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Community Board 2 Rejects DOT’s Skillman, 43rd Avenues Proposal

After the 27-8 vote was announced at Community Board 2’s meeting last night. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

June 8, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

Community Board 2 rejected the city’s controversial plan to redesign Skillman and 43rd Avenues last night in what was a long and contentious meeting, culminating after months of deliberation on the topic.

The Department of Transportation’s plan to reconfigure the corridor, mainly by installing protected bike lanes and eliminating roughly 120 parking spaces, was voted down by 27 to 8.

The full board’s vote came just three days after the Transportation Committee approved the proposal in a 5 to 2 vote. Chairperson Denise Keehan-Smith, however, told the board that two members had changed their minds since, meaning that the official vote was not truly reflective of the committee’s view.

The proposal, revised two times after the initial design was presented in November 2017, has been a point of fierce debate since.

Many opposed the plan outright, believing that the number of parking spots needed to be eliminated would put a burden on a difficult parking situation and harm businesses.

But those in support of the plan saw it as a measure that would immediately enhance safety for all street users, with the loss of parking spaces as a necessary trade-off to get the benefits outlined by the DOT.

Last night’s Community Board 2 meeting saw the public and board members make their final cases for or against the plan, with DOT officials on hand to go over the proposal and answer questions.

Several board members expressed fears over changes they believed would be caused by the DOT’s proposal, including snarled traffic with the two to one lane change, and asked the agency why the corridor couldn’t see another plan instead or be moved entirely to Northern Boulevard—a question posed to the DOT multiple times before.

DOT officials at the June 7 Community Board 2 meeting. (Photo: Queens Post)

Sean Quinn, Senior Director of the Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian’s Programs, said the proposal was ultimately “right-fitted” for the neighborhood, with pedestrians especially gaining the most from the redesign.

In response to complaints about the proposal being pushed too quickly on the neighborhood, Nicole Garcia, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner, reiterated that the plan came after the community asked for it on 43rd and Skillman Avenues, especially after the death of Gelacio Reyes.

“We don’t feel this is rushed,” Garcia said. “We feel we have been hyper responsive to something the community and elected officials asked for.”

The majority of the roughly 35 people that signed up to speak were against the proposal in a heated public comment section that at times resorted to jeers and applause.

“We are definitely very concerned that this is very harsh for the community,” said Manny Gomez, chairperson of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. “Why can’t we start with baby steps?”

Kristen McGowan, a Sunnyside resident, said she is not opposed to protected bike lanes, but that they do not belong on Skillman and 43rd Avenues. Northern Boulevard, she said, where multiple people have been killed, should be looked at instead.

“You do not care about Vision Zero,” McGowan said to DOT officials, referring to the lack of a plan on Northern Boulevard. “You care about pushing this bike lane to our community where it is not needed.”

Macartney Morris, chair of Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Activist Committee, said the plan and its origins have been forgotten by the community.

“I think we’ve lost sight of why we are all here,” he said, referring the death of Reyes on 39th Street and 43rd Avenue and a cyclist injury at the same spot. He spoke to Keehan-Smith and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s press conference last year, where they called for a study of the area after the two incidents, along with a protected bike lane on 43rd Avenue.

“You owe Flor [Reyes’ widow] an explanation why you don’t think a protected bike lane is necessary here anymore,” Morris said.

Keehan-Smith, however, said a protected bike lane would not have saved Reyes’ life at an intersection.

In a statement released today, the DOT said it was disappointed in the board’s full vote, and considers it advisory.

“We are disappointed that the CB2 full board vote did not reflect the overwhelming 5-2 vote in support of this same safety design by its Transportation Committee this Monday,” a DOT spokesperson said. “DOT stands by its track record that protected bike lanes calm traffic and reduce injuries and fatalities, particularly for pedestrians, the most vulnerable group of street users.”

The DOT added that it has been working with the community during the redesign, noting that it had reduced the number of parking spaces to be eliminated to ease local concerns.

“DOT always appreciates community board feedback , but considers the vote to be advisory on substantive safety projects. We will review our options for moving forward and continue the dialogue with the Board and other local stakeholders about making these streets safer for the local community and all Queens residents who use these corridors to shop and commute.”

The Sunnyside Post has reached out to Council Member Van Bramer’s office for comment, as well as the Mayor’s office, and is awaiting response.

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162 Comments

Greg

I call BS on the owner of Ben’s Best. He was 4 1/2 blocks from three subway lines, 1/2 a block from a bus stop, and had a whole lane of 1 hour parking running the whole block.




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JG

My letter to JVB and Mayor De Blasio:
Councilman Van Bramer,

I am writing to ask you to voice your support for the DOT’s plan for the following reasons:

The business community disagrees with the plan, yet they have not had a study done showing how many people drive to area businesses, how many of those people would use an alternative form of transport, and what ways the DOT could rearrange pay vs. free parking to make up for any loss of parking. The DOT has provided real numbers, they have not.

Denise Keehan-Smith’s proposed safety changes do nothing to address the most common and serious dangers faced by pedestrians and cyclists, and leave open the possibility that another death will occur.

As shown by the ugly and callous behavior on display at the meetings, it is obvious that there is a hostile and dangerous attitude towards cyclists in the neighborhood.

These safety improvements should not be delayed due to the false notion that keeping parking spaces will solve the problem of too many cars and not enough space. A problem that will only get worse in the future, and one which can be solved by encouraging sustainable transportation.




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Katherine Simms

Why doesn’t everyone join this conversation on Facebook so we can see and understand who we are speaking to.? Every single Sunnyside Post article about the bike lanes is split between heavy supporters on the anonymous side, and heavy non-supporters on Facebook. Why do you think that is? Seriously.




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Your IQ may be below 70 based on your commments

Because in this case Fat Disgusting Lazy Morons outnumber intelligent educated, practical fit people.

I used to think it was big oil keeping our transit system addicted to fossil fuels. Now I see that big oil has fostered big lazy people who now refuse to allow for a change to clean air and positive health! Please do a favor and not respond, you and your colleagues have made it clear that you’re stuck on stupid. When all you have is excuses YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.




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Woodside Resident

Hi Ms. Simms,

I just started posting on Facebook yesterday. You’re right that the anonymity here is problematic. The first reply to your comment from “Your IQ may be…” being a case in point. As a supporter of this bike lane plan, I really hope that comment was someone trolling to make bike lane supporters look bad. Regardless, embarrassing that this is how neighbors talk to each other….

Regarding Facebook comments, could certainly be that the activity on this board may not be representative of the community. For what it’s worth though, I’ve been checking Sunnyside Post for years now but am not very active on Facebook and it honestly never occurred to me that these discussions would be happening in comments there. First time I realized that was in the comments about the town hall a while back. Wonder if there are other folks like me in that regard. In any case, appreciate your suggestion.




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IT'S SAD THAT YOU ARE ARGUING AGAINST WHAT'S RIGHT

When you destroy the air we breathe selfishly then the gloves are off. What don’t you understand about air quality? Do you realize how much emissions we are putting into the air every day? With our busses , trains, cars, etc. Now here is a community poised to make a difference and we have you stopping it. I AM TIRED OF BREATHING EXHAUST FUMES. YOU SHOULD BE TOO. GET A CLUE!!!!! YOU’RE ENDLESSLY DUMB. DESTROY MY AIR WHICH IS OFFENSIVE, DEFEND THE UNSUSTAINABLE STATUS QUO, AND EXPECT TO BE INSULTED. IT’S MINDLESS. YOU HAVE NO IDEA THE IMPACT YOU’RE HAVING ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND IT’S NOT OKAY. PLEASE JUST TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND??????? WE WILL START SMALL AND I’LL SPELL IT OUT FOR YOUR SINCE YOU’RE CLEARLY MISGUIDED AND CLUELESS WITH RESPECT TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. PLEASE READ A BOOK. I CAN’T BE YOUR EDUCATOR… EDUCATION HAS FAILED ON YOU CLEARLY.




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Greg

Could it be that people are sick of Facebook selling their info to every organization of earth?




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Greg

Here is a challenge for all the people who are against Safe Streets for All:
This is an example of a death that would not occur on Skillman or 43rd should the DOT’s plan go through:
https://licpost.com/nypd-bicyclist-is-dead-after-being-run-over-by-box-truck-in-long-island-city

The challenge is to provide a concrete example of a death that occurred because protected bike lanes were installed and parking was removed. I’m guessing you can’t, but please, try and prove me wrong.




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I accept your challenge

Car parks in parking space -cyclist is beaming down protected lane – passenger opens door – Smash! Guts fall out on street, dead.




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I accept your challenge

Busy Saturday morning – Farmers Market – organic vegetable vendor has to frequently cross newly installed protected bike lane to grab potatoes & scallions from truck – on his way back, he doesn’t see cyclist beaming down street – Smash! potatoes & scallions airborne – cyclist flips upside down onto organic meat vendors cleaver – decapitated – again, guts on street, dead




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Greg

The idea wasn’t make something up, but clearly, you can’t come up with a real world example of parking space removal causing someone’s death.




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Harold Witherspoon

Dig up some of the side walk to add bike lanes. Hands off the road. They’ll be a half of a lane left. Give out tickets to bikers who break the law. The City will make a lot of money.




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I'mWithStupid

Sure, cyclists are the problem. The problem clearly isn’t because you’re lazy and have a poor attitude towards your health and the environment.




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Katie

wow. super ignorant & self centered. Sunnyside has many elderly, disabled & just people that don’t want to ride bikes. When did riding a bike become so damn snobby elitist?




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incompetent

Great set of excuses for your lazy unsustainable life. How many more ya got? Keep them coming, won’t be long before we all need oxygen tanks! You’re on the wrong side of the debate, Missy.




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Eye on the neighborhood

A neighborhood does not have the resources to do a traffic study. No one is callous. We simply think bike lanes belong on the boulevards, which are more direct and we’re specifically built to carry through traffic. There are ways to make everyone safe that do not include bike lanes. We wish the DOT to use those to make our streets safer. Residents of this neighborhood who want to sell their cars to switch to bike transport can do so when there are safe bike lanes on one or both of the boulevards. That will help ease parking congestion. Those of us who do not have that option eagerly await the day we can afford pollution-free vehicles for private transport.




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Greg

We had a woman in my home town with cerebral palsy. She rode her three wheel bike all over town every day. Not everyone can do that, but your idea that people with certain physical challenges can’t ride a bike doesn’t hold up.




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Woodsider

The Firefighters have spoken. The Schools have spoken. The businesses have spoken. The places of worship have spoken. The community board has spoken. The residents have spoken.
Jimmy Van Bramer, where are you?




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Greg

Yes, and the survivors of people who have died in collisions have spoken as well.




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Support Small Business

Supporting this plan is voting against the small business community.
Supporting a push to move the plan to Queens Blvd or Northern Blvd. is voting to keep the small business community healthy and growing. simple.
Ben’s Best Deli in Rego Park is closing. Their sales have declined 17% due to the loss of parking. Even if the loss of parking wasn’t a direct reason why they decided to close, they still suffered a major cut in sales. This effect can add to a business owners decision to close.
Everyone wants a protected lane. Everyone wants safety for all. It’s obvious, propagating the idea of a false black and white narrative – “profits over lives!”, can angle the argument in a supporters favor. But this is just a cheap tactic that undermines the intricacy of how the whole of neighborhood operates.




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Greg

Can you and everyone else please get it through your head that Queens and Northern are not viable alternatives. There are buses that need loading islands, which would reduce it down to 1 travel lane in each direction. Guess what that would do? Funnel people trying to avoid the traffic onto Skillman and 43rd. Stop parroting the alternate reality and false facts your leaders are spreading and do your own research. Ben’s is closing because they are an out-of-date dirty dump. If you read the comments, people are mostly glad to see them go.




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Sunnywood

Buses and protected lanes work together in the city, why can’t the dot make them work here? News -they can. People can funnel north to 31st as well if Northern is congested, Greg. Skillman is not to only release to the bridge. Also, a lane that hugs the 7train on Queens blvd. Is a very viable option. Muni customer parking under 7. Buses keep their lanes. Queens B is slower and safer.




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Vincent

The dot have been paid to create a protected bike lane. They chose the wrong streets. They have had zero response to the Northern or QB option. They have to push for this. Salaries were paid.




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Anonymous

Can you get through your head that the majority of people that live in the area and have done so for a very long time don’t want your mothereffing bike lanes?




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no one cares what you want. really.

You’re getting them anyway fool. Thank uncle Bill.




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Greg

Small businesses and churches can ask for more metered spaces on side streets if they are so worried about going out of business. Why haven’t they done this???




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facts machine

Ben’s Best Deli closed due to the egregious amounts of health code violations.

You can look them up yourself, or keep pretending to blame it on scary bike lanes.




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Katie

Facts machine – so you’re saying that they were closed by the Board of Health? From what I read, it was the owners decision. If you have evidence please share… Or just stop lying.




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Woodside Resident

There are plenty of studies showing other neighborhoods and other cities where protected bike lanes have benefited local businesses. Are the fears of business owners here really based on Ben’s Best Deli? One business in Rego Park?




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Woodsider

Protected bike lanes are a new feature for Queens. How are there plenty of studies? and would they hold any real validity? Cityblog(R. Florida), streetsblog & the DOT are all extremely biased. They want these in all over every city. Please be mindful of where you are getting your info. And no, Ben’s is not the epitome of business concerns but it does highlight the possible negative impact. Keep in mind, there are more businesses suffering losses in Forest Hills & Rego. The chamber, businesses & residents are all involved as well. Ben’s is just loud because they have a long history.




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Woodside Resident

Hi Woodsider,

Thanks for the reply. I think your question about the validity of studies is what I’m getting at. There are plenty of studies from other neighborhoods and/or cities. For example, I’ve seen reports from Seattle, Portland, various European cities, and different neighborhoods in Manhattan. I absolutely agree that it’s important to consider sources, but it’s also important to consider data/analysis/ideas on their own merit, and not immediately disregard them because the source is considered biased. For example, the DOT found in Manhattan that retail sales were not negatively affected by protected bike lanes. That seems to fit with the anecdotal data of my own experience having worked for the past ten years by 8th/9th Avenues and having seen the bike lanes come into existence. Is there other data available to dispute this?

Returning to your point about validity and bike lanes being new to Queens: if it’s not valid to compare Woodside/Sunnyside to neighborhoods in Manhattan or to other cities, then I think that same standard must be extended to Rego Park. Although both in Queens, they’re actually very different neighborhoods. The big chain store shopping centers, Costco, etc, make it much more car-centric than here. It’s also farther from Manhattan and so less tempting for people to switch to bike commuting. So that still leaves me wondering why people believe businesses on Skillman/43rd Aves will be hurt. What’s the evidence?




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G Kelly

Bens Deli charges $21 for a sandwich and macaroni salad. Tell me more about how a bike lane is their downfall.




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Too many cars

It makes total sense to reduce car traffic and promote safe alternatives in this community. If more people bike through skillman, won’t more people stop to support businesses? I bet more bikes will increase businesses over the 120 spots. Isn’t it better to ride for a beer at the Kettle vs trying to drive?




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Eduardo

Attn: Juan Restrepo
Juan, is this the ethical standard at which your transportation alternative members operate? Dialing in boycotts to neighborhood businesses that don’t agree with this proposal? 53 immediate likes to a boycott. That’s a clear & calculated attack against our whole neighborhood. How aggressively disgusting can transportation alternatives get? threats of blood spilling, lying for petition sigs, demeaning our residents and now calling to boycott our beloved businesses. wow, what a sh%$^show.
The comical relief is that in order for a boycott to be effective, you actually have to frequent the businesses to then ban them. It’s not a secret that most TA members do not use our bike lanes or shop in our neighborhood. The dozen or so that I’ve met so far live in Flushing, Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Brooklyn(mostly) & Manhattan. LOL:):) Ya’ll are dialing in a boycott! How very desperate and pathetic. I’m almost inspired to dial in a Park Slope boycott, just cause! who’s with me?!
Flawed plan mi amigos. Clowns the buncha ya.




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Sunnyside res

Yes! So ridiculous. Just shows that they don’t live here. They don’t care about our neighborhood. Let’s walk around their neighborhoods and decide we want something changed because you know, we happen to pass through there. We would know more than the people that actually live there (insert eye roll)




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Greg

Eduardo,
I am calling for the boycott based on false information and outright lies spread by the Chamber of Commerce and it’s members while professing to care about others safety. Particularly when they have a Bike Friendly Business sticker in their window.
I am not a member of TA, but I’m a car owner and a cyclist. Juan from TA has nothing to do with calling for a boycott. However, we should consider ourselves lucky that there are young people like Juan who are actively involved in changing things for the better.
I have lived in the neighborhood going on 14 years now and my wife and I frequent local businesses on a regular basis.
It is everyone’s right to boycott businesses who they don’t agree with, just as it is your right to frequent businesses whose owners you agree with.
Your crude, provincial, and thuggish “You aint from around heah” attitude is not doing anybody or the neighborhood any favors. The false and uninformed ideas you continue to parrot are not helping either, and are only endangering peoples lives.
If I were you, I’d do some research and become an informed citizen. People’s lives literally depend on it.




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I grew here, Greg flew here

Yeah Eduardo, 1 cyclists life every 7 years depends on it!
Hit the stats again Greg, you’re already riding on safe streets.




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Katie

how about the lies coming from TA? Trying to get petition signatures by saying that if the protected lanes don’t get approved, the dot will remove the bike lanes completely. Crazy.




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I grew here, Greg flew here

Meet Greg. 14 yr resident, cyclist, has supported local business for years. This real “neighborhood guy” is willing to publicly(anonymously;) call for a boycott on the businesses he supposedly lives blocks away from. All because business owners are concerned that they will lose business and possibly have to close in coming years, concerned for their firefighters to continue their speedy response time, concerned for their elderly & disabled neighbors & family to get to their access-a-ride within steps of their home, concerned for their school children to exit their buses and cross the streets safely… concerned for the SAFETY FOR ALL.
Greg, I don’t really believe you live here. Maybe one day you’ll have the strength & confidence to post your boycotts on Facebook, where it can be more effective. Until then, you’re just another powerless, anonymous troll.




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Greg

CYCLISTS AND OTHERS CONCERNED ABOUT SAFE STREETS,
Please join me in boycotting Skillman Ave. and 43rd Ave. businesses. If they’re not concerned about our safety, then we shoudn’t be concerned about their bottom line. There are plenty of other businesses in the neighborhood to support.
You can find a list of business’s to boycott here:
http://www.sunnyside-chamber.org
Thanks
P.S. While your at it, please ask Gary at Aubergine to remove the Bike Friendly Business sticker from his window.




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The price is wrong

This has already started on a personal level for me as well, but should be done in a more concentrated and organized fashion to really show its members that a group involved in business promotion should not engage in local political issues and organize unethically against their interests.

Funny how the organization lists that it exists (CAPS for emphasis) “to develop, encourage, promote and protect the commercial, professional, financial and general business interests and ETHICS of the area known as Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City and promote CIVIC INTERESTS AND THE GENERAL WELFARE OF THE COMMUNITY…to provide a forum for the reflection of the sentiments of business regarding matters affecting its interests.”

Illegally flyering, using political clout to broker back room meetings, negotiations, and influence positions is unacceptable corruption for a non-profit no matter what your position is on an issue. The greed of the members of their board represents everything that is wrong with this community.




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Tree of Liberty

Hey Gregg thanks for the link… this fat lazy 4 time nyc marathoner car owner, sunnysider will surely support these businesses you wish to boycott..




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You have no clue

Ohh you’re a marathon runner are you? Free pass to destroy the air and make roads dangerous! You’re a marathon runner! I see!!! That changes everything! It’s your god given right to destroy the one thing we depend on.! Oh hail, the marathon runner. What A Genius! Yet you still have no clue what sustainability means or why it’s important. Duh Duh Duh!!!




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Eye on the neighborhood

The overwrought tone you and other bike lane supporters use does your cause no good. You all appear to be extremists. Extremists have bad reputations. No one wants to be anywhere near them. Calm down and methodically work through the issue. You will get your protected lane, I hope on one or both of the boulevards.




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Ramrod Jones

Greg, you have let yourself go way overboard. What is it about Sunnyside’s people that makes you seem to hate us so much? We want safety for everyone and believe in other ways to achieve it. Why can’t you understand that? Frankly, the bike community seems to have worked itself into a petulant fit over this. A woman speaking at the meeting was clearly in over her head and had to be removed by police officers. Poor thing. Now you want to organize a boycott and deny a business community their right to speak out in their own behalf? You stoop too, too low. Gary pedals to Queens from Manhattan every day. He is most definitely pro bike and bike friendly, he just disagrees with you. Get a sense of balance about this. You will be much more effective with a cool head on your shoulders.




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Greg

As far as I know, Gary doesn’t ride a whole lot anymore because he is spooked from being hit by a car. If that’s the case, that’s his decision. However, actively working to deny other people’s safety by continuously making false and misleading statements about the effectiveness and safety benefits of protected bike lanes is unacceptable, unethical, and shameful behavior. This is not a case of someone who has a valid viewpoint that I don’t agree with. It is a case of someone who real facts and evidence don’t agree with.

On the whole, I don’t have a problem with Sunnyside or the people that live here. If I did, believe me, there are a lot more pleasant places I could move to. It’s the small core group of people carrying out a Trump style misinformation and bullying campaign that I have a problem with. We get enough of that from the tiny handed sexual predator in the White House; we don’t need that at the local level.




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Been hit by a car and nearly died... Car ran a redlight.. enough is enough!!!!

Ben – I’m already boycotting the businesses mentioned as against bike lanes (Example Aubergine Cafe will never make another sale from me again. Period). I suggest you make a concrete list from the chamber of commerce page on who we should boycott. Perhaps create a dedicated facebook page so we can have a point of reference?




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Businesses opposed to the bike lanes shall be named publicly for boycott

Greg let’s take it a step further. Let’s do some research and determine who exactly opposed the bike lanes. We can publish the information in a blog article and submit to sunnyside post. We can also consider publicly listing these companies in a low inference NYC news blog article stating the facts in who are the ones standing in the way of sustainable development.




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Rich

1. Sustainable for who? Not small business. 2. These threats are so silly. You’re savvy, start a FB group already. Oh wait, that’ll ruin your anonymity. Yeah, better off keeping this deep in an anonymous blog or comment section. Brave activism.




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MJK

Been living in sunnyside about 7 years. In my “short” time here, I have definitely seen more cars than bicycles commit traffic violations. Pretty much on a daily basis. That’s not to say that the cyclists are completely innocent. My biggest pet peeve with cyclists is at night when they do not have a light or even a reflector and they appear out of nowhere.

I don’t know what the solution is here. Just feel like I need to say that both sides have a point and both sides are not as innocent as they claim to be.




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Woodside Resident

Thank you for this comment. I’m honestly baffled by the antipathy towards cyclists. It really seems like people are so inured to traffic violations by cars that they don’t even notice them. I’d love it if some people posting here about how dangerous bikes are would take the time to observe and note the car traffic violations they see. How many times to do you see a rolling stop at a stop sign? Speeding through a yellow that turns red? Failing to signal? Speeding? Do the posters who criticize cyclists honestly follow the speed limit at all times?




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Too many cars

Yes. Total disregard for traffic signs, lights and speeding. I live on 39th ave and it’s a tragedy waiting to happen. Uber, Delivery drivers, UPS, USPS, FedEx – speed up and down all day long.




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Clear Crystal

This vote is a God send because the business community will suffer. Ben’s in Forest hills is CLOSING because the traffic flow changed since the instillation of bike lanes. Should nyc PAY HIM for losses? NO $tupid a$$ bike lanes! End. of. Story!




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Greg

So Crystal, have you seen his books? Have you seen the many DOH violations? So, you really don’t know why he closed. Stop spreading misinformation!!!




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Juan

Greg, Bens started feeling a pinch in business months after protected lanes were installed. He’s done numerous interviews about it. Look it up, bozo.




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Hannah

I live in FH and Ben’s is closing for a lot of other reasons that the owner wont admit to. $25 boiled chicken dinners and $20 sandwiches, B health ratings for rodents, a tired and old decor. He didnty even try much at the very end and just resorted to low blow blaming of bike lanes




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WOODSIDE61ST

Like i said once before all of sunnysiders are a bunch of lazy and fat people who prefer cars for transportation instead of getting a work out on a bike i hope gentrification comes fast and gets most of these “sunnysiders” with jersey plates out of this neighborhood you clearly dont belong here!!!




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charles a castro

Why is it that bikers ride throughout NYC with impunity? Bikers go through red lights, talk on mobile phones , driver against traffic , don’t use bike lanes , and commit many other violation on a daily basis. Bikers must obey every traffic and regulation rule , just like motorist yet , they seldom if ever do, and nothing is ever don about it. Vision Zero is nothing more than a war on motorist.




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Thigh Riptorn

I live on a street in Woodside right off Skillman where not a single driver has ever stopped at the stop sign, but cruises right through a highly trafficked crosswalk.

Cars constantly race down Skillman above the speed limit. They double park with impunity. The reason anyone is late or hurt or dead on the streets is because of something someone in a car did.

Why must bicyclists all be held to some great standard before they’re allowed rights? Why are drivers so entitled? Drivers have always been the death-bringers. Cyclists and pedestrians are oppressed and hunted in this car-obsessed city.




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Woodside Resident

Hi Mr. Castro. I encourage you to pick a corner along this proposed bike lane path, spend an hour or so, and note every traffic violation you see. That is, every violation by a pedestrian, bicyclists, or car. If you pick the corner nearest my home, 52nd and Skillman, you’ll likely find many cars doing rolling stops well over the pedestrian walkway or failing to signal their turns. You’ll also see some pedestrians jaywalking. And yes, you’ll see some cyclists not stopping for the red light. I’m curious what you’d find on another intersection. I suspect, based on my own observations walking and cycling, that you’re massively discounting the infractions of cars and pedestrians.




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Kristen Mac

If you have come to any meetings, the community board has asked for a light at that intersection for years now! But guess who won’t provide it. Vision Zero is a sham to the DOT




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Woodside Resident

I should clarify: I live north of Skillman, so I as thinking of that stop sign from 52nd. 52nd St doesn’t match up there, but where it connects to Skillman on the south there’s already a light. Are you thinking about a different block, perhaps?




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Me

Just today some moron idiot biker was pedaling UP queens blvd on wrong way with no helmet. If I hit him, he’ll dent my car and we’ll hear about “another bike dead”.BIKERS: EDUCATE YOUR PEOPLE.




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Greg

Yes, thanks to CB2’s leadership for their unethical and immoral behavior. I guess we need more of that on the local level since we don’t get enough from the Queen’s native in the White House.




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El loco

Once again something progressive that would help the environment in NYC is voted down by the money grubbing business community. A few we’ll financed, well organized few always dominate in this city for the benefit of themselves. “Greatest city in the world.” In your dreams.




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I grew here, you flew here

El loco, “money grubbing business community” lol… just proves that you are very unfamiliar with Sunny or Woodside. This biz community is entirely Mom and Pop. Little money. Good for the neighborhood. All love. Plus, none of them are against protected lanes. Do your homework. After your done, feel free to move to Portland;)




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Greg

Hey, you aint from around heah! Give me twenty bucks or I’ll beat the shit outta ya. Really? Where do you stupid knuckleheads come from? Oh wait, I know, Sunnyside…




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I grew here, Greg flew here

Aww Greg. I assume you moved here within the last 3 years from Ohio or whatever. Your rent is high. You’re a bar back in Brooklyn. You have to lug that fixed gear up a 5th floor walk up everyday. I know you’re frustrated but try and hang in there bud. Consider asking your folks for a help with the rent for Christmas this year… then try a move to LIC.




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Greg

Yes, and when I move to LIC, I’ll take the 250K I’ve gained from my coop in the last 14 years and buy a nicer place to store my 18 speed bike with parking included for my car. Thanks for the great idea!




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A Woodsider

Register, license, (with a VISIBLE license plate identification for bike) and require insurance. There are many accidents and damage caused by bike, just no way to identify them. Have seen bikes just run from violations and accidents. Share the road , share the responsibilities!




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Sue

Many car run me over. No way to identify them because head is crushed. Car don’t stop because talking on phone and running red light. Family don’t get money because driver has no insurance.




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Woodside Resident

Hi Woodsider. What does this have to do a with this particular Skillman/43rd Ave DOT safety proposal that would make our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers? Why fixate on the danger of bicycles when 0.42% of pedestrian fatalities were from cyclists from 2002-2017? 10 pedestrians died after being struck by bicycles in that time period while cars have killed how many? 2,345 people…




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Corrupt DeBelasio's Homeless Hotel

As a biker and driver, installing bike lanes isn’t the solution that will stop deaths and injuries to bikers. Far too often I have seen bikers follow none of the rules. They run red lights at full speed and usually bike against traffic and are usually in the middle of the road. Not to say that drivers are innocent. They need to start ticketing double parkers and people who run red lights (looking at you T plate drivers). The real solution is to just start enforcing the rules with issuing tickets to drivers and bikers.




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david

If 210 members of the community give up their cars for bikes then it actually creates more parking spaces. With a population density as great as ours this shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.




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In the majority

Nobody wants to hobble themselves so people from other neighborhoods can ruin ours. Fight for the lanes on the boulevards and we will back you. Not here.




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Greg

Listen In the Minority, You and others like you live in NYC (not in a small separate town called Sunnyside) where all the other people who pay taxes pay have a right to use and comment on what happens to the streets in Sunnyside. Why don’t you do some research and get a fundamental understanding about how roads are paid for, how your taxes are used, and why Northern and Queens are not viable alternatives to Skillman an 43rd.




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K Mac

They are viable alternatives. You just don’t want them there. DOT never said they weren’t viable. You are creating a false narrative




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Sunnyside_Native

I just do t see how the city could spend the $$ for this when there are homeless people, potholes, transit issues just to name a few. The lanes installed on Queens Boulevard seem to lack cyclists in them??? As a matter of fact, I have seen more bikers riding on the opposite side of the protected lanes, which then causes greater risk to themselves and others, as logically speaking we would expect to see the cyclists in the lanes that were installed, at a great financial cost, for them. Cyclists pose a danger to themselves when they play chicken with vehicles. When I am walking I assume the car cannot see me, rather than they see me and are just obnoxious. Cyclists take the stance that the driver sees them. Have they ever heard of blind spot? Also screaming at people unloading handicap passengers while double parked is rude and inconsiderate . I get this all the time on 48th Street while dropping off my mother and aunt, and unloading packages. Other cities manage to make this work without eradicating parking spots. I think cyclists need to have a permit to ride and insuranceS. I have had many near misses with cyclists while I’m waking. I guess it’s okay to run red lights when on a bicycle. I’ve seen several people mowed down by bikes and the biker keeps going, screaming at the pedestrian. It’s just absurd. How about DOT spend $$ and fix the intersection of Skillman Ave and QB? Potholes in the service lanes (next to the protected bike lanes on QB)? I can think of a lot of better ways for the $$ to be spent.




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Woodside Resident

I’m genuinely curious since your experiences are so different from my own: how many pedestrians have you seen “mowed down by bikes and the biker keeps going”? How many near misses have you had? Where were you when these occurred or you witnessed them? My own experiences as a pedestrian have been that cars have threatened me far more often than cyclists. And the one traffic fatality I had the misfortune to be near recently after it happened was a car hitting someone.

Knock on wood, I honestly can’t think of a single a single near miss I’ve have with a bicycle in Sunnyside or Woodside. In my limited experience cycling, the only near misses I’ve had with pedestrians were people jaywalking from in-between cars when I had no visibility.

Also, you mention “other cities manage to make this work without eradicating parking spots.” Do you think it’s accurate to consider the loss of parking under this DOT proposal “eradicating”? Also, which cities and how did they do it? Again, I’m genuinely curious.




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Truth

With this vote done and Crowley coming out against the lanes, I think JVB will finally come out against the project. It took him WAY too long, but I’m sure he’s scared as hell of Crowley, who could crush his political aspirations in a second. DeBlaz is probably scared of him as well! There’s a very good chance that this idiotic project is dead!!




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Anonthony

Crowley is our representative in the House of Representatives – he should not be weighing in on local politics, other than on issues which engage the Federal Government. But then again anyone who knows QCDP knows its corrupt as all hell and so the wheels turn.




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Sunnyside res

Oh but everyone is shouting that Cortez supports it so vote for her. Stop with the hypocrisy




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Sigh

Most New Yorkers do not drive. The walk or take city transit. Car ownership is a privilege, not a right, and a minority. Cars also take up a lot of space, generate a lot of pollution (before, during, and after they’re owned), and are veritable death machines for people inside and outside of them. So every measure that sequesters these heavy, high-speed battering rams away from pedestrians and cyclists is an investment in this city’s safety and livelihood. It’s also an honest, realistic take about where things are headed here.

By that I mean look at where automation and battery storage are going. Then honestly ask yourself: Do you like to drive in and around NYC? What about trying to park? No, you do not like either. Both are about as fun as diarrhea. Luckily in the very near future you won’t have to drive. You also won’t have to own a car, or park it, because you will be able to cheaply rent one from your phone to come pick you up. And that means you get to forgo spending on fixing damage, insurance, fuel, engine parts, new tires, oil changes, etc. and spend your money on stuff that actually makes you happy.

The sooner we can learn to live without cars, the better this city will be, and the faster a really incredible future will come rushing into it.

I say this as a New Yorker, parent, pedestrian, cyclist, and soon-to-be-former car owner.




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Sunnysider

I’m a longtime Sunnyside resident/car owner. Most of my friends that live within the boroughs own cars. Although parking can be annoying, the freedom of driving upstate or into Jersey or PA, taking my kids to see family, the beach in the summer, etc. outweighs the parking situation, any day. Mywife and I work hard during the week and those road trips help us balance out living in a tight apartment. Your weird, hypnotic comment is just false. What car owner is just driving around NYC? I love where I live, and I love having the option to drive 2 hours outside of the city whenever I feel like it. I say this as a New Yorker, a parent, a car owner, a pedestrian, a cyclist and an active member in my neighborhood.




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who cares about clean air or safety? We got cars!!!

Can’t you find a weekend vice that doesn’t involve degrading local air quality? Very self centered statements / comments.




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david

Sigh, you couldn’t be more correct and I couldn’t have wrote it better myself. It’s sad that the rest of these yahoo’s aren’t educated enough to understand the basic concepts you point out. Laziness is still king around here, and over weight swines lead the charge and they have 1001 excuses for why they should continue to destroy the air and make the roadways dangerous.




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Gardens Watcher

Sigh, are you an Uber driver, investor, or in anyway connected to ride-sharing services? Your post sure sounds like an ad for Uber. And David, please move to Amsterdam and take the big bike you rode in on with you. Your “over weight swine” comment is over the top.




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Look in the mirror, it's you piggy wiggy

The swine is in the mirror, piggy, check it out!




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Gunther

I guess I’ll have to keep riding my bike in the middle lane of 43rd Avenue because there is a car parked in the bike lane every other block. I guess I’ll have to keep vigilant for that car that will eventually kill me.

(Bike commuter from Woodside to Manhattan. Once doored. Many times nearly hurt by reckless drivers.)




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In the majority

You needlessly take your life in your hands. If it is so dangerous, walk until the necessary safety lanes are put in where they belong, on the boulevards.




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KMART KID SHOES

I can’t walk I have no toes because I only ever ate condensed milk as a kid. That’s what we did back then %%%%%%%%% so now what smartie? I gotta bike ****that’s why my jean jacket says GOTTA BIKE!




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JC

Car owners pay insurance to drive these roads. Cyclist don’t pay anything to share the road- no insurance /registration/inspection or parking fees. Cyclist do not heed or yield to VTL, most run red lights and stop signs. Yet if an accident happens involving a car, the auto insurance has to pay for the cyclist medical bills–REGARDLESS OF FAULT! Due to NYS No-Fault law protecting cyclist and pedestrians.
WHERE IS THE EQUAL ACCOUNTABILITY???
Find a way to make it fair for both- then allow them to share more of the road.




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Leif

Car owners pay insurance because there is a great likelihood that their cars will kill or maim a person or destroy property. It has nothing to do with ownership of the streets. Bikes don’t need insurance because they are far safer.




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Me

Leif, what happens when biker causes an accident, who picks up the tab? What happens when he runs into your car and dents your door on a $50k vehicle causing $3k damage? Can we make him our butler to pay for the repair? My insurance should not cover his sorry broke ass.




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basic facts

Car owners pay insurance to pay for damages to cars and people.
Cyclists pay taxes that are used to build the roads.
Cyclists do not drive cars the damage the roads and require more money to repair.




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JC

Car drivers pay insurance to ride these roads. Cyclist don’t pay anything to share the road no insurance /registration/inspection or parking fees. Cyclist do not heed or yield to VTL, most run red lights and stop signs. Yet if an accident happens involving a car, the auto insurance has to pay for the cyclist medical bills–REGARDLESS OF FAULT! Due to NYS No-Fault law protecting cyclist and pedestrians.
WHERES THE EQUAL ACCOUNTABILITY???
Find a way to make it fair for both- then allow them to share more of the road.




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david

Easy solution JC – switch to a bike now! You just stated yourself many good reasons as to why you should. Think about your health. Do the right thing JC. Stop riding your tank down the highway.




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Gigi

And if a motorist at fault strikes and kills a cyclist or pedestrian, there is no accountability.

Once you step out of your car, you’ll see how dangerous it is for non-motorists.




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Queens Gal

Nice to see the CB actually using their brains and listening to the majority, instead of to a few loudmouth hipsters!




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Greg

Queens Gal,
Loudmouth hipsters, as opposed to the loudmouth thuggish townie knuckleheads who oppose safer streets for all?




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I grew here, you flew here

You did it Greg! “Loudmouth Thuggie Townie Knucleheads” or LTTK .. the new name for your 311 cover band!




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Rudy Sanfilippo

As a life long NYC biker I say these are the stupidest thing I ever heard of.




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Sunnyside Calling

When one compares the number of people who need parking versus the number of people who need bike lanes on 43rd and Skillman it is easy to conclude that they made the right call. Put the bike lanes on Northern Blvd.




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Kal-el

These measures were intended to make the neighborhood safer for pedestrians mainly, as well as cyclists and motorists. Safer for everyone. Will you compare those numbers with the number of drivers using the streets as a throughway to Manhattan?




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Sunnyside Calling

How do protected bike lanes make anyone safer where accidents actually occur: intersections? Cars don’t veer off the road and hit cyclists or pedestrians. They hit them when they are making turns (or blowing through a stop sign or light). The advocates for the bike lanes seem to ignore this reality. I witnessed the aftermath of this type of accident last Saturday night (06/09/18) on 1st Ave and E85th St, which has a far more extensive “protected” bike lane than could ever fit on either Skillman or 43rd Ave. It did nothing to protect the cyclist. He was hit in the intersection.




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Greg

So, by your logic, we should get rid of all cancer treatments that only save 80% of patients.




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Woodside Resident

Why not put them on both? And as Kal-el rightly points out, this plan would make our neighborhood safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. There were 283 injuries in traffic accidents from 2012-2016 on Skillman/43rd Aves. Please explain why the convenience of parking outweighs reducing that number.




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Preet

Woodside Res – Because there are more responsibilities involved with removing parking from a residential/small business block then a major roadway with parking lots.




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LIC Neighbor

Bet JVB Sides with the CB2 now that he knows for sure which way they are leaning. Hope the bike lanes are installed regardless. They get bike lanes on the other side of Qns Blvd, we get homeless shelters on the south side of the Blvd. We come out and show up at St. Raphael’s church and Homeless Services rams the shelters down our throats – Jimmy says nothing – bike lanes installed in the Gardens – here comes Jimmy!!! When is his next photo op?




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Anonymous

it does not fit his agenda he is hanging in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill he could care less about Sunnyside or Woodside




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Anonymous

So if the DOT goes ahead with the plan anyway, and the first responders can’t get their truck around the cement barricades to your house 🔥🏠🔥 fire, you’ll owe them a big thank you. ☄️




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Jill

First responders are more often delayed by motorists if this is a worry. Our streets should be clear all the time for emergency vehicles.




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Greg

The NYC Fire Department approved this plan! Do your homework before commenting please.




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K Mac

Greg, stop trolling and go to an actual meeting. The local fire chief said he had not even been informed of this plan until local residents brought it to them. It may get approved downtown but the local people who actually save our lives do not know about it, AND they see major issues with it. Lower response times for one… I guess you weren’t at the meeting…or don’t care about response times bc you don’t live here. You are probably some fanatic TA person, trolling because that is what they do best.




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Carbie Barbie

I’m guessing DOT just overrules them and does it anyway. I think that’s what they’ve done elsewhere.




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John O'Reilly

First off, Nathaly, thank you a well written, comprehensive article. Thank you to the members of CB 2 for your service and for what I am sure was a tremendous pressure by the Manhattan based lobbying company to vote to disapprove the DOT plan. You made the correct decision for the overall greater good of the Sunnyside community. Let’s hope DOT listens.




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Greg

John,
“Thank you to the members of CB 2 for your service and for what I am sure was a tremendous pressure by the Manhattan based lobbying company to vote to disapprove the DOT plan. ”
This doesn’t make sense. Are you saying CB2 was in cahoots with a lobbying company from Manhattan to disapprove the plan? What is this Manhattan lobbying company you speak of? If it’s REBNY or some other company, can you show how they were involved? Thanks




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OldTimer

DOT said it would consider the vote advisory? That means they are going to to it anyway and all this was just for show. If they do it, they will be deliberately rejecting the will of the people for their own “better judgement.” I call BS! They do not know this place the way the people who live here do. They will be destroying our safety for the safety of aggressive fanatics. Mr. Morris and especially the woman who had to be removed from the podium by several police officers are clearly way over invested in these particular lanes. The people of Sunnyside do not owe anyone the last two miles of a dreamed-of seven mile bike highway from Forest Hills. There are boulevards for that. The avenues belong to the neighborhood.




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Greg

Oldtimer,
The DOT considers it an advisory vote because that’s what it is. CB2 is a volunteer board with no legal say over this matter. They are welcome to give their opinion, which is what they have done. For Keehan-Smith to hold a vote and then say 2 people changed their minds is unethical behavior. We should not be tolerating that from our local CB.
We can rightfully criticize the DOT for not being upfront from the get-go. When everybody screamed “What about the drivers” at the first town hall, they should have just said it’s not about the drivers. They are discouraging car use by not encouraging it, and connecting outer borough bike lanes with East River bridges . That plan has been on their website since 2016. Keehan-Smith, as the head of the transportation committee, shoudn’t be acting like a deer in the headlights over this.
It may be delayed, but you are right. The DOT will eventually put in the lanes. It’s not a question of whether Sunnyside owes anybody anything, it’s a question of putting in known safety measures that will benefit everyone in the neighborhood. There is no evidence to show that people die when parking spaces are removed.




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Ryan T.

Well done. Take that money and do something useful now! Could really use some more trash bins since they have been disappearing!




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Anonymous

A refreshing dose of democracy in the dark days of Drumpf. Well done Cb2. Thank you for listening and voting with the majority of your residents!




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Ruby

Hi Anonymous, usually in a democracy people use their real names and have discussions among the whole community. If this is so important to you why are you signing anonymously. As your Jackson Heights neighbor, I often ride down Skillman to go to Brooklyn or Manhattan, and I used to stop off at the shops and restaurants. Now that I know they are the ones against a bike lane, and actually creating an ugly, hateful environment, I’ll take my business to Astoria (many bike lanes, many thriving businesses) or just home to JH. The anti-bike lane people in this thread seem so uncivil, nasty, and literally just think its ok to hate on cyclists. You also seem to assume every cyclist is new to Queens and some kind of “hipster,” and that makes it perfectly acceptable to slam and insult them. Queens suffers from not developing their communities and making them safer for everyone. I am both a driver and a cyclist. Queens is the ONLY borough where people routinely and freely yell at cyclists from their cars as they drive by. People in the Bronx are really nice, Staten Island they make way for you on the streets, and even Manhattan feels safer than here. Skillman is a major route for traffic and the needs of everyone need to be considered, including how it affects the rest of the surrounding communities. That is what democracy is.




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Ruby

Here Ruby, I’ll use my real name, Ruby. Your comment is of a lower intellect, scattered and furious so read carefully and try not to miss anything. First, NO ONE is “anti-bike lane”. The majority that oppose want to see this proposal moved to Northern, where it’s needed. Second, who cares about where you eat or shop? Ride to Flushing for all I care. fyi, there are no protected bike lanes in Astoria.. take it slow. Third, I’m sorry that you exclusively only get yelled at in Queens. Maybe you’re not a great cyclist? Or maybe it’s time for a move to the Bronx? It’ll likely be cheaper in rent. Good luck, Ruby




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Woodside Resident

As someone who has followed this debate for months, I’m baffled by your question, “who cares about where you eat or shop?” I thought a major reason for opposing this plan was the effect on local businesses?




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Greg

Ruby,
If you are going to parrot Donald J. Trump and make the claim that someone is of a lower intellect, please write something coherent that shows you have done some base level of research on the subject. The fact that you and others continue to parrot the false idea that lanes are better off on Northern shows low intellect. What you are really doing is engaging in old-school Queens style bullying.




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david

Good for DOT if they do. It will force these people to live more sustainable. This isn’t country mid west. We have alternatives to vehicles here.




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Gardens Watcher

David, park your anger somewhere else besides this site. Maybe one day you will understand the insensitivity of your comments when you’re older, sick or disabled, or just unable to ride a bike anymore (like when you wipe out in a bad bike accident?). We are not “uneducated” or “lazy” — we are your neighbors, right? Or are you a PR plant for the ride-sharing lobby from out of the area?




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Woodside Resident

Hi Gardens Watcher,

Maybe I’m missing another comment from David or misunderstanding your quotes, but he didn’t say “uneducated” or “lazy”. He also didn’t seem angry to me.

As someone who supports this DOT proposal, I can say I absolutely want people who are older, sick, or disabled (but able to drive safely) to have access to automobiles if they cannot travel otherwise. Do you think this group makes up the majority of car owners in Sunnyside/Woodside? Would it help parking if people who are able to cycle or commute via mass transit didn’t park as many cars on the streets here? Would making cycling a viable option facilitate this for some people?




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Gardens Watcher

Woodside Resident, David’s last posts were June 9. They speak for themselves (especially the one with 35 dislikes) . David went quiet after that but then Greg appeared and began his posts starting June 11 with an even angrier tone and a call for a boycott. Same person? Who knows. The vote is in and maybe it’s time to move on.




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