De Blasio Gives the Go-Ahead on Skillman/43rd Protected Bike Lanes
DOT should "move forward with pedestrian safety and protected bike lanes that will save lives," the mayor said in a statement.
Mayor de Blasio has instructed DOT to move ahead with protected bike lanes for Skillman Avenue and 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside and Woodside [PDF].
The stakes are too high not to move forward, de Blasio announced on Twitter:
Nearly 300 people have been injured along Skillman and 43rd Avenues in Queens. 2 lives have been lost.
@NYC_DOT has listened to voices across the community. I've instructed them to move forward with pedestrian safety and protected bike lanes that will save lives. #VisionZero pic.twitter.com/uFu4pb5CtJ
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 12, 2018
DOT said it will begin implementation this summer.
Combined with the eastward extension of the Queens Boulevard bike lanes slated for this year, the decision to proceed will create a nearly continuous east-west protected bike route from the Queensboro Bridge to Forest Hills. For both projects, the mayor is asserting his prerogative to make streets safer in the face of community boards that don’t support the redesigns.
Pedestrian safety upgrades and protection for cyclists are sorely needed on 43rd and Skillman, but efforts to redesign the streets were stalled by the community board process.
When a motorist killed Gelacio Reyes as he biked home from work in April 2017, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer called for safety improvements, including a protected bike lane. But when DOT came out with a plan to deliver that, Van Bramer waffled as merchants complained about the reduction in on-street parking spaces. An interminable series of hearings and workshops resolved nothing, and Queens Community Board 2 eventually voted 27 to 8 against the project. All along, supporters of the redesign reminded Van Bramer of his earlier position, but he never endorsed the project, saying last month, “I don’t believe we can move forward with this DOT plan at this time.”
De Blasio’s decision breaks the deadlock with what Transportation Alternatives director Paul White called “the kind of bold leadership that is required in the age of Vision Zero.”
Congratulations to the Queens volunteers with TransAlt who worked so hard to make it happen.