August 15, by Nathaly Pesantez
Transit advocates will spend Saturday afternoon canvassing Sunnyside and Woodside businesses in an attempt to gain their support in asking the city to install protected bike lanes on 43rd Avenue.
The event, organized by the Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee, will begin at 2:00 p.m. at Skillman Avenue and 52nd Street, where volunteers will enter businesses down 43rd Avenue until 5:00 p.m.
Juan Restrepo, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives, said that they conducted a canvassing event on Skillman Avenue last weekend that was successful, with over 30 letters of support collected in two hours from businesses.
“They were truly receptive,” Restrepo said, noting that a great majority of Skillman businesses are food-service related, and have an interest in keeping store fronts and employees who most use bicycles—delivery drivers—safe.
For Saturday’s event, volunteers will have letters with pre-filled safety suggestions, including curb extensions, parking-protected bike lanes, and daylighting on 43rd Avenue, and will encourage businesses to sign the letters in support, which will then be given to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2, Restrepo said.
Skillman Avenue and 43rd Avenue have been a point of focus among transit advocates and community leaders alike, especially after the death of Gelasio Reyes, a 32-year-old man, at the intersection of 43rd avenue and 39th Street in April, which inspired a July petition calling for protected bike lanes on the two avenues that has already amassed over 670 signatures.
For more information, see the Facebook page for the event.