Last April, Van Bramer stood with the family of Gelacio Reyes at the intersection on 43rd Avenue where a driver had struck and killed him 12 days earlier. He called on the city to make the street "safe for every single New Yorker, every single moment of every single day."
"One of the things that I believe we need is a protected bike lane, right here on 43rd Avenue -- a protected bike lane all the way from, essentially, Queens Boulevard all the way to Roosevelt Avenue that would keep cyclists safe," he said at the time.
Seven months later, DOT delivered, presenting plans for 2.6 miles of protected bike lanes and 30 new painted pedestrian islands along 43rd Street and its westbound counterpart, Skillman Avenue [PDF]. The redesign would close much of the gap in safe bike infrastructure between the Queens Boulevard bike lane and the Queensboro Bridge.
Soon after, Van Bramer and Queens Community Board 2 announced a public town hall with DOT about the project on December 19. But on December 18, Van Bramer sent out an email saying the town hall had been postponed.
More than two months later, the town hall still hasn't been rescheduled.
Instead, he's said his support is contingent on creating a safer pedestrian crossing at P.S. 11 on Skillman Avenue between 54th Street and 55th Street.
“I will not entertain any plans to change Skillman or 43rd Avenue, and even contemplate bike lanes, until P.S. 11 is taken care of,” Van Bramer said in January. In response, DOT said it will review the location for a signalized crossing or all-way stop sign.
That was seven weeks ago. Streetsblog contacted Van Bramer's office for an update on his position this morning and has yet to hear back.
Meanwhile, the conditions that led to the death of Gelacio Reyes remain unchanged. One of the most important bike connections in Queens is just as dangerous as when Van Bramer called for action last year.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, David fell in love with journalism as a kid accompanying his reporter dad on stories while school was out. A reporter at Streetsblog from 2015 to 2019, David returned as Streetsblog Deputy Editor in 2023 after a three-year stint at the New York Post. A graduate of Montgomery Blair High School and the University of Maryland, he lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
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