Queens Boulevard Needs Better Barriers to Protect Cyclists From Idiots Like This Guy

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In a matter of months, Department of Design and Construction crews are supposed to start cutting up Queens Boulevard to build out the new bikeway and pedestrian improvements in permanent materials.

Before they do, DOT should update its design to fortify the bike lane and protect people from reckless drivers like the one here.

In this clip caught by Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson Jr., a truck driver backs down the bike lane near Albion Avenue in Elmhurst, putting people at serious risk in the process.

Clarence said the truck driver flattened the plastic flex-posts that delineate the bike lane along the way.

As much as the Queens Boulevard bike lane has reduced crashes and injuries (which is a lot), it’s not perfect. Incursions into bike lane aren’t rare. Local car dealers have been known to use it to store inventory.

But DOT’s design for the Queens Boulevard capital project calls for placing the bike lane on a mountable curb, which would do little to prevent incidents like this trucker chugging down the bike lane in a massive oversized vehicle. Work is scheduled to begin next year, according to DOT.

The Q60 bus will run in the central roadway instead of the Queens Boulevard service roads. Image: DOT
The design for the Queens Boulevard capital project calls for no protection besides a mountable curb. Image: DOT

There are better ways to keep drivers out of the Queens Boulevard bike lanes. The bike lane could be protected by a full vertical curb, for instance, like on Allen Street in Manhattan.

However DOT chooses to do it, keeping cyclists safe from idiots like this guy demands more than a mountable curb.

  • kevd

    I see this about 1 out of every 4 times I’m in the Kent Ave lane

    the truck being there, not the backing up.

  • William Lawson

    The elephant in the room here is the role the NYPD plays in enabling scum like this. Drivers know damn well that it’s extremely unlikely that their reckless maneuvers will result in so much as a desk ticket, and so they just do what they want (even when the NYPD is right there watching the whole thing). We can talk about improving infrastructure until the cows come home – doesn’t do anything about the fact that we’re paying through the nose for a police department that point blank refuses to do its job.

  • Flex posts are pointless. Trucks run them over, and cars just drive between them. They are inadequate to protect the Queens Boulevard bike lane.

    They are inadequate anywhere. These posts do nothing to stop people from parking on the painted reclaimed pedestrian space that is supposed to be equivalent to a sidewalk, located on the northbound side of Woodhaven Boulevard at 83rd Avenue.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/90c83731ecc16fdde7ace00725f61ff8d16000503dcb5a82d626ff6e6c7c7af4.png

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1215503092bb0941823781d4f358c2f89e2bceccc46a2bddbadd1fbcf0c5b60d.jpg

    This is the scene there all day every day. I have alerted the local police precinct, the DOT, and the City Council member. I am not sure what else I can do. (I did see a cop give a ticket once, after I had visited the 104th Precinct to complain about this. But he gave it for double parking; he did not accept my assertion that the painted area counts as a sidewalk.)

  • sbauman

    Many trucks use the bike lane for deliveries. I witnessed a case going to Manhattan at 58th Ave. A truck was making delivering beer to the Rite Aid Pharmacy at the corner. This particular Rite Aid had a parking lot.

    Here’s my solution. It’s illegal to stop in a bike lane. That means all one needs is a picture of a driverless vehicle in the bike lane. I suggest a smartphone app so that any member of the public can report a parking violation. The app would append the location, date and time to the picture. The fine for stopping in a bike lane is $115. I suggest that the City split the fine 3 ways. $100 for the City, $10 for the person taking the picture and $5 for the app developer. DOT would certify the app and anyone would be able to download it from DOT’s website. The app could be extended to the 9 of the 11 other places where stopping is prohibited.

  • Simon Phearson

    The two-way bike lane on Vernon in Queens is all but useless because of the trucks and buses that park in it. When they did a round of participatory funding a year or two ago, we elected to protect the lane with concrete barriers, but the various warehouses objected to protection that would interfere with their use of the space. So you see them only sparingly.

    I mean, never mind that the Vernon bike lane isn’t even continuous and requires cyclists to merge into traffic multiple times even as designed.

  • Simon Phearson

    There’s not a single bike lane in this city that we should describe as “protected” unless it has an immovable, continuous, physical separation from adjacent traffic. Not parked cars, not flex posts, not fucking paint. We’re too used to settling for the half assed shit the DOT deigns to give us.

  • JarekFA

    As temping as this sounds, any law to permit citizens to report violations like this, will ultimately be applied to people on bike. And I don’t want that.

  • JarekFA

    The fact that people consider the parking protected bike lanes on 1st/2nd aves to be the “gold standard” is infuriating. The Hudson River Greenway is the gold standard and the city manages to do as much as they can to fuck that one up.

  • kevd

    I suggest a molotov cocktail “app” in which one “downloads” and “throws” a lit “molotov cocktail” into the cab of any such truck so that it catches fire and burns to the ground.

  • Jason

    I’m reluctantly inclined to agree regarding the bounties, but I do think that any photograph of a clearly unattended vehicle parked illegally should be sufficient grounds to mail out a ticket.

  • Jason

    Seriously. Outside of streets that are so thoroughly reconfigured that it’s safe to just let all modes mingle, parking protected should be considered the bare minimum of what’s acceptable.

  • sbauman

    I think the legal standard for proving a no stopping violation should be low enough for a verifiable photo to be sufficient. Trying to prove other violations gets progressively more difficult. Thus, I believe your worries about applying such technology to bicycles is unjustified.

  • Joe R.

    Or a “Gatling gun app” which shoots the truck to hell in a hail of thousands of bullets. Seriously, I’m all for putting bollards spaced about 5 feet apart to protect the bike lane. Such a barrier will still be porous to pedestrians and cyclists.

  • com63

    The pike street/allen street lane in Manhattan has mountable curbs and I like the configuration of that one. It allows cyclists to exit the lane into the street when necessary.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    The build-out sections of Pike/Allen have planters in between the bike lane and the other lanes, except at the turn lanes. Maybe you’re thinking of Sands Street in Brooklyn?

  • Knut Torkelson

    Good luck on any of this when the Mayor himself condones stopping in bike and bus lanes.

  • Scroller

    Since a call to the police of “truck in the bike lane” won’t garner a response, what would happen if some one was to make a frantic call to 911 and report a semi truck reversing down the bike lane trying to kill people…an accurate statement that may also benefit from terror hysteria?

  • com63

    you’re right. I’m thinking of the turn lanes. I guess that is why those lanes feel so comfortable most of the way since they are very protected.

  • ohhleary

    This. And let’s not forget that this isn’t just a truck illegally parking in a bike lane — it’s, by my estimation, an illegal length truck on New York City surface streets, another serious safety issue that the NYPD refuses to enforce.

  • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

    Except none of us on bicycles ride with state registered license plates.

  • AMH

    They would probably come and put metal fences right in the middle of the bike lane!

  • DoctorMemory

    Hey man, the NYPD is our thin blue line against (*shuffles papers*) diabetic black dudes selling loose cigarettes without a license. You can’t expect them to jump up and prosecute every little threat to life and limb here.

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