ongoing Q & A with readers of the Times’ City Room blog. In yesterday’s installment, Benson outlined upcoming additions to the Queens bike network: 

In Queens, specifically, we have a number of bike lane projects
either under way or on the drawing board for the coming months,

  • 35th Street, Astoria (1.7 miles)
  • Linden Boulevard, St. Albans (3 miles)
  • Sunnyside Connector to the Queensboro Bridge, Woodside, Sunnyside, Sunnyside Gardens (5.2 miles)
  • Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Astoria (7 miles).

Then, responding to a question about the need for more indoor bike parking, he said a zoning amendment to mandate bike amenities in or around certain buildings is in the works (no sure thing, of course, but certainly encouraging). A City Planning spokeswoman told Streetsblog the department is aiming to introduce the amendment by the end of this year. Benson’s full response comes after the jump.

Many readers have mentioned this issue and indeed a Department of
City Planning study confirmed that one of the biggest obstacles to
increasing bicycle commuting in NYC is not safety, but rather the lack
of secure bike parking. That is why in PlaNYC 2030, Mayor Bloomberg
committed to pursue legislation that would require large commercial
buildings to make provisions for bicycle storage either on site or
reasonably nearby. The Department of City Planning has been following
through on this and they are working on a Proposed Bicycle Parking Text
Amendment which will need to go through public review. This amendment
would require bike parking in new buildings. Amending the zoning codes
can be a long process, so we are also exploring the possibility of
other legislative avenues.

In the meantime we are trying to lead by example in city government.
As I mentioned, department headquarters provides indoor bike parking
and the Department of City-Wide Administrative Services offers bike
parking for all city employees in Lower Manhattan at 100 Gold Street
and 280 Broadway.

I would encourage readers to begin a frank discussion with their
building managers or owners about the importance of indoor bike parking
to the health of the building’s employees and for the environment of
New York City. As more property managers and owners become educated on
this issue it will become easier for us to enact and enforce measures
to ensure that indoor bike parking becomes the norm, not the exception.

A third round of answers is due out later today. 

  • speaking of DCP

    DCP allows employees at 22 Reade St to park bicycles in an office behind the public hearing room. (And as Jan Gehl has told audiences, when JSK and Amanda Burden came to Copenhagen, they rode their bikes until their butts were sore!)

  • I was so glad to see that the Q’bo to Sunnyside connector will be installed this summer. Finally, a relatively direct and continuous on-street lane between Central Queens and Manhattan. My guess is that it will be very well-used.

  • Jacob

    I biked by the 43rd Street and Skillman area, and the new lanes for the Queensboro connector have already been hashed on the street (a chalk line). I imagine they will be striped within the week.

  • Geck

    A friend of mine work at the NY Times and rides to work. The new building does have a bike room, but space is limited and he is not sure what will happen in nice weather.

  • Cyclin’ Astorian

    The Sunnyside Connector looks decent, but what’s taking so long with better access on both sides of the Queensboro Bridge? On the Queens side, a simple temporary jersey barriered two way bike lane on Queens Plaza North, the street so many of us ride the wrong way on, would make it so much safer. There’s room for it. Connect it to the “greenway” on Queens Blvd somehow. Then, when they finally figure out how to re-do the area they can revamp the whole area again.

    It’s good the situation for cycling is improving, but I’d like to see some of these obvious things taken care of sooner than later.

  • The Sunnyside Connector will also slow traffic on Skillman and 43rd Avenues, making them much safer and more pleasant.

    Thanks to T.A. and the DOT for those!

  • Brinda

    With all these new bike lanes opening, I’m thinking of commuting to work more. I want to get a folding bike, like one of these Does anyone own a Downtube bike or other folding bikes? Are they good for frequent commuting?

  • Phil

    35th Street in Astoria? Are they kidding? That street is a one way barely drivable when there are cars on both sides. I know I was born and lived on that block for many years. Linden Blvd? That’s scary. I drive that route into Brooklyn at least twice a month. Six days a week, truck traffic you won’t believe. Otherwise it’s just your normal set of crazy drivers trying to beat the lights in both directions. I sure hope these bike routes are well protected. Vernon Blvd ain’t no picnic either. . . I’ve never been on the Sunnyside connector. I love the idea of more bike lanes but they need to be protected and not out in traffic.


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Queens CB1 Chair: Secure Bike Parking Serves “No Purpose”

A zoning change that would provide better bike parking options in new buildings is wending its way through the city’s public review process, which means 59 community boards have a chance to vote on it. The Queens Gazette reports from the goings on at CB1, which encompasses Astoria and Long Island City: "I see no […]