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DOT to Start Construction of Bike Boulevard in Sunnyside in September

39th Avenue (Photo: Instagram @swopenstreets)

Aug. 31, 2021 By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation announced today that it will start construction on its 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard in Sunnyside in September.

The installation of the bike boulevard will bring significant change to portions of 39th Avenue and Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside.

The plan involves converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones in order to create space for a protected bicycle lane and other traffic-calming measures.

The plan received the backing of Community Board 2 in June and has the support of Council Member Van Bramer.

Advocates for the bike boulevard say it will increase traffic safety, while provide a key bike connection from Jackson Heights to Sunnyside. It also comes at a time when Citi Bike is about to expand into Sunnyside.

The avenue is one of five stretches across the city that will be transformed into a bike boulevard by the end of the year. The DOT plans to create one bike boulevard per borough.

Part of the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plan includes converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones (DOT presentation)

The 39th Avenue plan is complex and will bring significant change.

The DOT will be converting 39th Avenue between 45th and 47th streets (currently two-way) into a one-way street going west. It will also be converting Barnett Avenue—between 45th and 48th streets—into a one-way street going east. Currently that section of Barnett Avenue is a narrow two-way street.

In addition, the DOT will convert 39th Avenue from Woodside Avenue to 52nd Street into a one-way zone—west bound.

The DOT plans to add a series of crosswalks and bring other pedestrian safety features such as curb extensions to 39th and Barnett avenues. The agency says that the changes will lead to a reduction in speeding, thereby making the roadway more safe.

“This is all about traffic calming,” said Craig Baerwald, operations manager for the bike unit at DOT, who presented the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plans before CB2 via Zoom in June. “It makes it safer to bike but also makes it safer to walk and drive as well.”

The DOT at the June meeting said no parking spaces would be lost through the change.

The bike boulevard concept is an outgrowth of the Open Street program—a program that was created in 2020 soon after the outbreak of the pandemic.

The City converted 39th Avenue, from 45th Street to Woodside Avenue, to an “Open Street” last year. The avenue is currently closed to through traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on most days.

To see the plan, click here.

Part of the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plan includes converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones (DOT presentation)

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65 Comments

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Tom from Woodside

Now that the new traffic patterns are in place, I have to say this is the most asinine plan that the DOT has implemented in the city thus far. I cannot imagine the complaints won’t come pouring in from the local residents who are going to find themselves driving halfway around the neighborhood in order to circle one block. In particular, the intersection at 50th Street which forces westbound traffic to Barnett Avenue and eastbound traffic up to 43rd Avenue, makes local trips through the neighborhood a nightmare. If the city was dead set on a bike boulevard, it should have done so on Barnett Avenue and left the traffic on 39th alone. Mark my words, this will not stand and by spring the bike boulevard will be gone (and Jimmy Van Bramer, too).

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Blackfootlion

Stop the Hate obviously can not bear to admit he or she is in the minority of people in Queens who support bike lanes taking over some neighborhoods as they have in Sunnyside Gardens. I got a message from a fireman who completely agreed that their placement here obstructs the department from arriving in the best possible time. But Stop the Hate is blind and deaf Romany truths he or she or, hey, they, want to ignore. Just saying I’m won’t need insulting me, does not make it so, it just muddies the discussion. It is a tool of a gutter fighter and the intellectually dishonest. I’m not wasting anymore time on this discussion. When you argue with fools they drgypu down to their level and beat you with experience.

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Stop the hate

Blackfootlion, you make a lot of assumptions about me and present yourself as an elder with a doctorate level intellect only to revert to type here. If you would look out the window over the community you have turned against, you would see you have lost your war decisively. It is heartbreaking that you do not want to stop the hate against your neighbors. You are right about arguing with fools though, which is why Patricia’s lies are not worth arguing with on their merits because they have none! It’s time to stop. Stop being a bad neighbor. Stop the hate.

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Blackfootlion

Again, you use someone’s name but not your own. are you dear?

And, please, Stop your blather! You’ve become a bore.

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Blackfootlion

The woman you persistently disparage without revealing your own identity, coward, has many, many, more supporters than you think. They are just not as vocal as those who’ve sipped your Koolaide. But they are stirring to life now.

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Gardens Watcher

There was serious flooding at the intersection of 45th Street & 39th Avenue during the remnants of Ida. Lots of sewer backup to basements of nearby residents. That needs to be factored into any street redo ASAP.

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SunnysideJake

Anybody that says they see few people use the bike lanes is lying. This is a major thoroughfare for those that live out in queens to get to work in the city or elsewhere without getting gouged by MTA mismanagement.

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Blackfootlion

Your words are very harsh. I don’t see anywhere near enough bike traffic to warrant the major interference cyclists declare necessary. I live on 39th Ave and have for more decades than you have been alive, I’ll warrant,

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You know this, you're just talking sht

LOVE the comments that suggest that FDNY won’t be able to travel in both directions.

Do you know who won’t be able to travel any which way at a whim? Mom, returning from the 2,000 feet drive to PS11. Minivan Mom will have to adhere to the posted traffic directions.

The fire trucks can travel in whatever manner than need to. In fact, fire trucks will better negotiate this avenue due to the lower volume from the usual speeding and reckless private and for-hire motorists.

Do people think a fire truck or first responder will see a One Way and think, Welp, can’t go that way. No, EMS travels in whatever direction where ever whenever they need.

I thought this borough had tons of civil servant families that should know this shit….

Come on, you’re smarter than this.

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Tom from Woodside

You’re an idiot. The protected bicycle lanes on Skillman have already caused major headaches for emergency vehicles. Moving the parking lane away from the sidewalk significantly narrows the traffic lane, making turning a problem for any long vehicle, but in particular an FDNY ladder truck. I want you to tell me how the fire truck is supposed to reach any of the blocks to the north and east of Woodside Avenue without barreling down 39th in the wrong direction to the east of 52nd Street, risking a head-on collision with oncoming traffic since there will only be one lane?

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Mr I HATENY

This city is definitely losing focus – bike lanes bike lanes bike lanes and MTA always needing money – they are in fact receiving BILLIONS of government aid and yet they still want more money from congestion pricing??? I am so DONE with NYC thinking they can be like other states with their “go green” BS

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Gardens Watcher

I hope this works. Still not clear on how fire trucks and other large trucks are going to navigate the sharp turns and get down Barnett west of 45th Street.

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Woodside Resident

I’m sure FDNY was consulted, just like with the Skillman lanes. But if it’s an issue, they should just remove some of the parking. It’s always parked vehicles and/or motor vehicle traffic that actually slows down emergency vehicles, after all. I’ve never seen a fire truck or ambulance stuck behind a bicycle. If we’re serious about emergency response times, we should be doing everything we can to have fewer cars and trucks on the streets.

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They weren't before

When the bike lanes were first fine on Skillman. The crashes that were reported from fresh and save on 51street!

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JD

I’m not necessarily against the bike lanes but I want our elected officials to be honest about why they’re pushing them. The real purpose of the bike lanes is to enable NYC’s population and thus municipal tax revenues to swell. This will allow the politicians to pay for their bloated bureaucracy – public employee pay and benefits, pensions, school construction, after school programs, homelessness initiatives, etc.

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Confused

How do you think that works? “Oh look, a bike lane near my building. I think I’ll have three kids now”

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JD

Thank you Confused for the lighthearted reply. Allow me to elucidate. More people equals more money for government – I think that’s self explanatory. How do I know the politicians want more people in this city? One and two family homes on residential streets being torn down in favor of new six or eight unit homes on the same footprint. The veritable skyscrapers in Queens Plaza, Court Square and beyond. Scaffolding all across NYC. Does any of this sound familiar Confused? Rest assured the politicians want more people. Think a city of 10, 12, 14 million people, perhaps more. If all these people are driving around in their own automobile – it will be gridlock, it will be chaos, it won’t be possible. So the politicians need a way to discourage automobile ownership in NYC as the population rises. You guessed it, this is where the bike lanes come in. In all my years, I have never seen traffic on Skillman Ave as snarled as its been since the introduction of the bike lane. I’m not saying it’s horrendous 24/7 but it’s a night and day difference to what it was previously – before the bike lane. Having said this, the snarled traffic is exactly what the politicians want – it will enable a much higher population which will result in much higher tax revenues so they can grow government and grow their own power.

Now are you a little less Confused?

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Your conspiracy theory is flawed

JD- You missed a big element at work in NYC’s over development and not included in your conspiracy theory, “Demand” there is obviously demand for more housing which is outstripping demand for single family homes. Politicians are reacting to demand not just decreeing let there be more housing so I could have more power. Hahaha

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JD

Thank you for your reply. You made a really good point about demand for housing. There’s no question demand for housing in NYC is very high. My concern is our infrastructure – roads, bridges, sewers, public transportation, etc – can only take so much more demand.

Additionally, I don’t think asking for honesty from our elected officials makes me a conspiracy theorist. We need leaders who will tell us the truth even when it’s politically difficult.

Tom from Woodside

As someone who grew up on 51st Street, I can tell you that the new one-way sections of 39th Avenue are going to make it impossible for the fire engine and ladder company located south of Skillman Avenue to reach certain destinations to the north or east of 39th Avenue. Hopefully no lives will be lost due to the additional time it will take them to respond in an emergency.

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Stop the hate

Commenters JUMPED at the opportunity to counter the disinformation in Marvin Jeffcoat’s op-ed. Can we do the same to counter the anti-bike lane disinformation campaign known as Queens Streets for All? After a near physical assault, I will start.

QS4A-Patricia Dorfman keeps on spouting the same old disinformation she’s done for years. Despite the low engagement it DOES HAVE real world consequences. Last weekend a maskless neighbor got in the elevator with me as I brought my bike down for the 5boro bike tour and berated me saying I would be at fault if the building burns down because of “these [email protected]#$ing bike lanes.” When I asked where they got this ridiculous talking point, they proudly replied that they saw it on Small Town Confidential. If I had rightly said it is not a legitimate source, I may well have gotten sucker punched. I looked it up by the way it appears to have been your ridiculous August 14th opinion piece, which no reputable news publication would have seen fit to print.

Patricia Dorfman: please stop spreading this and other lies about fire safety and the efficacy of life saving street redesigns! It is sickening and the threat of real world violence against cyclists as a result of your words should weigh more much more heavily on your conscience than the what-ifs and hypotheticals you throw out as negatives. And it’s not just bike lanes! You also seem to be spreading lies to NYCHA residents and not taking the hint that you might not be welcome there either.

If you consider yourself a good person, then ask yourself why you are actively spreading lies and fomenting hatred towards your neighbors, and just stop! Years later, we, your more numerous neighbors, the ones who campaigned for bike lanes, the ones who vote in candidates you don’t like, are just asking you to stop. Stop the hate!

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BLackfootlion

How dare you launch a persona attack like that? Many, many people see the issue exactly the way Ms.Dorfman does and honor her for her courage and dedication to speaking the truth. You have been duped. Your 100% lack of consideration for people who believe differently is an appalling feature of the bike community. And by the way, your martyred posture holds no water here. I’ve been shouted at and insulted more than once, even called a lazy, death-loving dinosaur by one of the ultra zealots on your side of the issue. I feel physically threatened when cyclists ignoring all norms of street travel come out of nowhere and force me to break hastily. One even dented my car when he kicked it as he passed by my stopped car. This is a war you and your co-religionists started. Nothing like this ever happened in my 50 years of driving. Please. Enough. And if you are going to attack someone by name, have the dignity to use your own. Disgusting.

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Blackfootlion

Many, many, many people disagree wholeheartedly with your view. A great way to travel from Jackson Heights to Sunnyside runs right under the el, Roosevelt Avenue. It won’t disturb thousands of people who would rather not have scofflaw cyclists all over the place. It used to be that anyone crushing someone else’s reputation must have the courage to name themselves. Seems younger generations consider their methods superior to conventions developed over centuries of human experience. I guess that’s gone the way of the dodo, to.

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I. Amy Wright

Please state specifically exactly what Ms. Dorfman is lying about. Also, since you used her name, you should also use yours.

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Stop the hate

Ms. Wright, I refer to the Op-Ed she wrote on 8/14 “Quick Fix for Fire Safety” where Patricia repeats the lie that fire trucks cannot make the left on 51st due to the bike lanes. This deliberate disinformation literally tries to make the long lost debate over the north side bike lanes into one of bike safety vs. fire safety for people who don’t want to “burn up.” This is absolutely disgusting straw man garbage and elicits the kind of ignorant violence of my neighbor and the “blackfootlion” barking more like a small dog in these comments. It’s enough. There is no war: it’s over and the bikes have won! Time to stop the lies and stop the hate.

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I Amy Wright

Thank you for responding. Everyone would take you more seriously if you calmed down. I’ll notify Ms. Dorfman of your one objection to her stance so she can respond. However, she, I and many others will still cite you for lack of integrity because you cower behind a pseudonym while defaming a woman who has so many years of service to the neighborhood in many capacities They are too long to cite here.

As far as the “war” being over, no. Transportation Alternatives sent foolish cyclists out with such offensive arguments and underhanded tactics they created enemies out of people who had been primed to cooperate. Cyclists ride through a populace that disdains and resents them. Any backlash is from your groups actions, if there is hate it came from your group and May we’ll be making its way back home to it.

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Stop the hate

Thank you! To be clear -I am very calmly objecting not to just the one lie, but the entirety of Queens Streets for All. The cumulative effect of years of repeating lies has created a culture of hatred that is far from its intended purpose and trickles down to drunks like my neighbor and halfwits like “blackfootlion” who religiously buy into her nonsense. I am sure Patricia is a lovely person and will understand that the results of her behaviornhave real world consequences. I hope that the 3-4 times a year I dress as a biker do not lead to the same kind of discrimination and emboldened hatred after she takes the page down. Thank you so much for helping stop the hate!

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blackfootlion

Your tone reveals the depth of animus you have for those who do not like the neighborhood being cut to ribbons on every road between Queens and Northern Blvds. You boil over with fear and irritation because you refuse to take in all the evidence laid before you by people with as much vision and energy as you, but with far greater experience. It is you who yap ineffectively like an irate tiny toy poodle denied his favorite treat. Go sit in your corner and calm yourself down. You make people tired.

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Blackfootlion

Stop the Hate. Again, While no one is perfect, Ms. Dorfman is a careful to check her facts before she writes anything. She does not foment hate, she expresses the fears and frustrations many, many, many people in the community have about the intrusion of bike lanes and the ham-handed, tone-deaf, fevered-pitch way the representatives of TA blindsided and purposefully drowned out the community’s voice in every forum. They brought trained soldiers to aggressively interrupt and out shout people at our community board meetings, they interfered in hyper-local discussions from far outside the neighborhood, they used very dismissive and insulting language in response to every honest concern we had. And you continue in this vein. People who have lived here all their lives feel so alienated from a previously strong community, they feel lost and alone in a place that had long been home. If I could afford to,ove, I certainly would. Your presence is a constant irritation. Your methods resemble those of tyrants. Your rhetoric is just plain ugly. So, think harder bout where the hate originated. It wasn’t here until people who think as you do arrived. And by the way my IQ is far above average, I have a history of contributing to this community that goes back three generations, and I speak and write in a way that has been quantified as “doctorate level.” You prove my point every time you refer to me in a demeaning manner, the anger and hatred come from your side.

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Stop the hate

Blackfootlion, in response to your first attempt at a reasonably worded comment dated 9/10 (certainly not the 9/8 ad hominem). I do apologize for insulting your intelligence and feel genuinely sorry for the raw vulnerability you express as a result of losing the argument over the bike lanes. I invite you, as compassionately as sternly, to consider the plain reality that you are utterly wrong about the source of the continuing anger and hatred towards cyclists in our community. Consider that QS4A was formed to directly counter your neighbors’ successful organizing for bike lanes by trying unsuccessfully to label them as malevolent outsiders, or as “trained soldiers” and a “constant irritation” as you say. Consider Ms. Wright’s stubborn admission that there is still a war against “foolish cyclists” by people who “resent and disdain” them as they ride through the neighborhood. Whether or not you choose to accept it, and in spite of the attempts to keep the torch lit by gaslighting, the war QS4A started is over.

My recommendation to you personally is to move past your bitterness and to become involved in the community in a positive way. If it weren’t for people like you and Ms. Dorfman, this community would not be where it is today. But it still hurts from the pain, division, and hatred QS4A has sown. The community misses your positive energy and the community can forgive the transgressions of the last several years where you went bizarrely astray. Let it go and get back to building bona fides and you’ll see that they can be used as more than a crutch to hang losing arguments off of. It’s time, past time, to stop the war, stop the resentment, and stop the hate.

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Blackfootlion

Stop the hate. You continue to insult and snidely disparage those who disagree with you. It’s very poor form. You continue to turn a deaf ear to the truth of your opponents’s views.

Contrary with what you seem to believe, no one here asked to become a major thoroughfare for bicycles. Thousands and thousands of us exist outside of your circle of believers. Thousands never read Queens Streets for All. Thousands never interact with official leadership in this neighborhood. In fact many rue the day we came up on politicians’ radar screens at all for the pols seem to have thought that because we were less wealthy than other neighborhoods we wanted a makeover. We didn’t. A brush up, some support would have hibernate welcome, but things were running just fine.

The pols duped us by being very discrete about their long-term plans. They didn’t let us in on their vision until it was too late to participate in it. The pols, whom we donated to and believed in, were turncoats of the vilest sort. By the end it was clear that they intended to wipe out every grassroots activity that existed before they arrived. Someone said they learned that one of our leaders said, roughly speaking, “Nothing happens here unless I want it to happen.” Chilling. One of our leaders spread the word that a particular person was “evil,” but he was talking to people who well knew the subject of his gossip to have a long record of good works. No one disagreed to his face, of course, but many people reported the slander to the object of it, shaking their heads.

We lived full, completely satisfying self-directed lives well outside your frame of reference. Many liked it much better before the raft of changes gentrification brought. We were self-organized, cooperative self-directed adults. We weren’t ever forced to fall in line with a plan no one here dreamed up or wanted. We had our own vision for the future and knew how we wanted to fulfill it.

I personally know one person who was very active in the community and served it because it is his home who suddenly bought a house in Pennsylvania because he felt roughly discarded. Another woman who lived all of her 70 plus years on the same block and served on the same local boards her parents did is so alienated by gentrification and despises the “ stupid bike lanes” she and her husband and grown daughters are looking for a place in North Carolina. Neither of them interact with local governing bodies or read Queens Streets for All. So your insistence that a self-published information source is responsible for the “hate” you see is incorrect.

The one person who you disparage for his use of alcohol and for reading Facebook posts you disagree with is hardly enough evidence to post a slanderous, libelous screed against a widely valued member of this community. You verge on wanting to rob the writer of freedom of speech, which would put you in a very low rank of American patriots indeed.

Please see outside your bubble. The changes deeply hurt people. They can’t function comfortably here anymore and it breaks their hearts. They are highly unlikely to join the efforts of those who alienated them in the first place.

Also, please stop using a demeaning tone in your communications with me. It is disrespectful and serves to undermine your arguments. It ill becomes any serious adult.

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Stop the hate

Blackfootlion, I think what we have here goes much further than a mere disagreement over bike lanes. Thank you for sharing some of your lived experience, which is certainly different and a lot more heartbreaking than mine. My recommendation to re-engage with the community is completely sincere. People can put aside their differences. It is not too late.

Knowing more fully what drives your beliefs, I realize arguing point by point won’t help, so let’s just imagine a reality where you are 100% correct about everything you said. Please consider that the continuance of the online campaign is only serving to memorialize the hurtful, unjustified, and cruel abandonment by the political establishment. But if the result of the online campaign is the widespread hatred of a large number of neighborhood residents then stopping the hate is not libelous slander or an infringement on anyone’s first amendment rights, it’s just the right thing to do.

QS4A certainly did not originate the offline hatred towards cyclists, but it did serve cynically to organize it, catalyze it into a bitterly lost war, and as long as it continues posting online it certainly foments it. I do not mean to diminish what you have gone through nor insult you by pointing out that you are in the wrong -because I would say the same thing even if you were right! It’s time to stop the hate!

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Concerned Citizen

This is not okay. Cars belong on the streets. We are not a European country. We were built with cars in mind hence every street should cater to that.

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Dietmar Detering

For motorized traffic, the intersections of 39th Ave with Barnett Ave, 48th ST, and Woodside Ave, and also the intersection of Barnett Ave with 48th ST, are quite complex and prone to misunderstandings. I sense that overall safety will be improved by these simplifications.

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Anonymous

This is the worst. A complete waste of tax dollars to only benefit the few. How about investing in social programs or outreach programs or better yet better housing. But no lets build a “bike boulevard” for the hipsters of sunnyside bunch of pansy people. Not surprised that clown of JVB supported this can’t this guy just leave yet, sellout. Thank god he won’t be representing the beautiful people of queens.

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43rd&43rd

If you use homophobic slurs to hate your neighbors, you certainly aren’t one of the “beautiful people of Queens.”

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Woodside Resident

You know what’s a complete waste of tax dollars? The nearly 3 million on-street parking spaces in NYC, the vast majority of which are free for car owners to use. In a city where most families don’t even own a car, this is an insane handout to the people who use the most dangerous, environmentally damaging form of transportation in our city.

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Tom from Woodside

Street parking spaces are not free. Car owners pay license and inspection fees, registration fees, a significant gasoline tax, tolls, insurance, and numerous other surcharges that all go into the coffers of the city and state. (Not to mention the ticket income from parking and moving violations.)

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for real

Car owners pay license and inspection fees, registration fees

What’s that … a combined 80 bucks

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Tom from Woodside

All those items I mentioned add up to a helluva lot more than 80 bucks per year. But even if that’s all it was, that’s still $80 MORE than any bicyclist pays for their share of all these roads that now have dedicated bicycle lanes.

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Blackfootlion

And we support innumerable small businesses connected with the upkeep of our chosen means of transportation. Also, how many people do you see shopping in the rash of big box stores the city has reasoned for who do not have an auto to bring it home, whether private or for hire? People in cars contribute huge amounts to the economic life of this expansive city whether you like it or not.

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rikki

Keep it on the north side, dont spoil our southside hood, we need the street parking coming in late at night from our jobs.

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jerry collins

“This is all about traffic calming”. What calming? The traffic is already “calm”. I drive these streets all the time and they are the calmest streets I’ve ever driven on in NYC. It wasn’t broke. Why fix it?

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Blackfootlion

Because they are lying. Their goal is to get many more people in NY without improving public transportation. It’s all driven by REBNY and the politicians they own. It’s about them getting rich. Nothing more.

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Dfjfk

As a cyclist, I will not ride any of these stupid ‘bike lanes’. They are too narrow. I ride at speeds where the 25mph city speed limit lends me to blend into traffic better in normal traffic lanes, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I am not Chuck Schumer, and I ride bicycles. And Everything DiBlasio does is ruining the city.

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Sara Ross

I live near Queens Blvd. and I drove from the exit of the 59th St. bridge to Jamaica and if I saw 5 bicyclists in bike lanes, it was a lot! NYC is a walking and driving city and bicyclists pay NOTHING to ride the roads – no license plate, no inspection or registration, don’t pay for parking, can go through red lights and stop signs and don’t get ticketed and can drive recklessly and the drivers get blamed if the bikers get hurt.

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43rd&43rd

Agreed. Renaming the subway stops was cute. This NIMBY nonsense that drives neighbors to hate each other is not cute or fun, it’s divisive and terrible for the neighborhood. Patricia Dorfman, you are ill-informed and harming people.

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I Amy Wright

Use your own name if you are going to libel someone. If not, you have proved yourself a coward.

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Mixie

Try this: Stand on the sidewalk next to the Skillman bike lane and count how many bikes/scooters, etc. using the lanes in a 15 minute period during a.m. rush hour. Be honest. Count them and tell us what you find.

I bet you wont’ do it. You won’t like what you see: Many, many people use those lanes every day. And the numbers are growing. This is good for the neighborhood, city and planet.

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Gail

Too bad sunnyside doesn’t have Citibank to use these lanes. That would be a huge plus.
Be on the look out for a photo op of jvb with the paint crews.

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Tom from Woodside

Thankfully, JVB’s political career is finally at its well-deserved end. He can go back to stacking books on the shelves of his leaking boondoggle LIC library branch.

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DB

Just throwing this out there – the term “bike boulevard” makes it sound like it’s a giant road just for bikes and nothing else. All that’s happening is that a slip lane is being removed and a bike lane added.

Slip lanes are dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists so this is a positive. I look forward to visiting Sunnyside more often now.

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