You are reading

Dueling Events Held over Sunnyside Street Design As Saga Continues

Queens Streets for All Rally (Photo: Christian Amez)

Nov. 19, 2018 Staff Report

About 100 people turned out Sunday to protest the DOT’s controversial redesign of Skillman and 43rd Avenues, a little over a week after dozens held a community bike ride in support of it.

Yesterday, several business owners and long-time residents opposed to the redesign joined together at 51st Street and 43rd Avenue, where they demanded that the DOT return the streets back to the way they were prior to the design’s implementation.

They called on the DOT to rip out the protected bicycle lanes, return sections of the avenues back to two lanes, and to restore the 120-plus parking spaces lost. They say small businesses have suffered since August–when the changes were rolled out–and argued that the redesign has made the streets more dangerous.

“Some businesses that have been around for 10 years have just had their slowest month ever,” said Gary O’Neill, owner of Aubergine Cafe and a member of Queens Street for All, a group of merchants and residents that formed in opposition to the redesign.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Nov. 10, supporters of the DOT redesign hosted the Sunnyside Family Fun Ride at Lou Lodati Playground. They rode the two avenues and said that the redesign has made the avenues safer. They wanted to highlight what a positive impact they have had.

They thanked the DOT for the design changes.

“We really just want to show the neighborhood that we’re thankful for this, and it’s something that’s going to improve safety for all,” said Evan O’Neil, one of the event’s organizers.

The DOT said the plan was put into effect to increase safety for bicyclists and all road users. The agency said the redesign calms traffic on Skillman and 43rd Avenues and also provides shorter and safer pedestrian crossings.

Sunnyside Family Fun Ride (StreetFilms)

email the author: news@queenspost.com

73 Comments

Click for Comments 
The design simply works

Over the weekend I took a cab ride home in the late hours and the cabbie, who had been pulling 55-60 on empty avenues in the city and over the bridge slowed down on 43rd Av. and topped out at 28mph in Sunnyside. The new design makes it uncomfortable and dangerous to drive recklessly and is therefore engineering behavior that is much much safer. Can we just put an end to this ridiculous charade already? The lanes work, it’s not controversial. Time to adapt to a new safer reality and move on.

30
3
Reply
Thankful in 11104

I am thankful every day that my actual neighbors in Sunnyside bear no resemblance at all (ideologically or demographically) to majority of the commenters on the Sunnyside Post. Love my neighbors but really don’t love the anti-street safety parking-obsessed wing-nuts who infest the comment section of this site.

14
3
Reply
SuperWittySmitty

I love the new bike lanes. Can’t we put areas for parking cars over by the railroad tracks or build parking lots? So many of these cars sit in one spot for 5-6 days and never move except for street cleaning. Too many cars, considering the majority of Sunnysiders do not even drive! The minority of people who live here taking up way too much real estate for their mostly unnecessary automobiles.

21
5
Reply
George Kelly

It is so nice to see DISCOURSE…Really is,we all can shout,yell,articulate,not articulate,but for DAMN sure we are all responding..
SO MR POLITIAN,HERE IS MY ADVICE,”WE AREN’T IDIOTS OUT HERE,SO START GETTING THINGS DONE “,FOR YOUR TIME WILL COME WHEN YOU ARE ON THIS COUCH WRITING,INSTEAD OF DICTATING..WE CAN VOTE YOU OUT..HELLO WALTER CROWLEY, HOW’S IT FEEL…IM REPUBLICAN BY THE WAY..YA,GOT BEAT BY AN IDIOT,BUT AT LEAST OCASIO-CORTEZ LISTENED TO HER VOTERS..GO YOU DEMS,IT’S YOUR TURN NOW..TX

2
7
Reply
George Kelly

Oh,BROKEN SHIFT KEY..CAN WE GET MORE PETTY??CAN WE..??I TYPE CAPITALS FROM A SEVERE HEAD WOUND THAT RETIRED ME AT 37 YEARS OF AGE..SORRY BUD,BUT THE SHOT I GOT IN THE HEAD DOES AFFECT MY ABILITY AT TIMES
SO ON THAT NOTE,IT WAS A PLEASURE READING THAT I’M A MAD MAN..TX…SHOUTING???YA CAN’T SHOUT WITH TYPED LETTERS MY FRIEND..ITS CAPS NOT ANGER DICKHEAD..YOU PEOPLE LOVE SAYING I SHOUT ..NO..I CAN’TSEE PROPERLY..SORRY FOR MY DISABILITY..MY THREE QUARTERS PENSION CHECK HELPS..HAPPY THANKSGIVING.. TO ALL..

3
10
Reply
Kieran smith

Please stop yelling you idiot. Stop using caps you dickhead. I dont think you got hit in the head, i just think your lazy and stupid thats how you got out of work at 37. If your so disabled how come your always in a bar

Reply
George Kelly's Broken Shift Key

I’m doing fine for a while then WALTER crowley STARTS BUYING ME DRINKS,,then IT ALL GOES HAZY AND I’M TYPING IN ALL caps AGAIN then it stops AND THEN ITS BACK AND. PUNCTUATION happens TOO!!.

1
1
Reply
Gerald

So many car lovers here, I just don’t understand why. I’ve been living in Sunnyside for over 15 years, came from Long Island. Of course out there you need a car, so when I moved here I sold mine. I just don’t understand all these people who insist on driving to the city, when there are several alternative, less stressful methods to get around. I can understand having a car when you have a family of kids and travel constantly, but so often I see people who own a car just to keep it parked in their spot. Sad and wasteful!!!

18
12
Reply
Suze

INTRODUCE RESIDENT PARKING PERMITS FOR SUNNYSIDE AND WOODSIDE RESIDENTS. Street parking has already been reduced due to bike lanes and so many Eastern Queens and Long Island residents are using our town as a commuter town. Driving and parking on our streets so they can take the train into the city. We can’t even find paid parking spots under the elevated trains anymore and as of yesterday that fee has also increased to $1.50 per hour!!! With Amazon coming to LIC that will only increase and car spots will become rarer and rarer. Residents need parking permits!!!

16
1
Reply
Anonymous

Face it. This small and shrinking group of anti-bike lane people are obsessed with this. Not only can’t they get over it and move on, they want to prevent tens of thousands of of the rest of us from doing so. This bike lane thing has ruined them somehow. And they want it to ruin the neighborhood. They are miserable and it’s sad to watch them really. But it’s over for 98% of the neighborhood. Sunnyside and Woodside will be fine.

13
11
Reply
Anonymous

Petition to who? For what? Your group hates and is hated by all the politicians whose help you need. You people are hopeless. Your best friend Joe Crowley got 6% of the vote! You guys have no power in this neighborhood.

Reply
VelvetKnight

I haven’t seen the pile of petitions. Do you have a link? How many people signed? Were the names and addresses verified? What percentage of the total area population do they represent? How many people from this “pile” were ok with the redesign before it was done but not after (a vital stat to support the “growing” claim)? How does that number compare to the people who opposed it before that either support the lanes now or stopped caring all that much?

Reply
OneNYersOpinion

These bike lanes are an inevitable growing pain in LIC/Sunnyside’s evolution into an overall mixed-use community. Historically renowned for cars & trucks frequently skirting driving laws, these bike lanes mark a milestone in the challenge of reigning in both drivers and cyclist.

Also, as Sunnyside and most of LIC are starved for Parks, these bike lanes enlarge the network by which residents can safely visit Gantry Plaza State Park, Astoria Park, etc.

Definitely growing pains along the way, but with more building density on the way, LIC/Sunnyside needs to evolve and adjust, just as neighborhoods across Brooklyn and Manhattan have already done.

12
8
Reply
Skip Seglipse

It’s too bad so many morons are so anti-bike. Our roads and streets are not just for cars. Remember when people didn’t even have cars, and used to get around without them? Everyone is lazy and entitled now.

19
20
Reply
Original Sunnysider

I grew up in Sunnyside….for years, my friends ( and others) and I rode our bikes all over the Sunnyside /Woodside neighborhood. That was when 43 Ave was 2 way and Skillman was 2 way and then 1 way. No problems. No complaints. Pretty much everyone behaved themselves….in all respects. Different culture then. So much for “melting pot”. There’ll never be another Sunnyside like it. It thrived without any interference from “the man”. Trust me…it was great. You folks need to re-name the place and get a life.

13
8
Reply
JG

Remember that people didn’t drive and surf the web during these golden days your are remembering. I remember 14 years ago that there were junior mafia guys driving around selling stolen TVs.

2
1
Reply
VelvetKnight

5th Avenue in Manhattan used to be a two-lane road with one lane going in each direction. The rest was all pedestrian space–something it could desperately use more of today.

Times change, and yes the culture is different. We’re long overdue for the pendulum to swing back away from the emphasis on cars above all else.

Reply
Big picture

Look at the big picture. Congestion pricing should be approved in the new year and implemented in the next 18-24 months. This will completely change local traffic patterns, considerably reducing the traffic on the Queensboro bridge and both Queens and Northern boulevards as trucks and drivers no longer shop for the free bridge. As a result there will be less non-local traffic on our 43rd and Skillman Avenues.

As traffic declines, overbuilt streets actually get far more dangerous, increasing the need for this rightfully celebrated visionary plan, as well as the incredibly successful Queens boulevard redesign, and the soon to come bike and pedestrian improvements to northern.

This is also a great thing to have in place in advance of the takeover of autonomous vehicles. This is a people friendly design and within the next decade or so we may need to fight to save it.

23
11
Reply
Carbie Barbie

I figure more people ride those bike lanes daily than came out to demonstrate against them the other day.

And

18
25
Reply
Vinny

So happy DOT ruled for the majority in the neighborhood who support the bike lanes and the slower traffic they bring. Slower cars means less death, plain and simple. Thank you Jimmy Van Bremer!

25
29
Reply
As a matter of fact it has already happened with the death of the two young people on the motorcycle because the van could not avoid them.gman

These hipster parents Should go back where they came from. The majority of the community wants the streets returned to their former configuration. It is very unsafe for parents and children and seniors and any pedestrians for that matter to cross the street to the way they are now bike ride is almost always disregard any rules and regulations. Motorists can’t see around the parked cars to look for bicyclists and pedestrians it is a catastrophe waiting to happen. As a matter of fact it has already happened with the death of the two young people on the motorcycle because the van could not avoid them.

15
15
Reply
J

You mean the two people on the motorcycle that were traveling the WRONG WAY on a one way street? Yeah, obviously the fault of the bike lanes. Waiting for people to blame 9/11 on the bike lanes next.

5
2
Reply
TheTruth

You’re full of it. The accident your referring to wasn’t even on the street in question, involved a motorcycle, and was speeding in the wrong direction of a one-way street. Stop cherry picking your facts to support your opinion.

6
1
Reply
Saved Life

The bike lanes are an amazing improvement to the neighborhood and they are saving lives! And no businesses have closed, no firetrucks have gotten stuck, and the world is still spinning! It was a fantastic move by the DoT and Sunnyside is so grateful for it. Now let’s move on and all come together to fight Amazon!

42
42
Reply
Bike Me.

Sunnyside Family Fun Ride looks like they couldn’t stay within bike lanes.

When are we going to require bikers to be licensed and regulated?

35
25
Reply
Casey O'Neill

You want to force little kids to get a license to ride a bike? Let’s make them sign up with the department of health if they want to use a jump rope while we’re at it.

10
18
Reply
Heretostay

Strangely enough mature adults attended the protest and parents with young children attended the bike ride. Is our government putting the generations against each other when we have always been a well-integrated and peaceful community. People who’s athletic days are behind them should not be made to feel afraid for their safety just as their physical powers are waning. Displacement by age is discrimination.

29
14
Reply
United in safety

Seniors, along with drivers, are among the biggest beneficiaries of street safety plans. The shorter crosswalks have cut the time it takes to cross the street nearly in half. This is a godsend for children, seniors, and disabled. This is a unifying plan.

20
23
Reply
George Kelly

Arguing over BIKE lanes for Middle or upper middle class white nubies..Pathetic..CSS HOUSES 60,000 ADULTS AND 22,000 CHILDREN IN SHELTERS AT A COST OF 500,000,000.00 MILLION A YEAR,AND THESE IDIOT WHITE NANNY STATE NARCISSISTIC ASSES WANT GOV’T TO HOLD THEIR BIKE RIDING HANDS..
WHERE THE HELL DID THIS CITY GO???MY GOD,PEOPLE WITHOUT A BUCK GO TO HELL ,WHILE SOME MORONS WHO CAN’T RIDE THEIR LITTLE BIKES WITHOUT COPS GUIDING THEIR LITTLE WHITE INSULATED GREEDY ASSES WANT MORE BIKE LANES…SUNNYSIDE SUCKS NOW WITH THESE NUTS,OH WELL,I’M GOING TO THE BAR..WHERE REAL PEOPLE MEET..CHEERS

22
21
Reply
George Kelly's Broken Shift Key

I don’t know HOW it happens but I’m typing along and then ALL OF A SUDDEN for no real reason I’M SHOUTING AND RAVING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON,WITHOUT REGARD FOR punctuation OR BASIC USAGE CONVENTIONS,THEN it stops AND COMES RIGHT BACK AGAIN!!!! WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE FIX THIS DAMN KEY,MAYBE NORM FROM DOWN THE BAR OR CLIFF CLAVEN…real AMERICANS..!.

6
3
Reply
Count von Count

I heard there were gonna be 1000 people at the rally yesterday? What happened? Oh. Right. No one cares.

19
18
Reply
Local Sunnysider

Very poor and bias reporting. Others have counted north of 300 attendees, the points addressed in the rally were not brought up and the poorly attended family bike ride from last week was hyped up. We all expect better from you.

31
12
Reply
Anonymous

Hundreds shown up to rally. “Dozens” came out for family bike day. That doesn’t equate to community divided. That’s pretty one sided.

27
10
Reply
More worried now

Safety was never an issue on Skillman or 43rd Ave for any law abiding cyclist or pedestrian until now. The stupidity of this redesign is mind boggling. Zero Vision. Emergency vehicles forced into a dangerous one lane situation to accomadate a select few hobby cyclists. De Blasio and JVB will bear responsibility for the inevitable tragedy that is imminent due to delayed response time from FDNY/EMS. Ask any fire fighter or first responer.

33
16
Reply
Woodsider

It seems that the safety of bikers is the ONLY priority here. Take a look a Skillman Ave where cars are forced to park in the MIDDLE of the street. They are FORCED to exit their vehicles either into incoming traffic (driver side) or into bike traffic (passenger side). Also, because cars are no longer parked near the curb ALL exiting passengers cannot step out onto the curb and proceed to the corner to cross (safest place). They MUST cross where they park, again, fighting either oncoming car traffic on one side or bike traffic on the other…..which, by the way VERY OFTEN goes BOTH ways on one-way streets….check the delivery motor bikers from the Thai restaurant on Skillman near Food Dynasty.

Woodsider

25
8
Reply
ann

Most people who spoke brought up safety issues, including dangerous features for bikers. Roughly 10 accidents involving bikers were reported. Of special concern where buses make turns at 48th St, with a design that makes for very poor visibility as bikers speed up on a down slope. A handicapped person spoke about worse access to her special vehicle and her wheelchair. Parents spoke about the dangers to their children posed by bike lanes at school dismissal. Most alarming, the delays involving fire trucks entering Skillman at 51 St. and being delayed by a single lane. Speakers asked for the DOT, the City
Councilman and the Mayor to be responsible and CORRECT these serious defects.

28
8
Reply
Casey O'Neill

“Parents spoke about the dangers to their children posed by bike lanes at school dismissal.”

Bike lanes make kids safer, it’s the parents in cars that endanger kids. It’s also people in cars who are delaying fire trucks. Literally everything they’re whining about is the fault of cars.

10
24
Reply
Pat

Skillman Av and 43rd Av have been turned into chaos. The arranged bike ride brought a large group of bike riders out but on a normal day you don’t see this kind of use of the bike lanes. They were also supervised by the police department and others from Von Bramers office . .
Skillman Av is harder to cross even at the lights .
At PS11 at 54th and SkillmanAv cars are skirting through the openings in the barrier, just before the stop light, to make a right turn onto 54th St. This is going to cause accidents, to anyone trying to cross and to any bike riders coming up the hill . . Elderly and children crossing here to the school and library are in danger . Planning for this project is sorely in need of change as the present plan has caused nothing but chaos.

27
13
Reply
Anonymous

Which one is it: No one uses the lanes or the cyclists are running into pedestrians and cars left and right? Can’t be both.

12
8
Reply
Stop gentrification

All real sunnyside residents know these bike lanes are highly dangerous and prone to more accidents. You bike riders should be ashamed to think, this actually helps the neighborhood. I rode my bike perfectly normal without these stupid bike lanes and feel safer without them. These bike lanes are traps, there’s no way to escape if your going down fast and someone suddenly crosses.

36
14
Reply
VelvetKnight

“…there’s no way to escape if your going down fast and someone suddenly crosses.”

Huh? In that scenario, before your only way to “escape” was to either slam into a parked car on one side or a moving car on the other.

Now one side has a 3-foot buffer between you and the parked cars, and the other has a curb which certainly isn’t fun to hit, but is a hell of a lot better than a 2000+ pound vehicle travelling at 40+ mph (regardless of actual speed limit).

And that’s without even getting into that you appear to be accepting of people jaywalking dangerously.

Reply
Bicycle Bill

So the difference seems to be one group was passing through the neighborhood, undoubtedly augmented by the Manhattan based lobbying group, and the other were folks who actually live in Sunnyside/Woodside.

29
12
Reply
Tale of the future and the soon to be past

So on the one hand you have a lovely family friendly bike ride celebrating the wonderful safety benefits afforded by this top notch traffic calming plan.

Then on the other you have an angry hateful bunch screaming that you will die in a fire because of a street safety plan.

But back to the valid event, there were joyful children expressing glee, their laughter and enjoyment infectious on all who participated.

By stark contrast the safety hating crew were gathered to publically express that they hate safety and don’t care what anyone thinks, in the most trumpian and tea party-esque rally possible.

It’s quite clear who won. Game over guys! Time to move on.

24
36
Reply
JG

The DOT isn’t going to listen to these people. It’s unfortunate and sad that they cannot move on. There is no need to continue to create division in the neighborhood. Like it or not, the bike lanes are here to stay.

20
27
Reply
Casey O'Neill

Queens Street for All Except Kids Who Want to Ride Bikes Safely would be a more accurate name.

65
39
Reply
Parent

Family ride had about 25 participants. Police supervised the “safe” lanes. Van Bramer staffers rode. Yesterday’s signatures ran close to 300. Community is not “divided.” Inaccurate reporting.

69
42
Reply
Greg

Who cares Parent, 300 people is not the majority Queens Streets for Parking claims. Time for your group to move on to something more productive than making up facts and endangering peoples lives.

10
25
Reply
Tired of this

You’re right it’s not divided, the majority of people don’t care one way or the other. I don’t bike, don’t drive, was a skeptic from sunrise to sunset, but like many of my neighbors I have been pleasantly surprised by how effectively this has curbed the speeding problem that the additional traffic lights only seemed to make worse. This is nothing but good for our community. The ugly Queens streets for all certainly doesn’t speak for anything resembling a plurality of our neighborhood and frankly the majority of us are looking forward to the day they just stop. Enough already.

24
18
Reply
Woodside Resident

I passed by yesterday: no way there were 300 people. Where were these signatures gathered?

And let’s put this all in perspective. There are over 120,000 people living within Queens Community Board 2. The vast majority clearly don’t care either way. So let’s wait for the data which will undoubtedly confirm the redesign is safer.

12
16
Reply
Love trumps hate

Thank you DOT for ignoring the small minority of our community opposed to this amazing improvement to our streets.

58
65
Reply
Feelthepinch

Your comment is ludicrous. Far more than 100 people came out on a cold Sunday to protest the serious harm done to everyone who has used Skillman profitably and safely for decades. sunnyside’s main arteries have undergone destructive surgery thanks to Judas van Bramer’s last-minute cowardice. McCarney Morris rejoices!

19
9
Reply
Casey O'Neill

A bunch of selfish people came out to protest against protecting cyclists and pedestrians.

5
21
Reply
Ocasio won

How many people live in the neighborhood? 3000? If so 300 would be 10%. You’re beating a dead horse by trying to claim the majority, and that’s to say nothing of the ludicrous arguments against a safety plan. You’re embarrassing yourselves with this. Will you go on?

7
18
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

AG James announces dismantling of Queens-based ghost gun trafficking operation

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday the takedown of a prolific Queens-based gun trafficking crew accused of selling firearms and ammo at an East Elmhurst playground, the Queens Center Mall and other locations around the borough.

James secured a 625-count indictment charging five men for participating in the gun smuggling ring, which involved selling dozens of ghost guns, assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.