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DOT Agrees to Make Bike Crossing Over LIE in Long Island City Less Hairy

Image: DOT [PDF]
One lane of car traffic is being removed to make way for two curbside bike lanes over the LIE. Image: DOT [PDF]
Image: DOT [PDF]

Biking over the Long Island Expressway on Greenpoint Avenue is set to get a little less nerve-wracking now that DOT has upgraded its plans for a key block. DOT agreed to add curbside bike lanes to the dangerous Queens crossing in response to local advocates and the community board. The plan comes up for a vote at the CB 2 full board tonight.

The agency had been proposing sharrows on Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside, but after years of agitation from members of Community Board 2 and the Transportation Alternatives Queens committee about an especially dangerous location, DOT is tweaking its plan to add bike lanes where Greenpoint crosses the LIE at Borden Avenue [PDF].

One lane of eastbound car traffic on Greenpoint will be reallocated to green curbside bike lanes in both directions. Cyclists will still have to navigate a crush of turning traffic, particularly on the eastbound approach to the intersection, but the change is a big improvement over the status quo.

DOT is also studying whether to adjust signals at the intersections on Greenpoint approaching the highway crossing, to give cyclists in both directions a head start on turning motorists. "That's key to making the whole intersection work," said TA Queens volunteer Steve Scofield.

The Queens CB 2 transportation committee supported the bike lane upgrade Tuesday night as part of a larger package of bike improvements in Long Island City and Sunnyside, Scofield said. The plan includes upgrading sharrows on 11th Street to bike lanes by removing one car lane in each direction, adding bike lanes to the Honeywell Street bridge, and adding sharrows to Jackson Avenue.

The committee asked for more information on a route connecting Long Island City to Greenpoint Avenue using 49th, Starr, and Review avenues. Some committee members were concerned about the route choice, interaction with truck traffic, and how it would connect to Greenpoint Avenue, Scofield said.

The route would link up a potential protected bikeway on Review Avenue and Rust Street to Maspeth. DOT has put that segment on pause pending negotiations with the Maspeth Industrial Business Association, which has expressed opposition to the proposal at Queens Community Board 5.

The Sunnyside plan now goes before the full Community Board 2 tonight at 7 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th Street.

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