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Bicyclists Come to Sunnyside to Support Bike-Friendly Businesses, Call for Bike Lane on QBlvd.

Photo: QueensPost

Aug. 24, 2014 By Christian Murray

A group of about 60 bicyclists took a tour around Sunnyside Saturday, visiting six “bike-friendly” bars/restaurants in the neighborhood.

The event was put on by Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for safer streets, which marked Sunnyside as the first “Bike Friendly Business District” in Queens.

Julie Roberts Dubovsky, co-chair of the Queens division of Transportation Alternatives, said yesterday that there are 70 businesses in Sunnyside that are “bike friendly”—a number that led it to give the neighborhood its own designation.

She said that bike friendly business districts tend to be more vibrant and boost retail activity by more than 10%– which is good for both store owners and cyclists alike.

The 70 businesses were deemed “bike friendly” for supporting Transportation Alternatives’ campaign for a safer Queens Boulevard.

Transportation Alternatives is calling on the Department of Transportation to study—and ultimately—redesign Queens Boulevard, and has been soliciting the help of local businesses and the community board. In 2013, six people were killed on Queens Boulevard and more than 150 pedestrians and cyclists were injured.

The advocacy group is also calling for a dedicated bike lane on Queens Boulevard, which it believes is a realistic goal.

The event kicked off at Bliss Street Plaza (46th and Queens Blvd) and the cyclists—and some pedestrians—then went on to Aubergine Café, Bar 43, Café Columbia, Go Natural, Arriba Arriba and Jack’s Ale House in support of these bike friendly businesses.

The event took place at the right time—since the Department of Transportation has been installing bike racks throughout the neighborhood in the past two weeks—from Queens Blvd to Skillman Avenue.

Outside each venue, there were mountains of bikes everywhere as the riders went inside to purchase food/drinks to show their support for bike friendly business.

Elected officials Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and State Sen. Mike Gianaris were there to promote the initiative, with both politicians lauding the city’s vision zero campaign and voicing their support for more bike lanes.

Van Bramer, who was on his blue bicycle, completed the tour—bouncing from venue to venue.

A spokeswoman for Transportation Alternatives is hopeful that a dedicated bike lane will come to Queens Blvd and that traffic engineers will figure out a way like they did with many streets in Manhattan.

“No one would have thought that bike lanes would have gone there [years ago],” she said.

Gianaris, who also said that installing bike lanes on Queen’s Blvd is a realistic goal, said it is about changing people’s mindset. “Streets are not just for cars but they are for cyclists too,” he said.

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29 Comments

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Lunar

Are they trying to up the amount of people killed on Queens Blvd? That street already has people who drive like idiots on it. They haven’t even caught the hit and run driver to hit that kid a few years back near Key Food. Kid lost his leg and the light pole was completely bent out of shape from how fast the driver was going.

Putting a bike path on Queens Blvd is about as stupid as some of the parents I see crossing against the light on the Blvd while pushing a baby carriage in front of incoming cars!

I don’t mind the bike lanes, I don’t mind people who ride bikes. I mind a bike lane being put in a road with a lot of traffic known to be dangerous. I wonder if investing in a bike park along with the bike lanes might help if there are no more safe roads to add more bike lanes? That way they can ride all they want and not risk an accident with a car.

Reply
TOM

A heavy-traffic arterial like Queens Blvd is a no-go for bikers–too risky. Better the quieter side streets. That’s a no-brainer; however, as Boris Johnson, mayor of London sad: “Biking advocates are insatiable!”.

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Gas Guzzler

@Sunnycyclist

I demand it from all who use roads! And I’ll throw in those who drive boats and airplanes too!! How ’bout that? And once we’re travelling in outer-space I expect those folk to follow the rules of the…of the…space!!!
And while we’re at it, if you’re on some spiritual journey be respectful and stay on your path.

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Sunnycyclist

@Gas Guzzler, don’t discount my reason because I’m a human being and have an emotional response to an all-too-common reply.

Here’s the thing. I’m a driver too, as I’ve said many times. Drivers killing people get the “some drivers are just a-holes” brush-off – whereas cyclists, who are at most an annoyance but don’t kill anyone, get absolutely scrutinized. Or we witness comments like the brilliant “Rikki’s” above, who just WISHED DEATH AND INJURY on people in a public record. Too bad this is an anonymous forum, because I think he/she is a threat to the public.

So yes, because of “Ricki” and his/her/its ilk, and the press, I get a bit impatient with people putting the onus of safety on cyclists. Based on sheer numbers, there is almost no accountability to automobile drivers next to cyclists. Whenever there is a death, every news source feels compelled to comment on whether “the cyclist was/was not wearing a helmet” when one is hit or dies because of some psychotic or negligent driver. Think deeply about that – it’s ridiculous! (And I wear a helmet at all times.) A cyclist may annoy you, but only in the most bizarre of circumstances will one cause injury or accident. A cyclist is mainly putting himself or herself in danger, yet inspires such fury in the press and public.

Why? Simply because drivers are impatient and have lost touch with how dangerous they are while cruising around ensconced in their multi-ton, insulated environments. I know – I drive.

“Obey traffic rules and we’ll all be safer for it.” Agreed, but please demand it of both sides. Right now there is an uneven focus on cyclists proportional to the amount of harm they can cause. So that’s why I took Tom to task.

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rikki

I would like more bicyclists hurt or killed..why……..You are a Danger to society……If you dont have reflector JACKETS let alone lights and lots of reflectors on the bikes then dont blame us for hitting you.

Maybe if we demanded bike riders wear reflective jackets like the construction crews do and get the police to write hundreds of tickets daily and/or arrest the morons who wont wear them, then i could deal with 1 lane less on QB.

no arrests no bike lane…

Reply
Gas Guzzler

@sunnycyclist

You come across as so reasonable and thoughtful in your first post then you deride Tom for his reasonable requests. We all have stories of a-hole drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, jet pack wearers and the like but that doesn’t mean Tom is wrong. Obey traffic rules and we’ll all be safer for it.

Reply
CarTroll

A protected bike lane on the boulevard would be great. Shift the parked cars away from the curb. The only catch is it will most likely need a lane to be removed or a tightening of the lanes if that’s even allowed. Get on it Van Bramer.

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Sunnycyclist

@Tom

“Here’s all I ask of cyclists:”

How generous.
I hope you have a nice list for drivers, too.

Wish I could post photos of all the mouth-breathers DRIVING ON THE SIDEWALK from the parking lot of the White Castle to the drive in. On Saturday I was riding past and some idiot in a black Prius had crashed into the bike rack while doing it, about 3 feet from two huge groups of young kids eating with their families at the outdoor tables.

Why don’t you take drivers to task, who actually are piloting vehicles that can kill quite easily? It’s not called “The Boulevard of Death” because of bikes, genius.

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Sunnycyclist

EDIT: “Do I consider this a defeat? No.” Oops. I meant YES – it is a defeat in that I gave up riding because I felt like staying alive (and in middle age, I could afford a beater car and was sick of wasting 2.5 hours per day of my remaining life on the indirect subway commute from Sunnyside to Woodhaven).

It’s plain that police have little to no interest in enforcement when it comes to drivers respecting bike lanes. TA, please apply more pressure there instead of putting a bunch of cyclists in danger on a boulevard that is scary enough to traverse in a car, let alone a bike.

Amsterdam doesn’t try to put cyclists on highways. Instead, they build smart routes alongside the highways. Maybe learn from them and extend the avenue bike routes east-west instead of focusing on the Blvd of Death.

Reply
Sunnycyclist

I moved to Sunnyside almost a decade ago. I love riding my bike. I’m all for the city becoming a safer place to ride. In fact, I even saw these people riding on QB this past weekend (I was starting out on a long ride) and almost asked what the they were doing. Why? Because I was going to tell them there was a very nice bike line just a couple blocks over that had about a zillion less cars on it and was a much friendlier ride.

While I have TA to thank for advocating on the side of cyclists, this is one of those times I don’t want them speaking for me because the logic is awful. It would be worth so much more to increase pressure on the city to ticket vehicles that double-park in the bike lanes – or a$$holes in cars that speed up to cut cyclists off an turn in front of them. In many European cities, this would result in a major ticket or loss of license. PRIORITIES people…enforcement and compliance by drivers is way more important than trying to repurpose a death-defying route with paint.

I gave up and bought a car because I’d almost get killed on my ride from Sunnyside to Woodhaven. Do I consider this a defeat? No. It’s logic, because (a) I want to live and (b) the extant bike lanes on Cypress Hill Street, a potentially good bike route, are totally dangerous because there is no compliance on behalf of drivers. If you had cops ticketing offenders, THAT would change behavior. Look at what red light cams have done! People (including me) have a lot more respect for reds in the city thinking there may actually be consequences.

Reply
Celtic Bark

The kindest thing anyone could do for bicyclists is to try and keep OFF that death trap of a boulevard. A bit of paint on the road won’t save them from the maniac drivers out there.

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Love my bike

If I were you I would quit complaining and start learning how to ride a bike. Queens blvd might lose a lane and traffic could be a nightmear. Muhahahahaa!

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John Z

I do t see why they can’t put a bike lane on the avenues that are 1 block over from queens blvd. Ride along the other avenues then go to wherever on the blvd. Not everyone who uses the bike lanes are stopping in sunnyside, most will be just passing through..

Reply
angela

a very dumb move to put a bike lane on queens boulevard — this should not ever happen !!!!!!!

Reply
Gary

Does this mean people can bring their bikes inside the restaurants and bars with their dirty road kill infested tires so the health dpt can crack on the business and van Bramer can get a raise from the proceeds? Brilliant ideas by this dumb bell.

Reply
SayNotobikeLanes

^^ In order to be bike friendly an establishment is required to have an air pump, bike racks, and showers for sweaty smelly bikers.

Reply
Hoof Hearted

Ok, I’ll bite. What exactly is the criteria for being considered a “bike friendly” restaurant or bar?

Reply
ann

I can’t imagine a worse place to put a bike land or bicycle than Queens Boulevard (well, maybe LIE).

I am not opposed to cycling, but I think this is a really stupid idea.

Reply
Tom in Sunnyside

Here’s all I ask of cyclists:

If there’s a bike lane, use it.
Go with traffic, not against it.
Stay off the sidewalk
Obey the traffic signals and stop signs.
When it’s dark/twilight, use a light of some sort to make yourself visible.

If you can do that, it should be safe for everyone. If you can’t, go somewhere else with your bike.

Reply
Anonymous

Oh no! Bikes were mentioned?

Here comes the shitstorm of extremely opinionated people opposed to cycling for some reason.

Reply

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