Eyes on the Street: A Bike-Friendly Approach to the Q’Boro

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The new approach to the Queensboro, looking east, with access to the bridge path on the right. Photo: Clarence Eckerson

We’ve got another highlight from 2010 construction season to share with you. A two-way, protected approach to the Queens side of the Queensboro Bridge bike-ped path has been paved, striped and open for business since the end of October.

Clarence took these photos of the new approach, part of a package of bicycle and pedestrian improvements that NYC EDC is carrying out at Queens Plaza and vicinity. The project has been in the works for several years and, when finished, will encompass a major reallocation of real estate from cars and parking to public space, walking and biking. The bridge approach in these photos will be a link in a two-way path running from Northern Boulevard to Vernon Boulevard.

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The view looking toward the East River.

And here’s the same angle a few months ago, when construction was getting started:

Photo:
Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitchcakes/4880605085/##bitchcakesny##
  • BicyclesOnly

    I just love this new facility. Not only is the roadbed flat and spacious, but the plantings alongside are lovely.

    But as much as the connection to Vernon helps those heading north to Astoria or west to Hunters Point, I hope we’ll eventually get a more direct connection between the Pulaski and the Q’bo. Some combination of 21st and 11th Streets would work best. And I’m also curious to see how the Northern Blvd. terminus of this facility could hook up with Jackson and Skilmman for those heading east.

  • mike

    As much as we need to keep pushing for the big stuff, little improvements like this really do matter in making bicyclists and pedestrians feel welcome and appreciated.

  • mike

    And, and thanks EDC! (Still, this doesn’t get you off the hook for all the car parking you’re shoving down our throats.)

  • Kaja

    This is awesome, I’ll go out of my way to see it.

  • Are the dismount signs gone?

  • The cyclist dismount sign at the Queens end of the Bridge roadway is still up. There is no signage on this new facility, at least not as of about a week ago.

  • this is awesome. i remember riding on the awful bumpy sidewalk that was there before.

  • These lanes opened up midday on 29-Oct. Two more photos from that day: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seankenney/5126647455/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/seankenney/5126642895/

    The work is still in-progress, and it’s part of the LIC BID improvements that will stretch from the bridge to Queens Plaza and then roughly over to PS1, as noted here: http://www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/LICSTREETSCAPE_BIDBOARD629CompatibilityMode.pdf

    Seeing all the great improvements in Brooklyn and West-Side Manhattan, I’ve previously felt as if we Queensboro bike commuters were the second-class citizens of the cycling infrastructure world. But now, instead of winding through decrepit industria and feeling like an afterthought I’m being treated like a real human being important enough to have received the attention and action of my government. It’s wonderful.

    And the nicest part of the new lane at the end of the bridge is the smell of the fresh mulch and plantings… It makes me feel like I’m in the park. (A park with two screeching trains and 6 lanes of traffic over my head, but a park nonetheless.) 🙂

    Now all we need is some infrastructure on the Manhattan side that will help us avoid near-death situations daily. (I really don’t like the sound of emergency engine brakes winding down a dump truck feet behind me on 2nd Avenue…)

  • J

    This is more than just small stuff. This is a critical link is the cycling network and will close the gap between the Queens bike network and the bridge. It should be noted, though, that the project is now only complete from the touchdown of the bridge west to 21st St, I think. The connection to Northern Boulevard was under construction, the last time I checked.

    Also, BicyclesOnly, the terminus at Northern Boulevard connects to a marked bike path on the north sidewalk of the Queens Boulevard viaduct over Sunnyside rail yards. This provides a direct connection to Skillman/43rd St heading east. Granted, the sidewalk path isn’t ideal, and is often encroached by pedestrians who simply have less space because of it. However, the connection is still there.

  • This new bike plaza is mostly a great improvement, but why did they have to put that lightpole right in the middle of the path? It’s splitting two small lanes and clearance is tight. I’ve nearly clipped my bars on it a few times. It seems like they could have put it elsewhere.

  • Michael1

    #10

    It’s reverse. They put the bike lane through the lightpole. I was thinking why they did that but I remembered that lightpole was always there, they just didn’t move it yet.

  • Shemp

    I feel like I’ve been waiting about half my life for this.

  • Joe R.

    Excellent! Even though Queens Plaza is over 8 miles from me, I feel like taking a ride down there just to take a look.

  • J,

    Thanks for the clarification–it was the separated bike path on the viaduct over the railyards that I was thinking of when I referred to the need for a connection eastward. There are still quite a few issues to work out on that eastward route before you make it to 34th Avenue, but navigating Queens Plaza was definitely one of the biggest.

    In the past, if I was riding with my younger child out to the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, I would detour north to Astoria in order avoid the Queens Plaza craziness (even though this entailed its own problems). This pathway, extended eastward to access the viaduct pathway, will eliminate that issue. (I find that the viaduct pathway has virtually no pedestrians during the weekends, which is when I have most often used it).

  • The viaduct path is so wide that I’ve never encountered any issues, either as a cyclist or as a pedestrian. And we in Sunnyside and Woodside look forward to the completion of the Queens Boulevard project so that we can welcome you on the Skillman and 43rd Avenue bike lanes!

  • Greg

    Slow down, you movin’ too fast
    You gotta make the morning last …

  • Thabks for the link, Angus–didn’t know that group existed! Good work!

  • R2

    How timely! I jogged on this earlier on Friday. Glad to see Queens getting some attention.

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