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DOT starts work on Phase 2 of Queens Boulevard redesign

PhaseIIQB

July 26, 2016 By Michael Florio

The Department of Transportation started work Monday on its controversial plan to add bicycle lanes and safety features to Queens Blvd between 74th Street and Eliot Ave.

The DOT expects the work on the 1.2 mile stretch to end by early fall.

The revamp is the second phase of the DOT’s plan to reconfigure Queens Boulevard. Phase 1 went through Woodside and was completed last summer. Phase 3 is expected to go from Rego Park to Forest Hills and is slated to be done in 2017.

This overhaul, which cuts through Elmhurst, involves a number of safety features, such as the installation of protected bicycles lanes along the service road medians; the redesign of slip lanes between mainline and service roads; and improved crosswalks.

This short piece of roadway between 74th Street and Eliot Avenue has a history of being hazardous. The DOT presented statistics during the design phase that showed that from 2010 to 2014, there were 777 total injuries and five fatalities.

While the DOT’s redesign plan overall was well received, the bicycle lane component got a very mixed reception.

Community Board 4 approved the plan except for the bicycle lanes by a vote of 31-1, with 2 abstentions at its May meeting.

“I don’t think Queens Boulevard is necessarily the place for a bike lane,” said CB4 Chairman Lou Walker at the time of the vote. “There are other streets where bikes would be a lot safer and in a lot less traffic.”

It’s standard practice for the DOT to adhere to a decision made by a community board.

However, the day after CB4’s vote, Mayor Bill de Blasio overruled the board and announced that the bicycle lanes would be built.

CB4 May meeting

CB4 May meeting

“I respect those who disagree with us, but in the end, the safety of our neighbors and our children is the most fundamental responsibility we have in this work,” de Blasio said in a statement at the time.

His decision caused mixed reactions by local officials. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz strongly disagreed with it on the grounds that it undermined the community.

“Instead of approaching bike lanes in a vacuum and in piece-meal, segmented fashion, the plan should be postponed for now until the agency can produce a truly community-driven, community-generated, borough-wide plan for the future of bike lanes not only along Queens Boulevard but throughout the borough,” Katz said in a statement at the time.

However, Councilman Daniel Dromm, who represents this portion of Queens Blvd, agreed with the mayor.

“We can’t risking having another death on Queens Boulevard,” Dromm said. “Bike lanes are an essential part of this safety plan,” he said in May. “The Mayor was right in moving forward on this plan.”

Queens Blvd 74th Eliot Ave Mar2016 by Queens Post on Scribd

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13 Comments

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Rey Walker

I’m more concerned about all the businesses that will suffer because there will be no more spaces for anyone to park. CB was for the bike lane just not on the queens Blvd. The people who live in the area now will have to deal with all the cars that WILL park in their local area. My son takes a bus near pre school near the 7-11 on queens Blvd and got in an accident because all the cars parked illegally on the side street. We call our councilman Daniel dromm to complain but nothing was done. This will happen when the bike lanes are built on this part of queens Blvd.

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Eurozone

A rail line or select bus service would be a more appropriate and feasible transportation alternative for such an heavily used arterial road. Bike lanes are great but all just a hoax to meet the needs of developers.

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Samuelito

Protected bike lanes meet the needs of the community who doesn’t want to drive and/or is tired of transit, or doesn’t want to/cannot pay for either. They will now feel empowered because they don’t have to ride with stampedes of drivers on said arterial.

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Southside Johnny

I’ve been riding around Sunnyside for more than 20 years. Am I the victim of a hoax?! Now I know. Thanks!

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pwbnyc

Very excited to see this happening. This enables me to bike to work and go shopping in Sunnyside and Woodside by bike. Amazing how grumpy and ignorant people blame bike lanes for congestion. Cars cause congestion – literally. Development keeps growing. You have to give people more transportation options, and cars are the worst way to do it. Bikes, Buses, Trains, taxis, that’s how you get around this City.

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Anonymous

They really need to start some lawsuits against the city. This is not Florida or California whose weather allows for year long bike riding. 4 months out of the year these bike lanes are barely used at all and the amount of bike traffic during season is minimal, hardly worth removing a whole lane.
Those Jews up in Rego Park and Forest Hills are not going to like it one bit and will be much more vocal then Woodside.
Look at the exit lane from main road to service road by 7 eleven and the BQE, it’s almost a complete right turn, it’s not even a merge. One can not even use their mirrors to check for traffic one needs a very flexible neck to check for cars. I swear a 8 year old designed this. Then look they have a traffic light before you get on BQE, huh? There is little to no foot traffic there, the result is 65 place gets all congested so cars coming off the BQE are bottlenecking with those cars trying to get on BQE. The best is the area with the bike traffic light that’s right in mid January when it’s snowing you’ll be waiting for the bike light to change green so you can go. I love watching the delivery trucks in front of DEALS store and everyone fighting to get around them or better yet when the delivery trucks are over by Big Six blocking the road.
It’s a terrible design that was not well thought out and was a knee jerk reaction like Obama when their is a police shooting.
A bus lane would of made much more sense as those express buses and Q60 just crawl down Queens Blvd. while bike lanes sit empty.
Just think a man who is currently under several Federal Investigations for corruption feels he knows best. I just hope our next Mayor will be a little more practical.

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Counterpoint

FYI, there were a total of 9 days last year on which I did not bike to work in Manhattan from Woodside. It keeps my neck flexible. Enjoy your road rage and cervical stenosis, friend.

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Anonymous

According to FDNY EMS the number 1 paramedics call in NYC is bike accidents, luckily you will be next.

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BikerBob

So. . . you have a point? Wait, actually you do. You think we need MORE bike lanes. More bike lanes, less accidents as a result of arrogant, stupid, and selfish fossil fuel burning idjits.

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Samuel

And according to police and city data, it’s the drivers who are doing the killing. 12 out of 14 bike riders were killed by a driver, some intentionally.

So this separation is very much needed and appreciated. And the more of these bike lanes there are, the more people will ride them, because suddenly, there’s much less of street where bikers are unprotected, and people feel safe!

As for everything else, let the anecdote match the analysis.

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me

They will ruin rest of the queens blvd, at least it was moving past where the bile lanes ended, now it will be just like how it is in woodside, traffic, frustration and aggression. This is not benefiting anyone. Terrible design, terrible idea, we barely see any bikes on those lanes, not to mention that gray “pedestrian” area taking up near a lane of traffic. We need more road, not less.

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SuperWittySmitty

I use those bike lanes all the time, and I ride my bike year round, unless there’s snow on the ground. It sure beats walking and I prefer it over the 7 train. You should try it.

We need MORE room for bikes and pedestrians; we’ve been giving away way too much space to cars for 100 years now and the things are changing. You might think that repeating the same tired arguments over and over is relevant but it’s over, Johnny.

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