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Advocates Celebrate Queens Boulevard Bike Lane Completion, Call to Extend it Farther

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer talks to bike-safety advocates in Sunnyside before the ride to Queens Borough Hall (Photo: Transportation Alternatives)

Nov. 15, 2021 By Max Parrott

Bike advocates and elected officials celebrated the completion of the final phase of the Department of Transportation’s Queens Boulevard redesign on Sunday.

The event showcased the results of a decade-long advocacy push to redesign the stretch— commonly referred to as the “Boulevard of Death” — into roadway that now includes protected bike lanes, a series of pedestrian paths and improved crosswalks from Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside to Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens.

The achievement, however, is not the end of the push from street safety advocates Transportation Alternatives. Senior Organizer Juan Restrepo told the Queens Post that the group will now focus on extending the Queens Boulevard redesign all the way to the southeast end by Jamaica Avenue.

“With two recent fatalities on Queens Boulevard east of where safety improvements have been made, we hope Mayor-elect Adams will look at extending this project to its original endpoint, Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica, Queens.” said Restrepo.

Restrepo said the idea for the Jamaica endpoint came from an earlier and broader version of the Queens Boulevard bike lane plan that the DOT had put together years ago.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer with Lizi Rahman, whose son was killed by a truck driver on Queens Boulevard in 2008, outside Borough Hall Sunday (Photo: courtesy of Transportation Alternatives)

“Southeast Queens [is] essentially a bike desert. For us, if we’re talking about an equitable version of the Queens Boulevard plan that makes it safe for everyone to use, it would include a connection going east of the current endpoint,” Restrepo said.

The celebration Sunday began with a bike ride from Sunnyside to Queens Borough Hall along the redesigned boulevard, and brought out state Sen. John Liu, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, and councilmember-elects Lynn Schulman, Shekar Krishnan and Julie Won.

Once at borough hall, the riders gathered with Lizi Rahman, whose son Asif was killed by a truck driver while riding his bike on the boulevard in 2008, to mark the occasion. Transportation Alternatives has called on the city to co-name a street on Queens Boulevard in memory of Rahman.

“Many years after Asif Rahman was killed on Queens Boulevard, cementing its notoriety as the Boulevard of Death, the grief and pain is still felt by his family and community,” said Liu in a statement.

“We honor his memory with the completion of this bike lane, an important milestone in the continuing transformation of Queens Boulevard into a boulevard of life, and look forward to seeing more improvements and reconstruction of other thoroughfares into more human-friendly zones,” Liu added.

Restrepo said the milestone provided a joyous moment to reflect on the accomplishments under the de Blasio and Bloomberg administrations, and consider what the future holds.

The Queens Boulevard redesign also connects to the protected bicycle lanes on Skillman Avenue and 43rd Avenue that were constructed in 2018 and takes bicyclists to the Queensboro Bridge. This redesign was a significant victory for the group too.

“There were definitely a lot of good vibes in the air,” said Restrepo. “It’s good to have these moments where we can come celebrate something we achieved before the pandemic, through the pandemic.”

Bike advocates celebrate the completion of Phase 4 of the Queens Boulevard redesign outside Queens Borough Hall Sunday (Photo: courtesy of Transportation Alternatives)

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19 Comments

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AnnaBNana

I’m not a bike rider, however, I do advocate for safe bike paths that people can use. I am, perhaps, clueless about the bike scene here… When I got off the 32 bus at Queens Plaza, twice, I was nearly hit – once by a biker, and once by a motorcyclist! I can’t imagine that motorcycles are allowed to use the bike lanes. Why aren’t they in the street? Cool idea, but something must be done about speeding bikes and folks who are not supposed to be on the bike lanes, before someone gets hurt.

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C’mon

Some PR firm made up the name Boulevard of Death. No one I met in my 60 years of living ever called it anything but Queens Blvd. Stop printing TA’s propaganda. You can’t keep up this charade. Most people don’t want to ride bikes. Period. If the city wants to regress in transportation technology instead of progress, people can’t stop it.

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There is stupid then there is Fox stupid

C’mon- The NY Post created the term “boulevard of death” to create hype and sell newspapers. Just as it continues to do today.

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Nonintelligencia

I rarely heard of people dying on bicycles until JVB started promoting bike lanes. Now, unfortunately, such tragedies occur monthly. More riders, more accidents, I guess.

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Anonymous

GOVERNMENT: TELL US THE TRUTH:

I was at the first city agency planning meeting here, probably a decade ago, about slowing speeds down all over and bike lanes on QB. I and an informed associate from CB2 were all for slower speeds and more bike lanes. We were surprised by a group of truly bereaved mothers there going to every table asking for support for the plans due to the loss of their children. Most of us thought the plan to yes be about bike safety but much more about safety for all, and about greener future for breathers. That alone warranted a change.

I personally wrote an article for the press praising the city for asking us in advance before moving forward.

Today, in 2021, the pitch remains safety for bikes, which continues to divide us. If the city cared about cyclists, there would not be the situation at Barnett and 48th Street, where the redesign will cause an accident soon. Go look. And worse, the section of 39th Ave. (no cars, only bikes sign) which has bikes heading directly into the path of oncoming cars, is madness. Was the planner inebriated?

Can this complex charade be stopped?

As for the “boulevard of death” moniker now used by re-designers as something bike lanes help mitigate, it might be so that QB is safer for bikes. But the “boulevard of death” ceasing to be happened the day after pedestrian crosswalk timings were made longer. That stopped us from racing against the light and jaywalking. If you look at the data, it was pedestrians who were in the main as the ones to die. Please see here for more on that topic in a lighter vein:

https://www.facebook.com/QueensStreetsforAll/posts/1558322294546698

If our government would really have a common-sense forum and do your jobs — we would get from point A to point B without the danger, perception of government as liars, needless division of the community. You treat us a gas-guzzling, selfish, and stupid.

What has occurred here is gentrification. This whole area is similar to the first stages when residents of Harlem saw bodegas and sidewalks replaced by cafes with outdoor seating filled with richer people.

The bike lobby is being used on this one, because their agenda coincides with Vision Zero. I heard this from the lips of their leader. What is the government, financial and real estate’s desired result? Real estate flipped for more money.

Where is mention of why all those elected and in office support street redesign no matter how many brutal blunders are made within it? MIH is a measure written by REBNY, the real estate lobby. If one elected official cared about affordsble housing, they would privatization of public housing in its tracks.

This is one big land grab, the streets and environs, with some staying silent, and some lying, and some believing what they are told. Some in favor of what is occurring truly have no idea how their humanitarian, green, safer for all beliefs and daily toil are just more grist for the political and financial mill.

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You need help, seek it out and get treatment

To whomever wrote this moronic rant: please seek professional help. The signs of an acute mental breakdown can be difficult to discern but those close to you can probably tell that you need help. To the loved ones of the poor individual that wrote this, please intervene to get the author the mental health intervention they need. A fulfilling life is still possible.

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Kate

Kate, are they any registered cars parked on the sidewalk right now on 40th St & Skillman just west of Lou Lodati Playground. At the new ghost kitchen across from Jack’s bar. Can you check and report back how effective those law abiding registerd cars are doing with their deep and wholesome adherence to city & state laws, Kate?

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Kate

To whomever responded to “Kate” as Kate….I’m confused by your comment. All cars are registered – they have license plates and registrations that allow police to give tickets and track those tickets. I can’t help the fact that police officers do nothing to ticket or tow those cars – or ANY cars that are breaking the law. My point was specific to bikes. I’m guessing based off of your sarcastic and insulting tone you are one of those rule breaking bike riders. I never said I was anti bike, I’m actually not and I also said not all bike riders break the rules of the road. I said that if they are going to promote the use of bikes and increase ridership, then they need to come up with a plan to register and therefore ticket anyone who is not following the law. In reality a plan like that would only increase funds for future bike lanes….why don’t you check in with the local PD on the car situation over by the park since you are so concerned with it.

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Anon

I’d be happy if they’d just start pulling over, ticketing and where applicable seizing all the unregistered and uninsured motorcycles.

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Edd

Yes!!! lets extend the boulevard into the Atlantic ocean so they can all just bike there and probably complain that there are no bike lanes in the ocean. I’m shocked JVB isn’t in the picture, he would do anything for a great photo opportunity.

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Kate

Great, now what will you do to regulate bikers the same way cars are regulated? Plenty of people who ride bikes do NOT follow traffic rules, putting themselves, pedestrians and drivers in danger. You pushed hard for the bike lanes, now push hard to make sure they are being used properly and not a free-for-all. All bikes should be registered just like cars are so they are forced to follow the rules and face penalties if not. Just the other day I saw an impatient person on a bike run a red light and slam right into a woman walking her dog…her dog was hit by the bike. The biker picked his bike and road away as the woman screamed at him. I have seen them run into children getting off the bus, ignoring the bus stop sign. Situations like these NEED TO STOP. Hold them accountable after spending so much money on the bike lane.

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ATTN: All bikes should be registered

All bikes should be registered

This is you typing five words

But have you fleshed this idea out, found a state assembly member or senator to draft a bill. Do you have any idea how bike registration would be managed at the city level. I know there’s a very very very big group (lol) called Queens Streets for All. Has she (I mean) “they” (wink) made any progress in this advocacy. Did any of the D26 Council Candidates call for bike registration? Also, what age would this bike registration kick in. Does one register a minor’s bike. Thanks in advance for your reply.

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Nonono

Thank you so much for rising above the level of previous writers who hide behind pseudonyms while using the names of people they hate.

To answer your question, while people may vote for bikes to be registered, as I would, it doesn’t mean they have the skill, know how, time, energy or money to create a movement or legislation for it. Most people are not politicians, by definition. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t express their opinions on a subject. Any attempt to silence critics is really un-American, don’t you agree? For instance, I don’t like your opinion nor do I like how you express it. But I will fight anyone who attempts to silence you.

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No good bagels for Sunnyside until it behaves

How is asking questions for clarity an attempt to silence anyone?
Registering bicycles is pie in the sky, the very concept is not rooted in reality, it would be an administrative quagmire, more government red tape and ineptitude, not unlike the current DMV, and would yield nothing of value.

re value, Katie says
Hold them accountable after spending so much money on the bike lane.

So much money.
So much money? What money?
QB/Skill/43/39 are not costly, which is half the problem.

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Kate

I think this type of registration would actually be quiet simple over all. We have to register for everything and for the most part it runs smoothly. We register our cars, our kids for school, we register to vote, we register for EZ-Passes….I am no politician or policy writer and I don’t pretend to be. However, sometimes just plain old common sense can come into play and actually work out better then a bunch of career politicians trying to further their own agendas. I realize that this would take some type of effort by the governing bodies – but why not at least give it a try for the safety of everyone in NYC. Something simple like having QRs passed out or stationed at busy intersections so that cyclists can scan them while they wait and fill out the information when they get to the safety of their destination. Then a simple barcode sticker can be mailed to the address of the rider. They stick the sticker on the handle bars or anywhere that it can be easily read/scanned. and BOOM bikes are registered. I am NOT pretending this is an easy thing to roll out, nor am I expecting it to be done overnight. You could even have “register bike” days or hours at high bike traffic areas so people could register right there in person….this is in no way impossible and honestly should have been thought about long before the bike lanes were a reality. It not only creates a safer neighborhood/city, but it can be a source of funds for a variety of things.

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