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Op-Ed: I Love Biking Too, but the Crescent Street Bike Lane Is a Disaster

A woman enters traffic with her baby carriage while a USPS van is parked in the bike lane (Photo: Courtesy of Edwin DeJesus)

Sept. 17, 2021 Op-Ed By Edwin DeJesus, candidate for the 22nd District

ASTORIA, NY I am a healthy 24-year-old man who commutes to work on a bicycle, and I love it. I think it’s a great alternative mode of transportation. However, I understand that there is a huge community of people who cannot or prefer not to bike around the city.

I have spoken with many local residents who feel ignored by the rollout of bike lanes and Lyft-owned Citi bike docking stations in northwest Queens. The major rollout of docking stations throughout 2021 has been uncareful and unsafe. It does not align with the interests of our community.

The 2-way bike lane on Crescent Street is dangerous because it runs against oncoming traffic on a busy street near Mt. Sinai hospital. Last Sunday marked 10 months since Alfredo Cabrera Licona was killed by a reckless driver in this bike lane – a collision that could have been avoided with proper bike lane placement.

Protecting bike lanes is necessary; however, the majority of cycling-related accidents occur at intersections. A bike lane going the opposite way never belonged on Crescent Street. There are better side streets for DOT to allocate its resources within Astoria, Woodside, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst.

Edwin DeJesus is a candidate for the 22nd District of New York City Council (Photo Courtesy of Edwin DeJesus)

Many of us are in favor of making the streets safer. Recently, I was almost hit by a car while I was trying to access Citi bike parking on 29th Street and 24th Avenue, near the Triboro Bridge. Not only is it dangerous to dock a bike in the middle of a street, it is reckless of large corporations like Lyft to normalize not wearing a helmet.

I recently met Aubrey Manfredi, a lifelong Astoria resident who is disabled. She told me the following about living near the Crescent Street lane: “It’s good for bike riders but not for people like me, who are going to the store. It’s very hard. Trucks get stuck in the bike lane because there is no room. Parking space is so limited. Cars are waiting for a spot every morning.”

Manfredi’s family is now paying $225 each month to reserve a private parking spot a few minutes away from her apartment. “It really has affected my health. In the snow, I have to walk to the corner to get into the car. I can’t get into the car in front of my house because of the parking, and it’s painful for me to walk.”

A lack of parking space results in overcrowded streets, which makes it difficult for ambulances to reach hospitals like Mount Sinai, and difficult for delivery vans to serve our families in Astoria. Ultimately, workers are forced to idle in the bike lane, causing further danger and noise pollution.

Circling the block or idling to wait for a parking spot results in higher emissions and defeats the green objective behind the ramping up of bike lanes citywide. Furthermore, our city should have compassion for the many families who lack the financial means to afford a driveway.

Street parking is a necessity during a deadly pandemic, especially for immunocompromised folks who must avoid public transportation. We need to be much smarter and more class conscious in determining the location of bike lanes.

The development of new infrastructure must incorporate common sense. In particular, we can move Citi bike docking away from alternate side parking onto wider sidewalks, and add mini-stations near schools and bus stops.

A Citi bike docking station built on alternate side street parking (Photo: Courtesy of Edwin DeJesus)

If we are going to reimagine the relationship between motorists and cyclists, there must be some compromise involved. For example, instead of creating rush hour congestion with a bike lane on the 59th Street bridge, the city could significantly expand ferry service between Queens and Manhattan for cyclists’ benefit.

This is not a battle between motorists and cyclists. This is a result of corporate greed and corrupt politics which are failing us. We must hold our leadership accountable for systemic issues due to a lack of consideration for the most vulnerable. As a community, we ought to stand in solidarity; we must make it clear to city leaders when new transportation initiatives are hurting New Yorkers.

Unfortunately, both Democrat and Republican politicians care more about re-election and their resume than doing the right thing. A selfish City Council member would boast, “I placed X amount of bike lanes during my tenure” without considering the impact on residential and commercial streets. That is no way for a representative of the people to think and behave.

We must push for a smarter rollout of bike lane placement which preserves street parking, reduces congestion and maintains quality of life for seniors, students, veterans and the disabled. Bike lanes should be approved by the community and only implemented if appropriate safety guidelines are met. Above all, we ought to design a system of decision making that works for everyone in Astoria.

Edwin DeJesus is a candidate for the 22nd District of New York City Council. He is running as an independent Green in the November 2nd general election.

email the author: [email protected]

18 Comments

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Rides a 10-Speed Everywhere Guy

I like riding a ten-speed because it’s fun, gives me energy, aaaaaand its a great way to stay in shape.

I work at Accounts Receivable. Uhh, it’s not too demanding, pays good, aaaaaand its a great way to stay in shape.

I don’t mind riding in the rain. The water feels good on my skin. It’s cool, refreshing, aaaaaand its a great way to stay in shape.

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Ok, thanks

I love biking too, and the Crescent St. bike lane is one of the best in the city! You really can’t argue against the placement and you have failed to so, as I am willing to bet you will get fewer than 100 votes.

Also, the proposal was unanimously approved by the community board. It is that good.

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Rick O'Shea

A bit of paint on the road will do nothing to protect you from a drunk driver or one that’s texting behind the wheel as they swerve all over the place.

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Louisa

But the trendy logo signs the mayor painted on the street are helping. They keep on winning. I hope that hostess gets fired.

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This guy

Edwin DeJesus: “I love bikes, here’s why we should ban them and make all modes of transportation but driving as difficult and as dangerous as possible. I’m a Green candidate: let’s fill the world with cars!”

Thanks for showing the people who you are. Now get Bernie off your website.

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Disgusted NYorker

It is mind boggling how the city is adding bicycle lanes at the most important areas for vehicles that need roadway to local bridges. Has anyone noticed the new bike lane under the subway line on Northern Blvd approaching 59th St bridge? It is amazing how many cars and trucks idle a lot longer just to approach the bridge. On a rush hour morning while I sat for about 20 mins maybe 3 cyclists used the lane – while about 100+ cars trying to squeeze into one lane many commercial vehicles that are part of the city’s economy to bring services/goods. What disgrace this city government has become the last 7+ years!

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ABoondy

too risky to ride a bike in this city. after my bike got stolen, i decided it wasnt worth it anymore. there’s too many moving things to look out for and too many people, so the risk for a bad accident is high.

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Where did you hide your gun

In your bike? You know, the one you’re always telling us to conceal and carry???

😒🤨

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Yula

I used to love riding my bile around Astoria until the bike lanes and stations came along. Traffic is a nightmare with open streets and i feel that people used their stimulus money to buy or lease cars and purchase dirt bikes, motorcycles and scooters.

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I.Amy Wright

I think they have just put many more people here and many of them need cars. That’s how it seems on my street, anyway.

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Anonymous

Stop giving excuses to cars. You almost got hit by a car while trying to get a citibike. This is the fault of the car. We need to hold cars accountable. If cars can’t drive next to a 2 way bike lane without endangering people, then the cars need to be banned. Perhaps NYC has no safe drivers. If that’s the case, then we need fewer places where driving is allowed rather than more. We don’t need to punish those pedestrians and cyclists who drivers endanger.

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Ever ordered delivery?

Ever noticed how your delivery food gets delivered by bike? That’s not commerce?

Hopefully you’ve never ordered takeout before or your hypocritical words would be laughable!

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Woodside Resident

Ah yes, we just need “smarter rollout of bike lane placement which preserves street parking, reduces congestion”. I guess that means building an elevated bike lane? Or a tunnel? The important thing is to make sure that personal motor vehicles -the most polluting, most dangerous form of transportation in our city- still get subsidized with free street space for their storage. Not like climate change is an existential threat or anything. I can’t fathom how this piece was written by someone running as an “independent Green.”

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I. Amy Wright

All car owners pay a fee to park on the street as part of their registration fee. If you don’t think that is enough, most certainly let your representatives know. But that is the price the state named, not drivers. So, the “no free parking” argument is plain incorrect.

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Nelson Rockefeller

There is no fee attached to registering a vehicle in NY State or NYC that pays for street parking. The streets are built and maintained by all taxpayers on taxpayer land. Most taxpayers do not own cars, yet almost all street space has been given to cars, and in the majority of Western Queens, parking is free.

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Blackfootlion

I wish you had been my Councilmember in Sunnyside over the past 12 years. I’ve been debating him, (I think) on the last SP Post piece on on my block, 39th Avenue and he has been nothing but arrogant

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