Dec. 10, 2015 By Christian Murray
The bicycle lanes on Queens Boulevard have come under fire in recent weeks with several pedestrians complaining that they are hazardous, while some drivers are upset about congestion.
Denise Keehan-Smith, chair of Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee, said Monday at a committee meeting that she has heard several complaints from Woodside residents about the dangers of crossing Queens Boulevard at 60th Street.
Smith, who lives near the crossing, said that she knows of three women who have been knocked down by cyclists who did not stop for the traffic lights.
“This is not only a design issue but an enforcement issue,” Smith said. “A lot of seniors cross at that spot but the cyclists are whizzing through.”
The bicycle lanes, which go for 1.3 miles of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street, were installed in August and include several pedestrian safety improvements, the DOT said at the time. They were part of a redesign that the Mayor said would include expanded medians and intersections that would deter speeding.
Another problem that has surfaced has been the reduction of a moving lane between 63rd and 64th Streets on the south side of the Boulevard, which has reduced the service road to just one lane. This section of Queens Boulevard has five stores, including Deals, Subway and United Wine & Liquor.
Smith said that when trucks stop to unload their deliveries or someone parks illegally to run in to a store the Boulevard can get backed up, since there is only one moving lane.
The DOT has recently introduced a loading zone on 63st Street, Smith said, but the shop keepers need to be made aware of it.
Furthermore, there is a parking garage around the corner on 64th Street but it is only for customers of the liquor store. Even then, shoppers at the liquor store still have to drive around the block to get back on Queens Blvd after they make a purchase, since 64th Street is a one-way street.
The DOT will be visiting these sites with Smith next week to see how the situation can be improved. Smith said she has spoken to the 108 Precinct about greater enforcement, especially concerning the Queens Boulevard/60th Street location.
William Kregler, a Woodside resident, spoke at Community Board 2’s monthly meeting last week and lambasted the Board for approving the DOT’s Queens Boulevard plan.
“The Queens Boulevard bike lane project can be summed up by one word: ‘horrible, yikes,” Kregler said.
He said thousands of motorists have been inconvenienced for a few hundred bicyclists at most. He complained that it now takes much longer taking a bus along Queens Boulevard.
“This has made life miserable,” he said. “You have destroyed Queens Boulevard – you voted for it.”
Carol Terrano, a Community Board 2 member, was quick to remind Kregler that not everyone on the Board was convinced about the bicycle lanes.
“I’m in total agreement with you,” Terrano said. “I’ve stood up in meetings and written letters… but got nowhere.”