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After a Car Wreck, Dutch Kills Civic Association Flips Out Over Bike Corral

After a speeding motorist collided with a motorist who failed to stop at a stop sign, the Dutch Kills Civic Association in Long Island City is telling the powers that be how unhappy they are -- with a nearby bike corral.

The corral was installed in April at the intersection of 29th Street and 39th Avenue following a request from Dominic Stiller, who owns the corner restaurant Dutch Kills Centraal with his wife, Jean Cawley. Stiller tried to get an endorsement from Queens Community Board 1, but the board, which habitually says “No” to street improvements for walking and biking, voted against it (without quorum) in 2014.

At the same time, locals and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer have tried for years to get DOT to implement safety measures at 29th Street and 39th Avenue. The site has a history of high-speed collisions. A few months ago an Access-A-Ride driver turned left at the intersection and nearly hit a child.

Last month a speeding driver slammed into another vehicle at the intersection, shown in this video that Cawley sent in. DKCA members took the crash as an opportunity to signal their displeasure with the bicycle parking.

“It was a miracle that no one was killed,” DKCA president Thea Romano told the Queens Gazette. “How is a bicycle corral supposed to stop drivers from speeding up 29th Street? How many people will have to be injured or die here before someone takes steps to properly secure this intersection?”

“The bicycle corral does nothing to increase safety at the site," said George Stamatiades, DKCA executive director. "It has done nothing but eliminate two parking spots needed by the local commercial district. But it has fulfilled the personal agenda of this private individual."

Clearly, a bike corral alone doesn't prevent every type of crash (Van Bramer is pressing DOT to do more at this location). But this bike corral did open up sightlines, so if someone is walking across 39th, they'll have a better chance of spotting any maniacal drivers blowing through the intersection before it's too late.

Who cares about keeping lines of sight clear at intersections, though, when you have a petty campaign to wage against on-street bike parking?

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