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Why Ray Rides

5:57 PM EDT on July 15, 2011

Here’s the latest portrait in Streetsblog’s weekly “Why I Ride” series.

Bike portrait of Ray for Streetsblog by Dmitry Gudkov

If you’ve biked on the Queensboro Bridge in the last couple of years, you have seen the massive reconstruction project underway at Queens Plaza. A few months ago, we saw a brand new bike path leading west from the bridge entrance, and the last few weeks have brought some of the most noticeable changes east of the bridge, including curbs and sidewalks, plantings, and an eastward continuation of the bike path all the way to Northern Boulevard. This means that there is finally a safe way to continue riding east after getting off the bridge.

This is Ray, one of the people behind the construction effort. An engineer with the consulting management firm LiRo Group, Ray is in charge of overseeing the entire Queens Plaza reconstruction. When the job began two years ago, Ray was faced with a dilemma: He needed to personally oversee many parts of the project, but the construction area was so large that he could not effectively get around on foot. So he decided to bring his bike to work. For the last two years, Ray has been able to monitor every aspect of the project by navigating the massive construction site on two wheels. “I couldn’t do this without my bike,” he says. “The site is 1.5 miles around, and I need to make the trip several times a day.”

Ray lives in Wyckoff, NJ and drives in to work. When he’s home, he prefers to get around by bike as much as possible. “Our family and friends all live pretty close by, so my wife and I usually ride our bikes to see them. It’s not as nice as this,” he says, gesturing at the freshly paved and painted bike path, “but it’s less congested there so it feels pretty safe.” The Queens Plaza bike path, part of Phase I of the project, extends from 21st Street to Northern Boulevard, and was finally completed last week. “We pushed really hard to finish the bike lane.” Ray says. “I think it will be great for the community.”

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