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DOT Presents New Plan at Town Hall For Skillman, 43rd Avenues, About 120 Parking Spaces Still to be Eliminated

The DOT’s Town Hall on March 26.

March 27, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The Department of Transportation revealed its updated proposal for safety improvements along Skillman and 43rd Avenues at a highly anticipated town hall last night.

The agency’s new plan, revealed to the public for the first time yesterday, sees many of the same features presented in its initial proposal released in November, including protected bike lanes, the removal of travel lanes on certain blocks, and the addition of pedestrian islands. But DOT officials noted that fewer parking spaces would be eliminated in its new plan.

The DOT’s original vision, which was scrapped after much community opposition, would have required 158 parking spaces to be removed through the roughly 20-block stretches of Skillman and 43rd Avenues to make way for protected bicycle lanes. This time, between 117 and 129 spaces will be eliminated, meaning that up to 41 spaces could be returned with the new proposal.

Most of the parking spaces will be eliminated from what the DOT calls the “neighborhood corridor,” or the portions of Skillman and 43rd Avenues stretching from Roosevelt Avenue to just before the approach to Queens Boulevard.

DOT officials said several changes, like turn treatments and new pedestrian island designs, helped add parking spaces back, without compromising their goals for enhancing safety.

DOT

“We’ve been able to retain every bit of safety treatment that you guys saw at the original design,” said Ted Wright, DOT Bicycle and Greenways Program Director.

Some pedestrian islands, for example, will be shortened in length, which will add up to 12 parking spaces back through the two avenues. At some intersections, the DOT will install “off-set crossings” to enhance cyclist safety when cars are turning, which will add an additional 12 spaces back. The agency is also looking at adding a total of 14 new parking spaces elsewhere.

DOT

The new plan still sees 40 parking spaces removed on Skillman Avenue from 39th Street to Queens Boulevard, like the initial November plan. The new signals and pedestrian crossing coming to 54th Street and Skillman Avenue, in front of P.S. 11, will also remove an additional three parking spaces from the area.

“We worked with our engineers to try to balance all of the feedback that we heard,” said Nicole Garcia, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner. “We think we have a plan that balances the needs of the bicyclists, of the pedestrians, and of the local businesses.”

The tightly-packed audience at P.S. 150’s auditorium–made up of community leaders, residents, rows of Transportation Alternatives members, and a slew of owners from 43rd and Skillman Avenue businesses–echoed many of the sentiments shared when the DOT’s initial plan was released months ago.

The revised plan did not appear to change any pre-held opinions.

“All the small businesses…are frightened that they will actually go out of business,” said Patricia Dorfman, Executive Director of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. Many worry that their customers will struggle to find parking and shop elsewhere, she says.

Dorfman created a petition against the DOT’s plans months ago, arguing that any loss of parking spaces would hurt the neighborhood. The petition’s online version has gathered 490 signatures.

The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, along with the Skillman Project, also created a black and orange poster earlier this month criticizing the DOT’s plans for the avenues, and calling for the parking spaces to be saved. The sign visibly hangs on several storefronts, including The Globe Tavern, Quaint, Claret, Skillman Barber Shop, Cooldown Juice, Cote Soleil, Skillman Pets, Stray Vintage, Suryaside Yoga Studio, Welcome Home Real Estate and the Copper Kettle.

Gary O’Neill, co-owner of the 15-year-old Aubergine Cafe, said he remains opposed to the DOT’s plan–although noting that he wants safer pedestrian crossings, speed reductions, and reduced truck traffic.

“These issues can be fixed without a protected bike lane,” O’Neill said. “Protected bike lanes do not guarantee safer streets, but will mean a loss of business. The only guarantee of a protected bike lane is a loss of parking.”

Apart from businesses, many residents opposed the plan, arguing that it is already tough to find parking around the neighborhood. Some said the protected bike lanes would make it difficult to pull over and unload groceries, drop kids off at school, and would make the roadways more crowded.

Mindy Michler-Greene, Co-President of P.S. 11’s PTA, criticized the DOT’s updated plan because of the protected bike lane that would brush directly against the sidewalk at the entrance of the school. The school met with the DOT in December to share the same concern.

“Having a protected bike lane is dangerous for the children,” Michler Greene said. “Children will be dismissed and come into the bike lane and will get hit by cyclists.”

Some residents voiced their support for the DOT’s plan, arguing that protected bike lanes would be an overall benefit to the community. Others said protected bike lanes must be an option, given the state of the subways.

“Either we make these improvements, and we have a safer community and still a parking problem, or we don’t make these improvements, and we still have a parking problem and we’re not as safe,” said one Sunnyside resident.

Flor Jimenez, whose husband, Gelacio Reyes, was killed at the intersection of 39th Street and 43rd Avenue almost a year ago while cycling–and whose death prompted Van Bramer to call for protected bike lanes on the avenue–urged the DOT to make the area safer.

“If something can be done, please do it, so there are no more families left as we are now,” Jimenez said.

Juan Restrepo, Queens Organizer for Transportation Alternatives, which led a campaign to encourage protected bike lanes through Skillman and 43rd Avenues, said the town hall went well, and thought the new plan balanced the community’s needs.

“They heard concerns about parking, and restored parking,” Restrepo said. He also commended Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer for pushing the DOT to satisfy community concerns while maintaining the safety goals.

In a statement, Van Bramer said there were a great number of suggestions and concerns raised about the new plan. “I’m going to take some time to process those concerns and follow up with the DOT,” Van Bramer said.

He added that Community Board 2 will be the ones to consider and ultimately vote on the plan. Many stakeholders, however, are looking for Van Bramer to take a firm position on the plan.

“I want robust community engagement,” Van Bramer said. “There will be additional opportunities, including at the Community Board, for neighbors to weigh in. I want to hear from as many people as possible before making a decision.”

The DOT, meanwhile, said in a statement: “After hearing from residents, business owners, and other stakeholders during a spirited discussion at Monday’s town hall, we will incorporate valuable input into the design for Skillman and 43rd Avenues and will continue to work with both elected officials, including Council Member Van Bramer, and with Community Board 2.”

Updated DOT plan for 43rd and Skillman Avenue by Queens Post on Scribd

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156 Comments

Your Queens Neighbor

I both bike (down Skillman and through Sunnyside to my apt in JH) & also drives (reluctantly and OUT of the city for work) — there is no real data in the voices of people opposing bike lanes. No one drives to get a coffee or a drink in any Queens neighborhood because parking is already horrible. Frankly no one I know from “outside” ever goes to Sunnyside (and rarely to other Qns neighborhoods). All Queens neighborhoods rely on local residents for local businesses — do the people in this thread really think there are cars driving in from Long Island or the Rockaways to go to a bar in Sunnyside? This doesn’t even make sense. If you want to drive to a business that is 6 blocks from your home maybe you should reconsider your choices. If it is too far to walk or you can’t for health reasons, consider one of the many delivery options that abound. All this fighting is about change and fearing change. Not one person in the thread that opposes the bike lane is offering a cogent, logical argument for how local businesses will lose out. I would actually ride over to Sunnyside more often if the lanes were safer, but as it is, I ride from JH to Astoria because there ARE bike lanes the whole way. It is nicer and safer. I never drive anywhere in Queens. The drivers are all crazy.

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Anon E Mouse

I took a walk yesterday on the West Side between 79th Street and 55th Street along the Hudson River. There were sections where bicycles and pedestrians had to share narrow sections of pathway. The bikers were uniformly rude and acted as if they owned the pathways. Whipping around people into oncoming walkers and riders. Ignoring lanes for walkers and bikers simply because it was inconvenient. I’m sorry, bike riders are no better than the rest of the people on the street and frequently worse. Bike paths are just bad ideas when they give bikers an inflated sense of entitlement. Follow the rules of the road, bikers, motorists and pedestrians alike, and everyone will be fine.

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Withheld.

Why not have resident Sunnyside stickers on cars and charge an annual fee? That way if you live in sunnyside you can park and have the privilege of parking where you live – this method in use in neighborhoods in Rome, Florence and other Italian cities and countries throughout Europe, if no sticker you get a $1000 fine and towed, if you own a TLC car/ license plate must park in a garage, unless you have a sticker and pay $2000 per year for the privilege of parking on the street – TLC Ubers would pay more to park since car used for work. Driver with no stickers would use metered parking charging $10 to $20 per hour for metered parking, unless you have your own home and can park in your driveway or garage. Now for the bikes they should also pay and also be licensed with a license plate attached to the bike and be inspected, make sure the brakes are working, the tires are not bald and charge $350 per year per bike per year for the privilege of riding in the street and the use and maintenance of bike lanes, like bike commuter tax, if your a kid under 18 no charge .

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Fan of doughboy park

what if we made people move their cars to the other side of the street so the street moppers can come and scrub the car crumbs away?

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Barbara

Great idea Well thought out Will keep prople from LI parking and going into the city
I believe a residential area in Boston has neighborhood parking permit.

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Sir Parks A Lot

THIS IS A FABULOUS IDEA. We had this when I lived in CA, it works wonders in congested areas. Everyone without a sticker pays like it is a meter, with a time limit. The sticker is a decent price, and it keeps the parking open to residents.

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rikki

all because some idiot bikers cant ride where they are supposed to, and stupid pedestrians jaywalking and looking at their phones everybody has to be punished…

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JOHN LYNCH

As someone who live is Middle Village and frequents Sunnyside/Woodside establishments at least 3 days a week, parking IS an issue. My plans to visit revolve around the question: can I find a spot? If even more spots are removed, I’ll have to curtail my visits even more.

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AlmadeCubano

Those merchants in Rego Park are lying dogs. Let them open their books to prove what they say: but dig: they can’t.

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LIC neighbor

I read that article, I never heard any of those places. Frankly, they look like dumps. The parking is so integral to the businesses, why don’t people do something about it, why don’t they figure out a way to get more parking instead of just complaining

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LIC Neighbor

Too many Ubers on the road, to many cars on the road, cross on the green not in between, raise your head when crossing stop looking down into your cell phone, stop texting, people use common sense and have common courtesy, no need to create ore bike lanes.

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Jay

These are the same people that just have to be on the middle of the street waiting for the light to change. Can’t you wait on the sidewalk till it turns green fella? You got to be out the middle of street… Are you really going to save 10 seconds. Is it worth it to get hit by a car?

I say wait on the old sidewalk and look both ways. You look left you look right. Then if nobody is coming across the street. It’s not that hard. same goes for the cars, quit inching out in the street when it’s not your turn. You’ll get there don’t worry.

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Tree of Liberty

I just walk right in to traffic and hope for the best. I hope the bike lanes are installed. I am for them.

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Ballad in Fred minor

Fred is angry. Sunnyside is the third neighborhood he is getting priced out of since his move to the big apple from Cape Coral, Florida in ‘09. Fred’s parents paid his first years rent for a shared loft in Bushwick with 8 other “working” actors and actresses. Although he forgets sometimes, his folks still pay his cell phone and internet bills:) Fred coerces his Brooklyn bike buds to come up to Queens once in a while. He’s running out of excuses for not meeting them at a bar, but his friends are smart and they feel bad, so they entertain him in his 6 floor walk-up 350 sq ft studio. Fred is angry. But Fred finds comfort and a false sense of enlightenment with his bicycle. Fred hates cars because, in his head, they symbolize a higher class in society that he’s knows deep down he will never be a part of. Plus, they pollute the air. By protesting against parking, Fred is saving lives and saving the planet. “Cars are over!” He yells as he peddles down Skillman and into Manhattan for a double shift, waiting tables at cafe 77. Fred is angry because he’s recently come to the realization that he might have to ask his mom to move her new office out of his bedroom. Fred is furious. His parents will have to buy him a used car to get to work down there. But he finds a small amount of pleasure in going back home and boasting to his high school buds about NY. We wish you luck Fred.

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George

This Fred fan fiction reads like a jilted ex-lover. I’m sorry someone hurt your feelings. Find peace. Amen

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Mom of Ballad in Fred Minor

Oh man talk about avoiding the true issue. Funny! But also totally stupid. How on earth is anyone against bike lanes. Get a life, Ballad in Fred Minor, stop blasting people anonymously on the internet. We need cleaner air and safer streets.

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Anonymous

Look at the mess the DOT has made the intersection of Greenpoint Ave, 41st street and 48th Ave. How much has that multi year disaster cost. All for nothing. Greenpoint, 39th street and 50th Ave is another joke. As long as the DOT can make it part of the capital improvement budget and use outside vendors to do the work it’s just spend, spend spend.

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Resident46

Sunnyside post should stop censoring me and let me say what i really mean about the people who are for DOT (aka gov agency=terrorists) and the sunnyside ruining greenpoint and williamsburg loving rainbow sided fake news liberals…

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Patret

If this is a public health/safety issue, then why not include the health and safety of handicapped and senior people who need to take cabs or access a ride to doctor appts. The answer to this question at the town hall meeting, was for them to go to the corner to get their ride. Really? Why should they have to struggle more, especially in inclement weather? This is such disrespect against those who happen not to have the physical facility they wish they still had. I wonder how your attitudes will change as you get up in years. Also, the proposed changes for the lower volume areas change the parking lane from 10 feet to 9 feet. But, in the higher volume areas, from 10 feet to 8 feet. This allows too little space for a driver to safely open the door and squeeze out of the car without danger from oncoming traffic. The passenger also has very little exit room. Imagine having to pull out groceries or a child from a car seat!

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Jay

Access A Ride…How are they able to park right in front of their house now? Double parking is still possible, it just keeps it out of the bike lanes.

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Woodside Resident

I can understand your concern for the disabled and senior citizens, but it seems the situation you describe is challenging even now. Parking spots are almost always occupied, so cars now still need to double park if they’re going to unload an elderly or disabled passenger right in front of their door. Maybe the answer to this is to create more handicapped only parking spots at different locations in the neighborhood?

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Resident46

Statistics show bike lane accidents are due mostly because of cyclist. I think there should be bike lanes but the DOT thinks separated bike lanes are the answer to all the problems amd so its going to enforce it on us because of funding and grants it recieving from state and federal offices. Once again it is like Terrorism….the DOT is forcing its ideology on us!

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Woodside Resident

Resident46, this is a bit extreme, isn’t it? Terrorism? All the statistics support this proposal being safer for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. At the town hall meeting and on this comment board I hear lots of concerns about bicycles causing accidents, but I don’t see data supporting these assertions. I understand people are concerned about parking and that is a legitimate debate for a community. The safety of these lanes isn’t just a matter of opinion, though. If you have statistics that counter those presented by the DOT, please share.

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jheg

The answer to whether or not you have the right to parking is….wait for it………wait………a big fat NO!

“To determine whether parking extends beyond policy and into the arena of rights, let’s first look at the basic nature of rights. Whether they are human rights, which apply to every individual on the planet, or civil rights, which apply to citizens of a particular nation, rights are shared by everyone in the group. The right to free speech, the right to due process, the right to vote — these are entitlements shared by all American citizens. Moreover, my right to vote does not inherently inhibit your right to vote.

With this framework in mind, it’s clear why parking is certainly not a right, and instead just a matter of public policy. First off, driving is not an absolute right — you have to earn that privilege and it can be taken away. Not everyone can, will, or should drive a vehicle. And if driving is not a right, by extension, parking isn’t.

But moreover, parking in a spot inherently obstructs someone else from parking in that spot — an outcome incompatible with rights. My right to a free public education does not, on principle, conflict with yours. But my ability to park somewhere does.”
From: https://theweek.com/articles/446022/americans-have-right-free-parking

Everyone has a common law right to use roads, just not an absolute right.

When everybody said, “What about the drivers”, at the meeting, the correct answer was, “it’s not about the drivers.” And here’s why: http://www.nycdotplan.nyc

The city is moving towards a rapid increase in sustainable transportation. They are not in the business of building parking garages, adding parking to city streets, or parking for businesses, other than allocating the spaces we already have. If you read the plan, you will understand why they are going in that direction. Pay particular attention to the fact that NYC is competing for business with cities around the world, their plan to reduce our carbon footprint, connecting bike lanes to bridges, and dedicated bus lanes. They also work in conjunction with DHMH to reduce deaths on city streets. In other words, they are helping to carry out Vision Zero as part of their mission.
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/visionzero/index.page

If you don’t read these plans, you won’t understand the rapid evolution the city will go through in the next 3, 5, and 10 years. You will not be prepared for it, and you will be left in the dust of change.

No doubt about it, change is really hard, and there are winners and losers. Some people’s lives will be made better, and others less so. How you deal with that is up to you, but deal you must.

“He (JVB) added that Community Board 2 will be the ones to consider and ultimately vote on the plan.” They can vote all they want, but their vote is just an opinion and carries no legal weight. They can delay it for a few years, but what’s going to happen is what happened to CB7 recently.

“The 110th Street bike lane also falls under the purview of Manhattan CB 7, which declined to endorse the project for a very different reason — saying DOT’s design did not do enough to prioritize cyclist safety.

Although DOT prefers to get endorsements from local community boards for its street redesigns, it does not need them to move forward.

“DOT has done extensive outreach in Harlem to come up with a neighborhood plan that works for all. Overall, the response has been positive,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement. “We will continue to work with all four Community Boards, residents, and business owners as we move towards full implementation. Our goal is to install the remaining lanes beginning in spring/summer 2018.”

My plan do deal with it: sell my car, rent Zip Cars when I need one, and ride my bike as much as possible on our new bike lanes. That frees up a space for someone with physical challenges, someone that truly works somewhere with no public transit, or Batman when he loses his cave. Have a great day everyone!

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Resident46

Yeah sure…lets see you bike ride in pouring rain and 3 inches of snow…lets see you then…

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AlmadeCubano

So you have a car to drive only in the rain and snow? Must be nice to piss away money like that.

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jheg

Resident 46,
For snow days, there is the MTA. For rain days, there are rain suits. My wife and I walked 40 blocks during that big blizzard we had a couple of years ago to get to a friend’s house. For those that can’t do that, there is Access a Ride and other services. I know those services aren’t perfect, but at least we have them.

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May

I don’t trust DOT, in LIC by Socrates they promised not to take much car parking space and they still took it even where other places to put Citibikes were available. To make matters worse they put the bikes on what the neighborhood calls the curve of death, it’s just a matter of time someone will get badly hurt in the spot they choose.

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Resident46

The DOT is currupt… they really dont care about lives…all they want to do is seem like theyre doing something just to get more federal and state funding….someone is deffinitly making money from all these DOT rediculous ideas..

.P.S. people we already have bike lanes.

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Noel

Yea. The DOT are raking in the big bucks from the bike lane lobby. Laughing all the way to the bank! When will cars ever catch a break?

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An ony mous

This anonymous machismo is exhausting. Notice how 90% of the Facebook comments are opposing these protected lanes. Very telling. I’ll have to assume that most of you are not from the neighborhood, or possibly the borough. Or maybe you’re a local that wants to hide your identity because 90% of your neighborhood, including the businesses that you patronize disagree with you. Either way it’s cowardly. Buck up, stop trolling in anonymity, you’ll feel better about yourself in the long run. xoxo

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Woodside Resident

By “Facebook comments” are you referring to the comments on this message board? If so, it would help your case if you posted this with your full name, rather than as “An ony mous”. I am a local who lives one block off Skillman. I strongly support this plan and I was at the town hall meeting and saw many Sunnyside/Woodside residents openly express their support, too. I’d happily express that in person with neighbors, and I have, in fact.

As far as anonymity on this board, the general tone and trolling here (not just on articles about this bike issue) make me not want to use my real name. The lack of civility on this board sometimes is frankly embarrassing, when I consider that these are my neighbors.

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An ony mous

I’m simply observing the difference between The Facebook comments and the SP comments. Funny how a higher percentage of pro-pro bike lanes are on the SP comments as opposed to FB comments. Why do you think that is? My guess is that transportation alternatives has a broad network of trolls that live in other boroughs. They can “phone it in” from another borough, easily disregarding the impact it will have on the residents and businesses of a small community. It’s cheap and it skews the dialogue.(just as the DOT skewed the numbers) This is a neighborhood decision. Good to hear that you stood up for what you believe. Although I disagree with your stance, it’s nice to know that there were real neighborhood people there.

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Woodside Resident

Oh, I understand. Yeah, unfortunately it’s hard to know what is authentic on this board and how many different people are actually posting.

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Michael

Disgrace to lose parking spaces for bike lanes. Making the flow of traffic more dangerous.

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AlmadeCubano

And you know this how? Nothing in the history of urban planning supports your nonsensical conclusion.

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Woodside Resident

Hi Michael. I’m curious if you were at the meeting or have read the DOTs proposal? The statistics they presented pretty conclusively showed that this would be safer for cares, bikes, and pedestrians. If you have conflicting data, please share.

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Nomenclature

They create big numbers using their pr machines then present it as representative. I no longer believe their data. Their credibility is shot.

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Tartine6666

The town hall has clearly indicated that the community does not want protected bike lanes as we already have a serious parking issue here.
Most cyclists it seems don’t live here and just pedal through our community.
Before we go to extremes, why not first implement helmets, proper signage and police supervision to help safety.

Protected bike lanes belong on queens Blvd, not Skillman or 43rd.

Dumb idea.

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Woodside Resident

I was at the town hall meeting as well, but I have to say that wasn’t my interpretation. I saw many passionate supporters on both sides of this issue. And let’s not forget that the population of Sunnyside/Woodside is over 120,000, so even in that well-attended event only a tiny portion was represented. It would be interesting to see a poll of all residents, but my guess is that most residents would value a plan that is safer for cars, bikes, and pedestrians even at the cost of some parking spaces. Most of our residents rely regularly on walking, biking, and public transit, after all.

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Nomenclature

I have it on good authority that TA brings the sam crew of diehards to all meetings. They are well prepared by professionals to have a slick comeback to any and all objections by people who see their lives changing drastically by forces they were unaware were planning their exit from their homes.

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Mythoughts

The anti-bike lane crew is just as slick and organized, intimidating neighbors and businesses that support bike lanes from speaking out. I live in the neighborhood and support the protected bike lanes but didn’t attend the Town Hall because of the angry atmosphere that has been created. Also remember many of those businesses were for this before they were against it. They can’t oppose their current customer base even though they know the protected bike lanes would bring new business to their doors.

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blah

Somehow, everyone will survive. Car people need to realize the future is here.
Pat Dorfman, do you have data to support your claim that the local businesses will lose business? Seems you are saying there are mostly out of neighborhood patrons?

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Fred

Great point blah,
Everybody is saying the bike lanes are mostly used by out- of-neighborhood people, and yet they want to clog our neighborhood up with people from outside the neighborhood…Can’t have it both ways Pat Dorfman!

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Meliksah soyturk

where is the parking solution ? All sunnyside drivers ,small business and neighbors drive around long hours for finding 1 space! we love bicyclist I am bicyclist too!but we have to use our car and we have to find parking first of all! they have to solve our problem.If they think bicyclist .by the way All New York bicyclist here they live chealse and Brooklyn they talk about our neighbour streets.

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Woodside Resident

As someone who lives near Skillman, I’ve observed that my neighbors with cars are the ones I see unloading huge hauls from Costco or other stores outside of the neighborhood. I don’t own a car (and I don’t bike, for that matter), so I do almost all my shopping on Skillman. I have to think that making the neighborhood more pedestrian and bike friendly will help local businesses in the long run.

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AlmadeCubano

You sound responsible, reasonable, and intelligent.

The car parking buffs here will duly attack you and give your cogent comment a thumbs down.

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dee

I don’t have a car (anymore- gave it up) or a bike so the US vs THEM mentality of this debate is interesting to observe. I do care about the neighborhood, though, and I think there is great room for improvement and a bit regulation on both sides if we want to make safety and quality-of-life improvements.

The idea that many share, that parking is a privilege, is a bit short sighted. Not everyone that needs to find parking in our neighborhood has a car here for unnecessary, luxury purposes.

There are some car owners/operators living in our neighborhood that simply DO require their car for work as they travel to areas that are not accessible or not reasonably accessible by public transport, or they have to transport materials with them. We also have car owners/operators who are living in this neighborhood and working and providing services within this neighborhood, for which a car is required. We have many NYC yellow and green taxi drivers and livery drivers, who are typically transporting the car-less population when they need it (yes, it happens), and many of these drivers live in the neighborhood and sometimes need to park between fares or shifts, before going back to a garage. We have individual contractors and other tradesmen who rely on a vehicle to transport materials to their job sites and need to find reasonably close and legal parking to that job site.

For those people that do have a car just for recreation or that could get by without it, they are required to pay licensing/registration/inspections fees and to maintain the other requirements for ownership so I empathize if after going through all that that entails, you can barely find somewhere to put it. We all know street parking in city areas is difficult but the options for pay garages and lots in Sunnyside are also severely lacking compared to many other areas. It wasn’t nearly this bad when I had my car four years ago and it will only continue to get worse as the neighborhood becomes more popular and affluent.

One huge part of the problem, as others have mentioned, is the number of people driving in from other neighborhoods to park here and take the 7 train on a daily basis. Often there are no spots left for people that actually live and work here. A few things would help, one being the addition of some more parking lots/garages. Another would be, as other’s have mentioned, some sort of neighborhood parking permit. This would be difficult to roll out and enforce but I think there’s merit in the idea and I think most residents with cars would be willing to pay if it alleviated the issue somewhat. It would likely apply only to non-city controlled/non-metered parking but those are some of the most desirable spots for actual residents. It would then free up more of the hourly and full-day metered spots for those coming in to actually perform work and services in this neighborhood and visitors to our shops and restaurants. In a perfect world the fees for this permit could be funneled directly back into the Woodside/Sunnyside community (don’t laugh). I’ve seen this type of parking in other areas like Bayonne, NJ where they have street signs designating parking areas that are for local residents with permits only.

Increasing requirements for bikers themselves would help to improve the overall traffic/transportation scenario we are dealing with. The reality is that bikers are also at fault in some accidents, whether it be bike to bike, bike to pedestrian, or bike to car. I don’t believe suggesting licensing for bikers just because car owners need them is a helpful mentality. However, if properly implemented, bike licenses could be a great safety measure as it would raise a level of responsibility for bikers that is somewhat non-existent right now.

A bike license could be contingent on the completion of a riding test or safety course, and come with the responsibility of maintaining the bike to ensure it operates safely and features proper safety measures like reflectors/lights. It can be challenging as a pedestrian walking at night to avoid the path of bikers who do not have any form of reflector on their bike or their person. I’m sure it is also frustrating for drivers and other bikers who want to avoid collisions to have to navigate among bikers that can really not be seen. Having these requirements tied to a registered license makes them more enforceable and more frequently adhered to.

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Tootsietooters

Whatever happened to the good old days before there was bikes and we all had cars and parked them Every Witch Way all over the place good old good old days

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AlmadeCubano

Those good old days helped kill our planet.

Not to mention thousands of pedestrians every year.

Good old bullshit.

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Tootsietooters

I was talking about the good old days of horsey and buggy trollys. When there was lots of parking.

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Anonymous

Yes the planet is dead, none of us are actually here. If the planet is already dead, what matters a few thousand pedestrians? By the way, Tootsie is on your side. Grow up.

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Sir Walter Raleigh

who drives to local businesses? I walk all over the place leave the cars at home or do not have one. we sold ours 4 years ago and rent maybe 3 or 4 times a year mostly in the summer.

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Chris Wattenbarger

As most idiots you miss the obvious. If no one drove to businesses then there would not be any cars parked around the neighborhood. Also would ask DOT and Sunnyside Post to correct the number of parking places lost to include those made useless by highvolume morning trraffic lanes. This make sthe number of parking places lost about 180

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Woodside Resident

First of all, why the hostility Chris? I don’t see the need for calling a neighbor an “idiot”. Secondly, you write: “If no one drove to businesses then there would not be any cars parked around the neighborhood.” Are you seriously implying that no residents here own cars? That all of the cars parked on Skillman and 43rd are people who drove here for local businesses?

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Nomenclature

Mine is the grocery store, but my favorite local grocery has no lot. I shop out of town.

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LIC neighbor

Out of town,? What town do you go to? Poughkeepsie, Peekskill, Mahwah,?

Steven

I’m here to say hello to the person that keeps sabotaging the bike lane. Keep on leaving nails, broken glass and needles. I have tubeless tires now. Let’s protect pedestrians and Cyclists. Let’s build that protected LIFE lane.

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Steven

They aren’t safe at all. I think you need to ride a little more. I think this is more about parking than businesses losing revenue. I hang out in Sunnyside, I take the Subway, or I take my bicycle, I’d be crazy to take my car. There is never parking there NEVER and I still hang out. I like Sunnyside. Protected bike Lanes would make pedestrians and cyclists a lot safer.

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Fred

Johnny and Ooh-la-la,
Sorry to be the one to tell you, but protesting a business by withholding business is legal in the United States.

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Eurozone

If this plan gets implemented. I guarantee within a year demand for parking & congestion will drop.

Additionally, as a driver & cyclist who was born and raised in Sunnyside. I definitely want this protected bike lane. Gets bikers out my way when I drive & its easier to double park for unloading or dropping someone off (when there isn’t a spot).

When I bike, its safe (my life isn’t at risk) and I don’t have a car blocking my lane. Plus I can be in the city in 20min or the other way back. It’s really that simple.

Parking has always been messed up here, demand is overwhelmed. It is what is. Even if you didn’t get rid of the parking its still going to be shit & much worse for years to come.

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Too many cars

Skillman would get more business if we had these bike lanes. More people would bike over, esp with the new businesses – PJ’s and Sanger Hall. Too many cars on our roads as it is and the traffic is out of control. These spots don’t make a difference – there are tons of new buildings going up and parking isn’t going to get any better. Complain about that Real Estate development instead. Walk and ride is is the way to go.

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ann

The campaign to expand bike lanes is silent about the widespread irresponsibility of most bicyclists. Looking out the window: 95% run red lights. With the bike lanes we have, bikers are often not in them – but going the wrong way on a one-way avenue, riding in the middle of the street. Also, riding while viewing mobile phone. No one is talking about the immense danger they pose to pedestrians. Everyone pedestrian in the neighborhood has had near-misses. DOT collects no data on that. Being hit by a car is worse, of course, but 95% of cars do not run red lights, and the biggest danger to me if from bikers. Bikes and riders need to be registered, helmets and lights mandated, and laws enforced. If the city can’t do this, rolling out more and more bikes lanes is irresponsible.

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Jay

Ann,
Enforcement is not on the table here. If you and others want more enforcement, please go to the 108th precinct meetings. As they said at the meeting, the DOT see’s an increase in rule following with bike lanes. There will still be rule breaking no matter what anybody does. If I had to bet, I would go with you fairing better being hit by a bike than a 4000lb car. At least with bike lanes, you know where to look for them.

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Wil

The campaign to expand roadways is silent about the widespread irresponsibility of most motorists. Looking out the window: 95% drive recklessly. With the roads we have, motorists are often not in them – but parking on sidewalks or in crosswalks. Also, driving while viewing mobile phone. No one is talking about the immense danger they pose to pedestrians and cyclists. Everyone pedestrian and cyclist in the neighborhood has had near-misses. DOT collects no data on that. Being hit by a car is worse, of course, because of cars do run red lights and speed and the biggest danger to me if from motorists. Cars and drivers need to be registered and licensed every year and laws enforced. If the city can’t do this, rolling out more and more car lanes is irresponsible.

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Ooh-la-la

She, unlike me and you, has the courage to use her own name, and she speaks for many of us who can’t stand th heat she takes from people like you. Whether you agree with her or not, she deserves your respect.

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Nomenclature

Enforcement should be on the table! Licensing, safety equipment, safer bicycles, mandatory vests or flags, mandatory lights, and heavy fines for infractions will bring renegade bikers back into civilization with the rest of us. You want change? Hold on to your hat.

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AlmadeCubano

Perhaps we should begin by jailing drunk drivers, and those who rack up “camera” tickets first?

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Jay

Nomenclature,
That’s the NYPD and the DMV, not the DOT. Have you emailed them and advocated for that? Talk is cheap everyone.

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George

How dumb do you have to be to get hit by a bicycle? The only folks I’ve ever seen even come close are staying at their phone or simply not even looking where they walk. They’re the same people almost get hit by cars.

I’m 58 years old, and I never even come close to getting hit by a car or a bicycle. Look both ways folks!

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Noel

How do you get hit by a bicycle?…Guess you’ve never seen one blow through a stop sign or drive on the opposite side of the bike lane!.You’re probably the same type of person that thinks Sunnyside has a small town feel…Another cave dweller who needs to get out more often

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George

Yes, ma’am. You got me, because I look before I walk out into the street — I live in a cave.

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- A driver with a car in Sunnyside AND a cyclist

“Most” bicyclists? Your window must have some smudges my friend. Why can’t we have both? I guarantee most people do not drive to Sunnyside to do their shopping and dining. Wouldn’t the addition of these bike lanes bring MORE business to the area? Bikers going for leisurely rides in warm weather – stopping for juices at Cooldown – grabbing a coffee at Aubergine, or a pint at Dog and Duck? Connecting to this network of protected lanes is nothing but a potential boon to the neighborhood! I can’t wait for the opportunity to ride safely out to Flushing Meadows, personally!

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Fred

At least Streetsblog.org had the journalistic integrity to correct Gary O’Neill:

“O’Neill is wrong on a few counts. The safety record of protected bike lanes is unambiguously positive, with reductions in traffic injuries averaging 20 percent after implementation.

There is no evidence, meanwhile, that claiming a few parking spaces to make walking and biking safer is detrimental to local merchants. New York has been implementing protected bike lanes on commercial streets for more than a decade. There are always some skittish merchants like O’Neill, but retail activity on streets like Kent Avenue in Brooklyn and Columbus Avenue in Manhattan continues to flourish.”

Gary, If you think other locations in NYC can’t be compared to Skillman because of lack of foot traffic, move to a location with more foot traffic in the neighborhood when your lease is up. But please, stop endangering other people’s lives with a false narrative.

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johnny

Fred, Boycott all you want you pathetic waste off space, There is enough off us local residents and Cyclists for that matter that will always support our local business’s, How dare you call for a boycott off our neighborhood, and over what ? A bicycle lane, We already have a good bike lane, I know this because i use it every day, It is an outrage that idiots like you and Sue are threatening local employers, Mostly made up off immigrants by the way over something that is there already, Will you and Sue provide employment to all the local workers who could lose jobs over this ? Maybe yourself and Sue could buy a tandem bike and cycle right along out of this area.

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Noel

Fred it’s so painfully obvious that you are a renter in the neighborhood and that the high cost of renting leaves you with 2 options..Bicycle and Metro card!

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Fred

Johnny and Noel,
Is that all you two townie knuckleheads have got? Try engaging your brain before you type.

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Noel

Fred..Is it the six family walk up that your renting in that leaves you so pissy? Absolutely amazing how a carpet bagger like yourself comes here and thinks he knows what’s good for everyone else!..Stick to you chai tea lattes at Starbucks…Gary doesn’t need your business!!!

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Jimmy van pooch

I’m with my tough guy friends, listen to Noel she knows what she’s talking about! Lack of parking and bike Lanes ruins neighborhoods just look at the slum of the West Village, and Soho, and almost all of Manhattan for that matter. Parking is impossible to find there and there are no businesses to be found, no fancy stores, no restaurants, nothing!

If you want to see a thriving business area go down Northern Boulevard where all the beautiful stores have big beautiful parking lots. Boy howdy everyone’s talking about Northern Boulevard and they all their amazing parking people can’t get enough of it. Amen

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DA

Anyone concerned about pushing school busses further into traffic during pick-up/drop-off times? They already back up traffic down 43rd Ave. as it is!

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Steven

What? Where did you get your license? With or without bike lane you MUST STOP if lights are blinking.

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Jimmy Can't Hide

Jimmy Van Bramer and his husband held a fundraising party at their Sunnyside Gardens home last April to raise money for Transportation Alternatives.
Why has he turned his back on us? Its time to save lives.

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Jay

Anonymous,
Thanks for posting this good non-biased article.
“In an analysis of 12 cities that implemented bicycle lanes across specific commercial corridors, studies found that non-drivers spent a similar amount or more money in the area where the lanes were installed.”

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Leader needed

Jimmy’s husband’s position on the board of Transportation Alternatives is a conflict and he should answer for it. He should tell the public about the fundraisers he has held at his house for Transportation Alternatives too. Head shake. New leader needed.

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AlmadeCubano

Chuck the Schmuck Schumer’s wife was the head of the DOT and opposed bike lanes.

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Noel

Christine Quinn’s cousin has a little red wagon. Hardly a coincidence … do the math!

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Fred

“The petition’s online version has gathered 490 signatures” Pretty telling…only 490 people signed up to support the Sunnyside COC.
I agree Sue, besides Aubergine Cafe, we should be boycotting the following businesses listed in the article:
The Globe Tavern, Quaint, Claret, Skillman Barber Shop, Cooldown Juice, Cote Soleil, Skillman Pets, Stray Vintage, Suryaside Yoga Studio, Welcome Home Real Estate and the Copper Kettle.
Hit em’ in the wallet folks!

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Ooh-la-la

Aren’t you awful! Instead of looking for a compromise that would serve all members of the community you want to launch a boycott of businesses that have worked hard for decades to make this neighborhood safe? I call poor citizenship. Your comment hinders progress. If you really want to save lives rather than advance your political agenda, go out and feed the homeless.

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JarekFA

They don’t want compromise. They want to preserve as many parking spots as possible. In fact, they want more parking if possible. The notion of “induced” demand doesn’t even register. In other words, when you have densely populated areas with high demand, it will ALWAYS be difficult to find parking. And building garages will just create more congestion. The only way out of this trap is to provide alternatives that don’t require taking up so much space. Bikes are a big part of that. But of course, so many people don’t because they don’t feel safe. That’s the Catch 22 right there. The next step of course, would be mass legalization and adoption of ebikes — NOT as a bike substitute — but as Car Substitute. If you work in midtown, and you had a safe route to get there via e-bike, tons of people would make the switch as you wouldn’t have the issue of having to handle the steep 59th street bridge if you had a little electronic boost.

That’s what all so disappointing and shortsighted of many of the “bikes are dangerous!” crowd. If you think those people are a danger on a bike, you’d rather they travel via car instead?

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BR

I am a cyclist who rides on Skillman Avenue on a regular basis when the weather is warm. The current bike lanes are fine and safe. We need to protect our local businesses. Looks like our hard earned tax dollars are going to waste as usual. Leave Skillman Avenue as is!!!

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Sue G

Gary O’neill, Please take the “Bike Friendly Business” sticker off the door of your business. I used to support your business…no more! You can win some customers from your posturing and false statements, but you and others on Skillman may find that this will cost you more in the long run. For the people who support safer streets, please join me in boycotting Skillman businesses and those belonging to the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

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Ooh-la-la

Gary., I support your business, it is bike friendly. It just isn’t car hating.

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Supporter

Gary has done a great deal of good for Sunnyside and is liked by everyone.
That horrible comment had to be made by someone who does not live here.

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Anonymous

Mr. JVB is in their pockets don’t kid yourselves he is for all of this – wake up people that is why he is not saying anything —

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JT

POCKETS OF WHAT? Where is the big “bike money” coming from? You all are starting to sound like those right wing people who blame George Soros for everything. If that’s the case, I’m still waiting on my Soros money – and where can i get some of this BIG BIKE money?

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Lance Carstrong

Ridiculous plan. Caving in to a small % of the population. Will this make it easier for bikers to continue to break the law by blowing thru red lights and stop signs? Make these knuckleheads get plates and insurance if they want to be in the road. Drivers pay insurance, tolls, inspection and registration fees… some of that helps pay for our roads. What do the two wheelers chip in? You want a lane? Do your part.

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Oil beef hooked

Hear hear! Make pedestrians pay a shoe tax as well. Cyclist don’t pay no taxes like the rest of us true car owning citzens.

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AlmadeCubano

And that gives you the right to free parking? Where is that “right” detailed?

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Pooch

I don’t own a car (over half of NYC doesn’t either), yet I pay taxes. Eliminate car taxes and institute a toll one every road and a meter on every space if you think you’ll save money.

Parking is a privilege. This will pass, and the utter destruction and chaos will never occur.

Fix the subways.

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Emily

Build a neighborhood garage so people have a place to leave their cars. I need a car 2-4x week for work. If I had a place to keep it, I would probably reduce the usage. Sunnyside Gardens used to have a central garage – that will be the new middle school.

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Jay

Emily,
The city has decided for better or worse that the former garage on Barnett and 48th is better used as a school. Your best bet is to find out what kind of incentives Phipps Corp. would need to develop their current parking lot on Barnett into a 6 story garage. Doesn’t have to be ugly either.

Also, write to your Polls and ask that all new construction include adequate parking. What about advocating for resident parking permits? We have a lot of out of state plates in the hood and commuters driving in to park and take the 7.

The city’s emphasis is on sustainable transportation right now, not cars. You won’t see them building new garages or encouraging car use. Sucks for you, but that’s just the reality of the situation and the direction the city is headed in.

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urbo

why didn’t ANYONE give a crap about the garage when it was a pool hall and stinky gym?

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JarekFA

You ever wonder how the majority of your neighbors that don’t own cars manage to get by without owning one?

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Helen

It’s not a one size fits all. People work in different areas. It’s safe to say residents of Sunnyside/woodside take mass transit into the city. It’s the people passing through who drive and take up the parking.

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Fred

Like the businesses on Skillman who are bringing in cars from outside the neighborhood.

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Mary Jane

I’m against any plan that removes parking spaces and creates a dedicated bike lane. Local businesses along Skillman such as Aubergine and Claret would lose customers that are vital to their survival. As a long time local driver along Skillman and 43rd avenues the number of bicycles I’ve seen obey stop signs and red lights can be counted on one hand. During the months of November-March (5/12 of a year!), the use of the bikes lanes we already have are minimal. Where are the counts for bicycles on a cold January afternoon, all we get are May number.

The unfortunate bicyclist who was killed by a DRUNK driver who ran a red light is the impetus behind the calls for a dedicated bike lane, a dedicated bike lane wouldn’t have made a difference. Enforce existing laws for bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians and the streets would be much safer for all.

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Your Next District 26 CM

Sorry, MJ. Local businesses are patronized by folks in the neighborhood who use their feet to walk around the neighborhood. Aubergine won’t have to worry about customers soon because of their new landlord. Claret rarely has customers. Driving and parking in front of a business for two hours does not instill a sense of community. What does is promoting health e.g. protected bike lanes [more people on bikes], tolls on Queensborough Bridge [less cars], improvements on the subway [reliable public transit], and ensuring that people don’t break laws [police issuing citations]. Neighborhoods change or they will continue to face the same challenges.

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Ooh-la-la

You lost a big chance to introduce yourself to the active people in the community. I don’t think you will be a cm here.

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Jay

Mary Jane,
This is a public health/safety issue, not a parking issue. Yes, all traffic laws should be enforced in NYC. Are you and others who are calling for more enforcement willing to pay for an additional 8-10 full time officers in each precinct to accomplish this? Are you advocating for enforcement proposals that are being presented now like the current push for more speed cameras by writing to Nolan/Gianaris?

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A Woodsider

If bicycle riders had to pay same fees as drivers, extra money would be available. License, license plates and insurance should be required for all motorized and non motorized bicycles! Share the roads, share the responsibility!

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Jay

A Woodsider and others,
Please research how roads road repairs are funded before posting. Thanks

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Carbie Barbie

Where do we draw the line? Scooters? Skateboards? Wheelchairs? Those Wheelie-shoes? Ox-drawn carts? Chariots? Stagecoaches?

What about all those catamarans sailing down our streets!?!?

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Nomenclature

No one said it was illegal, but most people think it is nasty as hell to do such a thing in a civil, reasonable disagreement. TA. Folks are losing all credibility here. I had some sympathy before, but absolutely zero now. From the discourse here it seems you are are all nasty, self-righteous zealots.

Futurama

License, license plates and insurance should be required for all motorized and non motorized bicycles? What planet are you from? Without incentives I might as well go buy a Humpvee and be the guy who diagonally cut across traffic and steal your spot while you’re backing up to it.

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Sally G

Oh please! All of his thinking and decisions for the next three and a half years will be based on what is best for him in the Queens Borough President Election!

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