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DOT to Begin Work on Skillman/43rd Ave. Redesign Next Month, Completion Set For Fall

A rendering showing what 48th Street and Skillman Ave. will look like with the redesign in place. (DOT)

July 18, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The Department of Transportation said it will begin construction on its Skillman and 43rd Avenues project in August, and is expecting to wrap up work some time in the fall.

The street safety improvement project, which went through three iterations and continues to be the subject of much controversy in Sunnyside, includes the installation of protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands, some travel lane losses, and the elimination of a combined 116 parking spaces through a roughly 25 block section of the avenues.

“DOT’s safety redesign to calm traffic on Skillman and 43rd Avenues will provide shorter and safer pedestrian crossings by installing painted pedestrian refuge islands, as well as upgraded bike routes to improve safety and mobility for cyclists commuting between Queens Boulevard and the Queensboro and Pulaski Bridges,” a DOT spokesperson said in a statement.

The DOT did not specify when exactly it plans on beginning work through the two avenues, nor did it respond to questions on the construction process, including potential street closures and repaving.

The project was given the green light by mayor Bill de Blasio just last week, who said he instructed the agency to “move forward with pedestrian safety and protected bike lanes that will save lives.”

The mayor’s go-ahead also came weeks after Community Board 2 said no to the DOT’s plan.

Opponents of the plan have claimed, since the original version was released in November, that the elimination of 116 parking spaces will make a bad parking situation in the neighborhood worse.

A multitude of business owners also believe that the loss of about two to four parking spaces per block will wreak havoc on profits. Meanwhile, those that support the plan see it as enhancing safety for everyone, with parking loss as a necessary trade off.

The DOT did not say whether it will keep track of business performance after the project is implemented. The agency, however, said it would be conducting post-implementation analysis, including gathering traffic data and community feedback, as it does in all its projects.

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81 Comments

ray s.

a cyclist almost hit my wife while he was going against traffic and he had the audacity to tell us to look both ways on a one way lane. Not many cyclist know the rules or care to know and follow the rules of biking in nyc. Sure make the bike lane. Yeah, you can change the environment but you cant change the people. the cyclist must be kept in check and held accountable. Cars are regulated but will they ever regulate the cyclist? JVB is not reliable de blasio obviously not reliable.

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Lionel Q Devereaux

Why do we have a community board? Why do we need a community board? Apparently, De Blasio can give the community board (and the community) the finger and do whatever he wants. Has De Blasio ever been to Sunnyside? Has he gone down Skillman Avenue? Skillman Avenue is perfect as it is. It’s not Queens Blvd. It does not to be changed by DOT, doesn’t need protected bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, and all the other crap DOT wants to install. Where is Van Bramer in all this? He supposedly represents our community. Why can’t he do something? He takes pictures for all the inane things that he supports. Time for some civil unrest. Time to tell De Blasio to go screw up some other community, that we the residents of Sunnyside are fine with Skillman Avenue just the way it is. Time for the community board to grow a pair and sue De Blasio to stop this. It’s our community, let’s not let De Blasio ruin it!

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Bix Beiderbecke

Very good question.

Our community boards have been in place since the late 1960s. A few even have some of their original members, now in their 90s. These unelected boards have come under increased criticism over the years as the city has changed and as board members, who rarely turn over, have become less and less representative of their communities.

This comes as no surprise as the boards were formed in reaction to urban renewal, highway construction, and removal of municipal services, etc. These were negative changes in leaner fiscal times. Community boards were literally designed to help neighborhoods organize against change. We are now in a period of our city’s history where change is both unstoppable and necessary.

Community boards should be reformed to encourage positive progress, with this plan being a prime example, and should be pro-actively planning rather than negatively reacting. Reform is on the horizon.

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Aaron

I live on Skillman and I’m happy the bike lanes are being shifted over and will protect cyclists.

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Amy

Where is Van Bramer you ask? Playing all sides on this one. I am with you, but it is all the Mayor’s fault, but I will help with the implementation. I form protests when I don’t get my way on everything, but I tweet that I support the Mayor in his decision with no complaints to the Mayor. He is all about his next election to Queens Borough President. Sunnyside voters will not be useful until he wants to publicize what he does for the people he represents in his Borough-wide campaign.

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Well y'all voted for him

Well y’all voted for him. so stop the belly aching. just like you voted for that other fool from the south bronx who can’t get out of her own way.

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Eduardo

You can include the decline of small business entrepreneurs that need vehicles. It’ll deter actual mom and pops from opening, a major downside to these lanes. Though I agree with clean transportation and safer streets, there has to be more responsible locations for protected lanes. Your “human-friendlier” streets will be graced with chipotles, staples & Starbucks. Small businesses need deliveries and some need customer parking.

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Eurozone

Or cities and communities can do both. Provide safety improvements as well as accommodate business’s with their needs such as loading zones & metered parking.

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J murray

If you think parking and bikes are the reason retail is declining, you’ve already lost.

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michael buoni

Okay but there is more to nyc than the city limits and some people work in the suburbs.

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Howard brickman

We need to protest this new development so that when they come to work we stop them from dong it/// we need to get permit parking in our area asap… need to form a group I called up nolan office and cb2 to get a plan together need help reach out to [email protected] we need pemit parking I have a great plan

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Greg

Yeah Howard, We can’t have anybody dong’in it in this neighborhood. No ding’in either. You go buddy, work that AOL email address!

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Axel Hobbord

Another great way to protest is everyone not pay NYC tax. F them! Keep the rewards of your labor for someone doing a good job!

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SCG

Seems like the pedestrian plazas are the real problem regarding parking not the bike lanes and the plazas don’t look safe.

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John O'Reilly

This is the first time in a decade that a municipal project in Sunnyside was announced without a picture of Jimmy Van Bramer standing behind his pop-up podium. Things really have changed in Sunnyside.

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Constantinides for Queens Borough President

This is all on Jimmy Van Bramer. These are his protected lanes. Spineless coward. Let him know how you feel the next time you see him walking in Sunnyside.

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LIC Neighbor

Same way JVB screwed us over on the other side of the Blvd, not standing up against the homeless hotel shelters, sold his soul to the highest bidder and special interests – just remember all of this next time you vote. Seems he screwed over Joe Crowley by siding with Ocasio after she won the democratic primary and Gov.Coumo is pretty ticked off when he endorsed Cynthia Nixon. Crowley is still on the ballot for the working families party, seems he will make a push to go against Ocasio anyway and not drop his name from the ballot – they will claim she is unprepared for the job and too much to the left and anti-Israel, Joe Lieberman already endorsing Crowley. Crowley will run, might win and remember the Jimmy Van Bramer betrayal — Jimmy will be on Joe’s poop list for sure. JIMMY IS SUCH AWEASEL!

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m Cassie

actual shelters have been kicked down the road because no neighborhood, including sunnyside, won’t allow them. what is he supposed to do, tell hotels to discriminate from who stays in them?

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Amy

Losing two lanes of traffic for one bike lane. Just brilliant. You can not make this plan up to win over the neighborhood residents. The Mayor is more similiar to Trump’s abilities than he believes he is.

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Amy

J.T, have you read the article and picture? It states that in some areas on Skillman Avenue it would be a single lane. The caption states, ” Maintain two travel lanes in MAJORITY of corridors.” The picture shows one lane heading towards 48th Street. After 48th Street it will be two. Thus, it is factual information and not misinformation.

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Waiting to get richer

Parking spots for rent. $150 going to $500 a spot . Call now. 212-555-5555

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Frustrated car owner in sunnyside

What are the film makers going to do? How will they park are all their trucks when filming. I guess they’ll go on using whatever parking places are left. How will they make up for the money they make on parking Meters and parking tickets.

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Emily P

Those pedestrian islands are not safe! Standing on one your child is only 1 step away from a disaster with a car. Where as just standing on the sidewalk you had the parked car distance before the on coming vehicles. God for bid your toddler took those steps into the street you were able to grab her, now, with those islands.. please just be very careful with your kids.

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Me

I agree, if they want to make them safe, they should be real sidewalk not just painted lines. They can make a little area where bikes can ride and then a pedestrian island after that, but not just paint, no way I would not be standing there to wait for light to turn, most intersections in sunnyside are dangerous already.

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Tony

Do they know the traffic tie-ups moving from single to double lanes throughout the avenue with everyone merging and changing lanes. Look closely at the photograph. From 49th to 48th streets one lane then at 48 Street to 47th Street it is two lanes. Cars will cut to the right in the middle of 48th street flying past the pedestrians waiting to get into the newly opened lane. Have two lanes throughout the avenues. That is how most traffic accidents happen for cars and cars being pushed into pedestrians who are standing in the painted areas in the street Mr. Mayor and Mr. Councilman!

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Amy

Now with the bike lanes on Skillman Avenue and 43rd Avenue. Remove the non-designated bike lane on 39th Avenue. It is too narrow and very dangerous for cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

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Amy

I mean the painted on symbols and the signs designating 39th Avenue as a bike lane to the city and back should be removed and not a route anymore.

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George

Skillman should be single lane, bike lane or no. No reason for 2 lanes on this low-traffic street.

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Stacy

This is an alternate route to the 59th Street Bridge, avoiding Queens Blvd. Have you seen Skillman Ave during morning rush hour?

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George

I see it every morning as I walk to the subway, or as I’m cycling to work (obeying traffic laws, and nearly getting hit by someone who isn’t using their signal at least a few times a week) … there’s hardly any “traffic” so to speak … maybe 10 cars at a light maximum. They’re racing each other and changing lanes, just to stop at the next intersection. The only problem area is the intersection of Queens Blvd and Skillman where people are turning to get on to the bridge.

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Theorem Ox

“Fly past” is the best case scenario.

I fear there will be an uptick in collisions with the NYCDOT’s proposed designs – either between vehicles or between vehicles and pedestrians. There’s little doubt that there will be drivers caught off guard by the sudden disappearance of their lane resulting in hard merges to the adjacent lane or some overrunning the pedestrian island.

(With the NYCDOT’s predilection of littering the streets with extraneous signage and road markings lately, even generally attentive drivers are bound to slip)

It was pretty clear to me from the onset that safety is an afterthought for this particular endeavor. Marginal increase of protection for bicyclists (though ironically enough it still doesn’t address the cause célèbre – the at-grade crossing), marginal decrease of protection for pedestrians (who now face at least one new hazard that didn’t previously exist) and a huge increase in collision risks for motor vehicles drivers. And that’s considered an “improvement” in de Blasio’s New York.

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velvetknight

These types of redesigns have been done all over the city. Have you seen a single study showing your claim is correct? Because all the ones I’ve seen so far have shown a decrease in collisions involving bikes, cars, and pedestrians. Both lethal and non-lethal.

If you have a conflicting study, I’d be interested in seeing it.

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Gardens Watcher

Looks like they have a solid plan there. Results should prove effective. Good news for the neighborhood

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Sunshine

These bikes lanes are part of UN Agenda 21 and its bid for One World government. They make these law under the global warming theme to gain more influence in sovereign nations. DeBlasio is a globalist schill and so is his pet Van Bramer.

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Trebla

It’s worse than One World Government. It’s the Martians who are controlling it all – turns out that they produce most bikes – follow the money.

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Nosepin

Again, with the co-opting other people’s screen names! Big failure of your imagination.

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Annon

It took the DOT an entire year to put a crosswalk in front of PS11 but they’ll have the bike lane finished up in a jiffy.

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Buy a vest and print MTA logo and park on sidewalk.

Make sure to buy a vest and print an mta logo so everyone on 43rd Ave and Skillman Ave can park on the sidewalk. Just look at all the cars parked on the sidewalk on 43rd street by the Budget office and cars parked by 31st street and northern blvd by the nyc transit ventilation complex who don’t feed the meter. It works!!

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E

What joke. No one wanted this yet JVB didnt step up for any of us. Let’s just get rid of all roads and only ride bikes

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Native New Yorker

Hyperbole much? 🙄

Nobody’s taking your car away. Share the road with your fellow New Yorkers. If not, they’ll be forced to drive and you can fume while they sit in front of you and everyone is stuck in traffic.

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bahbahbah

This will make the neighborhood safer for those who use bikes (both kids and adults).

The biggest improvement here is the pedestrian improvements, which is what I’m looking forward to the most.

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Nosepin

You are missing the point. We engaged in extensive democratic processes to come to a conclusion. He is ignoring it. That makes democracy a sham. He was really only using the process to try to persuade us to agree with him, which failed miserably three times. Instead of listening to his constituents, he is listening to his REBNY masters. This makes a mockery of the laws of our nation.

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Nosepin

The Mayor’s office has told people it is keeping a tally of calls for and against this installation. What are they doing that for if this is just going to be shoved down our throats anyway? More “pretend democracy” to keep the masses distracted while our elected tyrants do just as their keepers want them to? This will not be bourn easily by the people of this neighborhood. We are angry as can be.

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Michael Buoni

I love how DeBlasio blasted Trump for being a tyrant! Hypocrite! Will someone organize a protest! I am in

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Epic

Middle of the westbound lane of Queens Blvd at 50th Street. 5pm tomorrow. Come alone, tell no one, we must work in secret. I’ve already said too much.

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Jimmy Van Dreamer

When did taking a train or bus become obsolete?..Why on earth would anyone encourage someone to ride a bicycle in busy Manhattan?..You can travel anywhere in the 5 boroughs with a metro card!!..Ride your bike in a park!!!

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sunnyside optimist

Just an FYI that 1st and 2nd Ave both have separated bike lanes, which make it possible to get almost anywhere in Manhattan safely by bike. To ride on 1st Ave used to require riding between moving lanes of traffic while now it’s more akin to a ride in the park, as you put it. And I can be at work faster than if I were to take the train… good for me and good for you since I’m one less passenger taking up your space. I haven’t noticed that the bike lanes have put anyone on 1st ave out of businesses either. Makes Sunnyside feel a bit like a dinosaur doesn’t it?

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Anon

As a resident of Second Avenue both before and after the protected bike lane, I can tell you it effed up traffic beyond belief. Not as big of a deal because it is a large avenue (unlike Skillman). When it snows, there is no way to plow the protected lane so elderly/disabled can either climb the mountain of ice to get into their car or Access A Ride – or hobble to the corner. By this time, all of you cyclists put your bikes away for the winter and – Oh!! – there you are again!!! A passenger on the same train as the rest of us.

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Michael

Huh? I bike to work in the winter, the bike lanes are always shoveled… at least
between 58th to 4th.

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Anonymous

Honest question Michael. Is the sidewalk on the bridge over the Sunnyside Rail Yards ever cleared in the winter? I walked over it everyday until a few years ago and it was never shoveled or treated for ice. The DOT claimed it was the railroads’ responsibility and the railroads claimed it was the DOT’s.

Native New Yorker

Spoken like someone who never takes the train. How exactly do you plan to cram more people onto the subways? The train yards are at full capacity. There is zero room for more trains during the morning or afternoon rush.

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Trebla

I agree that Mass Transit is the way to go but we just can’t expand the subways fast enough to accommodate the increase in population. Buses are great but again there aren’t enough. Bikes are cheap, clean, and quiet. And most rides in this city are 3 miles or less – easily done on a bike.

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rikki

Wished I’d had my bike this afternoon. 7 trains were stopped for at least an hour. I was on a crammed bus with a lot of other annoyed riders who had to switch. The train service is consistently interrupted.

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velvetknight

Your information is inaccurate. I can bike almost anywhere in Manhattan below 90th street or so as fast, or even faster than the subway (only exception is the 42nd street corridor, because the 7 goes directly there).

And when I commute I’m almost never late for work, unlike with the train where there’s constant delays, breakdowns, sick passengers…

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Theorem Ox

Only in de Blasio’s New York City is reducing infrastructural capacity (on a road that’s reaching capacity during the day no less) as the city population increases considered an “improvement” that “enhances safety.” *chuckle*

P.S.: Probably not a good idea for anybody that’s NOT suicidal and unwilling to play a real life game of Frogger to actually stand in the pedestrian islands – especially on the stretches that will only have one travel lane.

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C. S. Lewis

“Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” The Mayor is a tyrant. There should be a way to stop this! Business owners should unite and do something.

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Native New Yorker

Sorry, C.S. You can’t build a moat around Sunnyside. The neighborhood is not some personal fiefdom for its residents’ use alone.

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Anonymous

Mr. MIA JVB is getting paid well for this. He knew all along what was going to happen.

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Marie J

The councilman has said he will work with the DOE to make sure that it is implemented the best way possible. Please do Sunnyside residents a real favor and stay out if it at this point. It is actually insulting to us how you are playing all sides and think most voters aren’t noticing.

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