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DOT Unveils Plans for Permanent Protected Bike Lanes on Northern Boulevard and Broadway

The DOT has released plans to install protected bicycle lanes on Northern Boulevard and Broadway. Above: cyclists riding on a stretch of the Northern Boulevard temporary protected bike lane. The temporary lane is currently separated from motorists by plastic delineators (Photo: DOT).

Feb. 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

The Department of Transportation has unveiled plans to install a permanent two-way protected bike lane along Northern Boulevard that would better connect cyclists in Woodside to the Queensboro Bridge.

The plans, which were presented to Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee Wednesday, would see a permanent two-way bike lane stretch from Northern Boulevard and 41st Avenue in Long Island City–to 60th Street and Broadway in Woodside. There would be one bike lane on each side of the thoroughfare.

The DOT said it wants to make the route safer for riders in order to reduce the number of cyclist fatalities throughout the city.

The plans would essentially see the temporary protected bike on Northern Boulevard – that was put down in September – become permanent with some minor upgrades. The DOT would put down green paint along the bike lane and add markings at intersections along the route.

The most significant changes would be along Broadway where the DOT is looking to convert the curbside vehicle parking lanes into protected bike lanes. Like Northern Boulevard, there would be one lane on each side of the road.

At present along Broadway, a temporary protected bike lane runs between the vehicle parking lane and the main vehicle traffic lane. The new plan would essentially switch the protected bike lane with the vehicle parking lane.

The new Broadway layout would result in the loss of 22 vehicle parking spaces.

Northern Blvd. and Broadway Protected Bike Lane plans (Department of Transportation)

Proposed protected bike lane design for Northern Blvd. (Department of Transportation)

Proposed protected bike lane design for Broadway (Department of Transportation)

The DOT is also proposing to put down turn treatment road markings at busy intersections along Broadway. The markings would slow right-turning vehicles in order to reduce the risk of collisions with cyclists traveling in the same direction. The markings would also enhance pedestrian safety by shortening crossing distances.

The plan, which was also presented to Queens Community Board 2 Transportation Committee on Feb. 2, forms part of a city-wide initiative that was launched in the summer of 2019 that called for an additional 80 miles of protected bike lanes to be completed by the end of 2021.

The city said that between 2007 and 2017 there was a 15 percent drop in all crashes with injuries where protected bike lanes were installed.

However, some CB1 committee members said that the DOT’s proposal doesn’t go far enough in keeping cyclists safe–since the only physical barrier separating cars from bicycles under the plan are spaced out plastic delineators.

Some board members– as well as bicycle advocates– are demanding that jersey barriers be put down to separate the protected bicycle lane from motorists.

Juan Restrepo, Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, said that flexible delineators are merely guidance devices. He said motorists in New York City often encroach onto bike lanes and can end up crashing into cyclists.

“That is a very scary situation for riders,” he said.

He said that Transportation Alternatives favors jersey barriers but the city can still make better use of the flexible delineators if the gaps between them are minimized. He said when they are lined up closely together they deter motorists from encroaching into bike lanes.

Florence Koulouris, Community Board 1 manager, said that committee members were pushing hard for jersey barriers, seeking greater protection for bicyclists.

“Board members were advocating for jersey barriers but the DOT seemed to be leaning toward putting down flexible delineators,” Koulouris said.

The DOT says that it is easier to maintain the protected bicycle lanes when there are plastic delineators. The agency says that jersey barriers restrict the accessibility of sanitation vehicles to clean them.

“We will look into stronger protection, with the constraint being that we need to see that the lane is both plowable and sweepable by the Dept. of Sanitation, or that an alternative cleaning plan is found,” a DOT spokesperson told the Queens Post.

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25 Comments

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Queens Streets for LOL

Remember when I/WE said to put the bike lanes on Northern? Well I/WE weren’t serious, it was all a ruse to prevent DOT and TA from STEALING OUR PARKING, but I/WE will say this, be careful what you wish for. I/WE guess the joke is on ME/US? LOL

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Can we talk about your latest post?

Can we talk about your February 18 post? It’s a picture share of a resident’s fine job parking in a pretty tight spot front of her home.

1. She complains that the parking spot is too small and apologizes to her neighbors for parking too close to their vehicles. Is finding a parking spot in front of your house not enough? Does the space also need to be bigger? Looking outside, I also can see my car from my window and can attest that parking is no worse than pre-bike lane days. I almost always still park on my block.

2. The post also claims incorrectly that 160 parking spaces were removed to install bike lanes. That is a lie! Along Skillman, which is where the photo was taken, the number was closer to 20 over an 18 block stretch. Does Queens Streets endorse this lie? There is no comment or MINI-OP-ED attached to the post clarifying. For what it’s worth, after installation I counted the spaces removed on my block and the two blocks around me. I also counted the amount of spaces left and drew the correct conclusion that the removed spaces were not going to affect me. As a reminder, I still park on my block 90% of the time! I have not once had to park more than one block from home since the bike lanes were installed. I have found parking 100% of the time in no discernible increase of time.

3. What is the point of the 2/18 post, then? As a reminder, the poster posted a picture of her car as seen from her window, complained the space was too small, and lied about the amount spaces taken to install a bike lane. Is the lie the point? Is another excuse to complain about bike lanes because of parking that was largely unaffected for the poster and most drivers in the area -as evidenced by the photo- really worth sharing? Why do you continue to post lies years later?

Before the bike lanes your campaign was effective in scaring me into almost selling my car. Boy am I glad I didn’t listen to you. After the bike lanes were installed and you were proved wrong on almost everything, your lies exposed, it’s sad to see you doubling down and continuing your efforts.

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BKS40

The strongest reason to oppose these plans is that most dedicated bike lanes do not generate enough volume to justify the cost. Even in the warm weather prior to the pandemic, the bike lanes on Skillman Ave and 43rd Ave were not in heavy use even during what would be considered rush hour. It seems the delivery people, whether on motorized or manual bikes, avoid the bike lanes. They are just as likely to be riding down the wrong way in the middle of the road or riding on the sidewalks.
A comprehensive cost benefit analysis should be done and presented to the community before our tax dollars should be spent. If the bike lanes can be justified, then the DOT should proceed. If not, those dollars can be used more efficiently on other much needed projects.

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Is there any reason to believe that?

More than 100,000 Citibike rides a day, which doesn’t include all the other cyclists.

Do you have any statistics, or just pure speculation? Do you know how your delivery food gets to you?

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Mr. Automobile

100,000 Citibikes rides a day mean the entire city, not just Queens. That’s a drop in the bucket. Not all New Yorkers are willing to get on a bike to get to work. The further east you live in Queens , the less likely you are to ride a bike into Manhattan. We have a love affair with cars, get use to it.

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Woodside Resident

Your comment made me curious to see what analysis has been done – just googling it, there are some intersting articles and studies, including one specifically looking at NYC bike lanes by researchers from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Turns out bike lanes are an incredible bargain in terms of safety, promoting exercise, reducing air pollution, etc. And of course there’s the bigger project of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change.

To your point about our local lanes, pre-covid I would always see fellow bike commuters on Skillman in the morning and 43rd in the evening. The numbers had been growing and I’m sure that trend will continue as the bike lane network and Citibike access expands.

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Sunnyside isn't Amsterdam

I’m retired and take my dog for a long walk every morning.We start at 50th St and Skillman Ave down to 43rd St up to 43rd Avenue and back to 50th St. I can tell you that at 7:30 am if I see 6 people using the bike lanes that’s a lot. Forget about when it rains or snows, you don’t see any bikes.

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Amsterdam wasn't always Amsterdam

Amsterdam is what it is today because in the 1970s they consciously shifted away from promoting the use of motor vehicles. They were seeing skyrocketing pollution and deaths due to car accidents, so they designed a better more equitable future by building bike infrastructure and streets more apt for a multitude of users. Change didn’t happen overnight, but we are taking the right steps to make NYC even more of a cycling city. Less need for cars will mean fewer car owners, and more parking for you! Change can be hard, but there is nothing about our bike lanes that isn’t good and no tradeoff that isn’t worth taking!

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Sunnyside isn't Copenhagen

I think we might possible see more cars on the road . Who wants to take public transportation with all the violent crimes being committed under ground.

Woodside Resident

I believe you but there are many folks like me who are not commuting or going out generally right now because of COVID. We also don’t have access to Citibikes yet and they account for a lot of traffic on busier bike lanes in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Regarding your username, it’s interesting that Amsterdam itself wasn’t always “Amsterdam” in this regard. Lots of info on this history online if you’re interested. A good quick overview is the article “How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world” in the Guardian. Point is, New York should emulate the transformations that have made others cities (like Amsterdam) more liveable, sustainable and better for people who walk and bike.

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ABoondy

i’m sure the 3 people that use it will be thrilled. this city is great at wasting taxpayer money. corrupt to the teeth.

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No brainer

That’s an easy one! Protected bike lanes, including those on Skillman and 43rd, reduce the incidence of collisions on our roads by 50%. Considering the cost of deploying first responders alone makes the project pay for itself. The lives and livelihoods saved are certainly worth trading for the parking lost, no matter what a handful of cranks tell you!

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Yes, the NYPD is counting those

What is your point? If you think that more pedestrians are being injured by bikes, you are wrong.

There is a disgraceful disinformation campaign being led by Pat Dorfman (aka Queens Streets for all) claiming crashes have gone up since installation. Do not listen to her!

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Cars cause the vast majority of pedestrian deaths

Are you pretending to care? Great point though–bikes are the LAST thing we need to consider, because cars do almost all of the killing.

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Claire

I live on 43rd Ave and have to disagree with your assessment of the 43rd avenue bike lane usage not being “heavy”. There is steady bike traffic all day well into three in the morning especially restaurant workers.

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Sunnyside isn't Amsterdam

@ Claire Please send a video. I find your comment hard to believe given the fact that many people work from home, people have lost their jobs, and people have left the city. If and when NYC returns to pre-pandemic NY, then maybe we can talk about bike lanes.

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Woodside Resident

Very happy to see these plans but agree with the calls for jersey barriers or something else more permanent and substantial. Hope the DOT and DSNY are thinking long term about having equipment that can better keep bike lanes clean and clear. Other cities have this figured out; it’s not like NYC can’t do it. A shame to have to sacrifice safety because of this solvable issue.

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Anonymous

If only they respected the rules of the road too, maybe there would be less bike lane deaths. They go against the rules of the road, they don’t respect pedestrians, they just follow their own rules, and then demand safer roads.

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Kate

This is going too far and I will release video footage of a biker causing a major car accident by running a red. New York needs to give up this obsession with bikes.

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You have an entire anecdote?!

Whoa you saw something once! Have you ever driven faster than the speed limit?

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Guest

Bikers need to be licensed and insured, period.
However, do not expect any rules to be enforced because meter maids walking 0.5 mph, pretty much as slow as a sloth, and cops who are not even catching violent criminals or have any presence, it’s whatever you can get away with, and when someone takes the law into their hands they are the criminals. If a biker tries to squeeze himself into a tight lane between outdoor dining and a car waiting on red, and scratches the hell out of the car and makes a run for it, what are the laws about ramming him to stop him from getting away?

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I should be able to park my car for free

I know cyclists and motorists pay exactly the same taxes, but that space would be better used for my private property.

Sure, there’s LOTS of bike traffic because I order takeout, and SURE it reduces traffic, but I shouldn’t have to pay to park wherever I want.

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