Mujeres en Movimiento to Queens CB4: We Need a Safer 111th Street
Members of Mujeres en Movimiento, a Corona-based group of Latina mothers who bike, packed into Queens Community Board 4’s monthly meeting on Tuesday to have their say about DOT’s proposed redesign of 111th Street.
The only way to get to Flushing Meadows Corona Park from Corona without crossing a highway is to cross 111th Street, but with five traffic lanes, it’s dangerous for the families who use it every day. DOT’s proposal would repurpose one vehicle lane in each direction to create space for a protected two-way bike lane along the park and additional on-street parking [PDF].
The 111th redesign arose from a series of workshops hosted in 2014 by Immigrant Movement International, Transportation Alternatives, Make the Road New York and the Queens Museum. Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland has committed $2.7 million from her discretionary fund to make it happen, but Assembly Member Francisco Moya and some nearby residents have been trying to thwart the plan. Community Board 4 has not voted in favor of it.
In October, Moya hosted a “town hall” where he laid out three other options for 111th Street, none of which would narrow the excessive traffic lanes. The women from Mujeres en Movimiento felt silenced by a lack of translation services or space for public input at Moya’s town hall, so they put together an opinion piece for the Queens Latino as well as a speech they delivered in English and Spanish to CB4 on Tuesday.
“We deserve to have a voice in the development of this community, so that its development benefit[s] us and our children, not marginalize us,” they told the board.
Mujeres en Movimiento has around 150 members. It began as an exercise group organized by Immigrant Movement International for neighborhood mothers. Some members picked up cycling through a partnership with WE Bike NYC, which seeks to provide women with education in bike maintenance and advocacy.
“We recognize that when there are events at the park that attract many people from outside our neighborhood there could be some congestion,” they said on Tuesday. “But if our commitment is that there is not one life lost due to a pedestrian crash, as is the goal of Vision Zero, we have to make difficult decisions like this one.”
DOT could move forward with the 111th Street plan whenever it sees fit. The agency has yet to respond to Streetsblog’s request for a project update.
Update: A DOT spokesperson says the agency will present the findings of its traffic study to CB4 in early 2016. As of yet, there is no timeline for implementation.