Tonight: DOT Presents Redesign for Skillman and 43rd Avenues

Cyclists are vulnerable to motor vehicle traffic on these two streets, which should be safe connections between the Queensboro Bridge and Queens Boulevard.

The intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside, where a drunk driver struck and killed Gelacio Reyes as he biked home from work in April. Image: Google Maps
The intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside, where a drunk driver struck and killed Gelacio Reyes as he biked home from work in April. Image: Google Maps

We’ve received last-minute word that DOT will present redesigns for 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside at tonight’s Queens Community Board 2 transportation committee meeting.

In April, a drunk driver killed Gelacio Reyes, 32, as he was biking home from work at 43rd Avenue and 39th Street. Ten days later another driver critically injured pedestrian David Nunez, 27, at the same location. Advocates and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer called on DOT to install a protected bike lane on 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue, its westbound counterpart.

Together, these east-west streets provide critical connections in Queens’ growing bike network, linking the Queensboro Bridge to the protected lanes on Queens Boulevard.

Word on the street is that DOT’s proposal tonight will include protected bike lanes. A design concept produced this summer by volunteer Max Sholl showed how a protected bike lane could fit on the 42-foot wide 43rd Avenue.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Community Board 2 office, located at 43-22 50th Street, Suite 2B.

  • Simon Phearson

    43rd Ave. needs protection, but I wish they would leave Skillman alone. I don’t find Skillman to be high-pressure for most of its length, and it seems like adding protection will run up against major issues between 43rd Street and Queens Boulevard. Along that stretch, you have: a playground (where a weekly farmer’s market will regularly occupy the lane); a series of warehouses with active truck driveways (where there’s a good chance that truck drivers will just park in the lane like they do on Vernon); and then a few blocks of angled parking that seems unlikely to be replaced or substantially altered. There’s also frequent right turning through there that is likely to snarl through bike traffic (right now, you can pass turning traffic on the left). Given the DOT’s recent track record, I don’t trust them to implement anything that doesn’t endanger and confuse cyclists through there.

  • Side note: Skillman Avenue also has a great “green wave”. If conditions allow you to ride at a steady speed of 15 miles per hour, you’ll hit nothing but green lights from about 53rd Street all the way west until Queens Boulevard.

  • Simon Phearson

    Another ability that would be lost if we had to contend, every other block, with drivers slowly rolling through right turns across the bike lane.

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This concept for a protected bike lane on 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside emphasizes safety for cyclists and pedestrians at intersections. Image: Max Sholl

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In April, a drunk driver killed Gelacio Reyes, 32, on 43rd Avenue at 39th Street as he biked home in the early morning from work in Midtown Manhattan. Now advocates are renewing their call for DOT to install a protected bike lane on 43rd Avenue and its westbound counterpart, Skillman Avenue, which connect the Queensboro Bridge to the protected bike lanes on Queens Boulevard.

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