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Residents Launch Petition Calling For DOT to Scrap 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard in Sunnyside

A group of residents has launched an online petition in opposition to the installation of a bike boulevard on 39th Avenue in Sunnyside. 39th Avenue and 45th Street intersection pictured on Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Oct. 5, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

A group of residents has launched an online petition in opposition to the DOT’s recent installation of a new bike boulevard on 39th Avenue in Sunnyside.

The online petition, which was launched Saturday, seeks to reverse the DOT’s transformation of many portions of 39th Avenue and Barnett Avenue that have been converted into one-way streets. The DOT began making the changes to the avenues last month in order to create space to put down a protected bicycle lane on 39th Avenue.

The petition has garnered more than 500 signatures since it launched less than 72 hours ago on change.org.

The group that launched the petition, called Queens Streets For All, claims that the new designs are dangerous, confusing and were not thought through. They also say that the community was not properly involved in the process.

Their view is counter to the DOT and bike-safety advocates who say that the new layout makes the streets safer for all road users —whether they be motorists, cyclists or pedestrians. The advocates say the measures reduce the number of motorists using 39th Avenue as a through-street and that the changes help prevent speeding.

However, the petitioners argue that the changes are too complex, unnecessary and have instead made the roads less safe.

They are calling on the DOT to reverse the road changes immediately. The petition is addressed to the Mayor Bill de Blasio, the DOT Commissioner, Queens DOT Commissioner, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, State Sen. Mike Gianaris, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Community Board 2 and other officials.

“What we have is chaos,” the petition reads. “These short, previously unproblematic and two-way streets are now a mess. Whoever rushed the installation was not focusing on our safety.”

The group claims that the process to approve the plan was “rushed through” via online meetings with little community notice and insufficient input from residents.

The bike boulevard was approved by Community Board 2 in June by a vote of 21-11 during a Zoom board meeting.

The plan, which was conceptually announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in May, has the backing of term-limited Van Bramer. Julie Won, the Democratic nominee likely to replace Van Bramer, has also expressed her support for the plan.

But the petitioners are far less receptive of the plan.

“The only positive descriptions we have heard, amid shock, anger, disbelief, and confusion, about the redesign, is new and better crosswalks,” the petition reads.

“Otherwise, remove this installation now, and start over, please.”

New crosswalk paintings at the intersection between 50th Street and 39th Avenue, pictured on Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

The new plan has seen the stretch on 39th Avenue between 45th and 47th streets (previously two-way) converted into a one-way street going west. The DOT has also converted 39th Avenue from Woodside Avenue to 52nd Street into a one-way zone—westbound.

The plan has also seen Barnett Avenue—between 45th and 48th streets—converted into a one-way street going east. That section of Barnett Avenue was previously a narrow two-way street.

The DOT says that the new design improves the connections for cyclists traveling between Sunnyside, Woodside, and Jackson Heights — in particular from the 34th Avenue Open Street to the protected bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Avenues leading to and from the Queensboro Bridge.

The petitioners say that the new layout has only made the roads less safe, more dangerous and infuriated drivers.

The group says said that it now takes more time for drivers to get in and out of the area.

“Some drivers are driving over the curbs in frustration,” the petition reads.

Several residents who signed the petition weighed in with their thoughts on why they want to see the plan scrapped.

“Remove the redesign now! There are serious accidents waiting to happen if this is not reversed,” wrote one petitioner.

“No thought went into this project! It has now become so unsafe for not only cyclists but walkers and cars,” wrote another before labeling the design as an “absolute mess.”

Nicole Garcia, Queens DOT Commissioner, is scheduled to address residents concerns during a Community Board 2 public meeting Thursday via Zoom. She will also be discussing its benefits.

email the author: [email protected]

61 Comments

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Alex tellas

This is an abuse of power by the authorities at their worst.
I drive as many in the community because of work and let me tell yours a total caos!
And forget about parking in the neighborhood… so many places lost due to the mentioned bicycle lines.
We should remain all this people responsible that they are public servers working for us all..

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Sunnysidey

I don’t ride a bike, I have a car. But complaining about a bike lane just sounds like old people who can’t accept change. There’s no possible way that reducing car traffic and increasing bike traffic would be MORE dangerous. Statistically speaking, cars kill 40k people a year. How many people are killed by bikes a year? Like, a dozen maybe? Who fucking knows, but it doesn’t compare. I’d have more respect for these miserable protestors if they just admitted, “We don’t want bike lanes because we all have cars and we’re only interested in what benefits us and not these damn young people and their bikes!”

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Genius Manque

I don’t understand why the residents of Sunnyside Gardens don’t just convert their courtyards to parking lots. This would solve all their problems and make them a lot happier.

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Sunnyside resident

I think it shows a bias against people who are too old to ride bikes. We need our cars for transportation.

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Stop the hate

Patricia Dorfman, after being asked to stop the hate, you have instead done the complete opposite and intensified the QS4A campaign in recent weeks. Please now accept your responsibility for the verbal and online harassment being perpetrated by your supporters and for any acts of physical violence or vandalism that come as a result of your ongoing hate campaign. If you are unwilling to stop the hate your have promoted, can you please plead with your supporters to not escalate their hatred into criminality? I am not joking. This is your January 6 moment. Please call for non-violence and civility among your supporters. They respect you and follow you faithfully, and if you were a real leader you would call for patience and calm in the face of positive changes to 39th Avenue, apologize for the harm you have caused, and take down your facebook page. Hopefully it is not too late to stop the hate!

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Gardens Watcher

Oh please calm down. Your personal vendetta against Ms. Dorfman is past its expiration date.

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Moona Luna

Your constant misrepresentation, and continued cowardice (so tedious) will never change the fact that the people you accuse of hate don’t hate anyone. We just find the total takeover by people like you intolerable. What made you think you could do as you have done without generating a huge amount of opposition? You need to look at the failure of your plan, your point of view, your methods and most appallingly your rhetoric. I’ve heard one person out of 40 say she thought it would be an improvement. You failure is not due to anyone but yourselves.

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Stop the hate

Well, here’s the thing, I personally have not done anything. Zero, zilch, nada. My only experience with all this is very much one of getting heckled or treated profoundly differently when I bike. No bike, no problem. Spandex, helmet, and bike, big problem. Why? QS4A. Period. The filth on there has really infected our neighborhood with hatred for bikers and that is wrong and it should stop. I don’t think Patricia personally hates anyone, but her writing promotes hate. Stop it, it’s gone. She could be 100% right about every last thing she says, but if all it does is promote hate then maybe she should stop. I’m not a coward, I have no vendetta, I just see someone whose actions spread false information and toxic hate in our neighborhood and think it’s time for them to stop. It’s very simple! Stop the hate!

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James P. Marshall the 3rd

There’s a lot of people that are part of this group of Sunnysiders who have spent the better part of 2 weeks threatening to run people over, leaving harassing comments on FB and other mediums and not even attempting to lower their “Sunnyside Gardens Privlege”. If they hate a changing city, which unarguably this is. Then maybe they should move to some dying city like Erie or Cleveland. Imagine being so upset that you have to spend time looking for parking (plenty o garages and street spaces still) that you want to threaten to kill people. I’d say their is more a mentality problem then a bike lane problem.

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Don't worry about it

Do you have any idea what a garage goes for in this neighborhood, it’s mind boggling. Pretty inconsiderate statement tbh for those that work 12+ hours a day to come home and look for parking here it’s highly annoying. And the neighborhood has lost plenty of parking spots with the bike lanes that they made along 43rd Ave and skillman.

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James P. Marshall the 3rd

These very same people advocating for the community to come together and find a solution have spent the better part of 2 weeks threatening to run folks down with their cars. Leaving harassing comments on Facebook groups and overall not even making an attempt to ease back on some of their Sunnyside Gardens privilege, when it comes to “their neighborhood”. Give em a private park and they complain about not having enough space. Here’s an idea, try Connecticut.

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Tom Rorb

Ah yes. The zealots with the claims that there will be chaos and pollution and “accidents” waiting to happen.

Spare us the drama. Please.

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Ivan

Oh lord, more ignorant squeaky wheels from the autocentric community. ‘Waaah waah we weren’t consulted,’ but everyone knew about the Zoom board meeting. The complaints are all projection and anecdotal.
Being a resident of Sunnyside, yes, cars were constantly speeding through that stretch.
Oh no!! Inconvenienced by 5 whole minutes?? Whatever shall we do????
It’s time for the entitled car drivers to wake up and smell the future.

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Skillzman

Traffic is down, speed is down and we have crosswalks! It’s much safer for pedestrians and bikers. No more Ubers or 18-wheelers using 39th ave as a cut-through. The signs are easy to read and understand. One Way = One Way and Do Not Enter = Do Not Enter. There is a lot of anger in the community about a small road change. Please be kind and considerate to your neighbors.

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Anonymous

It’s a ridiculous example of progressive elitism. ‘My truth is better than your truth, anyone who says anything positive about cars is anti-safety’.. – not true, it is progressives who are anti-safety. They refuse to treat all road users equally and there are almost no enforcement measures of any note except against cars. Everyone I speak to cannot understand why bikes are exempted from helmets, red lights, sidewalks, one-way streets, and on and on… Allegedly some of this is because they don’t want to hurt Citybike ridership by enforcing helmets. Electric bikes, skateboards, and scooters over 25 mph? No problem, no laws needed there, “it’s a bike, we don’t regulate those”

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Ration Al. Man

Your strawman arguments aside, you should know that the NYPD does actually frequently enforce street safety laws against bicyclists as well.

Perhaps the issue is that the NYPD doesn’t really focus enough on street safety in general.. whether it’s for cars OR bikes

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Edward

This is a complete waste of money and time. It’s also seems to be very convenient that the traffic seems to flow away from JVB current place of residence. Such a clown of a politician. Honestly the newly elected Julie is probably the same thing as him, but only time will tell. I get the notion to improve the wellfare of our future generation we need to add bike lanes, yet how about we also need to add money into the city budget and by doing that lets make these douche bicycle people pay for registration, add speed limits, enforce rules such as wearing helmets at all times!! This will bring money into the city which could be used for good social service programs such as improving our parks, libraries and public housing. I hope someone vandalizes these horrific designs.

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Jim

Always excellent to advocate for more money for the city and then hope people vandalize city property.

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Don't worry about it

Can’t wait for them to open up the school around the corner the massive traffic jams that are going to be cause by that and limiting the flow of traffic in one direction. The neighborhood is going to shit.

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Sunny For All

Hopefully, people will use other means of getting to school vs driving. We are lucky to be surronded by several mass transit options and now we have bike lanes that the kids can use. I’m sure many of us biked, trained, and walked to school.

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Mr. Hand

I hate to disagree, neighbor, but won’t the new school have the same street situation as PS 361Q on 57th St? That is to say, it is on the corner of a one-way street and a two-way avenue. There aren’t any problems there at pick-up or drop-off.

I might suggest you needn’t worry too much about this issue. We should actually be working together to eliminate all automobile traffic around schools, to protect the children.

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St. Lucy Sees Clearly

It is not on a two-way avenue. Barnett stops dead in both directions at 48th. Thirty-ninth Bike Boulevard, (no longer an avenue) has just been dismembered. Forty-eighth St. is two way

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Mr. Hand

Right. Barnett from both directions leads right to the school. And there’s no real distinction between 39th Ave at PS 361Q and 48th St at the middle school. They’re both two-way streets with street parking lanes.

The point is that it will be a similar situation and there are no traffic jams around PS 361Q. In fact, the more the city incentivizes families to walk and bike to school, the more room there will be for school buses. And people who drive should consider parking away from the school and walking their children a few short blocks to the school. Walking and talking with our children is a blessing.

This parking a short distance away (at Home Depot, perhaps) will free up room near the school for buses and people with disabilities.

I look forward to our lovely future together, neighbor!

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Anonymous

Most Sunnyside Gardens residents looked down their noses at PS361 and then were too late and missed the boat. Its now the destination public school in the community, and offers a pleasant half mile walk along 39th Ave.

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Don't worry about it

It’s going to be a bigger issue I’m sure that two way street will be converted to one way and then the main Ave is going to be packed with buses along with private cars picking up and dropping off students. Mind you I’m sure the parking situation along both of those ways will surely change to designate them for school parking. It’s super inconsiderate for those that work and have no choice but to commute to work via car. Losing parking spots for things that aren’t being used is an annoyance. I can’t tell you the times I’ve been driving along 43rd Ave or skillman and the designated bikelane isn’t even being used they’re purposely riding their bikes in traffic Lanes. It’ll for sure be interesting and like I said the neighborhood which I’ve grown up in has unfortunately become a mess.

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A-Maze

Turning the streets into a maze is too much, especially when the two avenues over have dedicated bike lanes. The design seems to be punitive and without recognizing the realities of living in the neighborhood. The bike boulevard isn’t going away, but modifications need to be made to simplify it.

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What a disgrace

This petition is so unhinged it deserves a fact check.
UNSAFE – The installation, which will increase safety by design, is ongoing. Verdict: premature opinion not based in fact.
RUSHED AND CHAOTIC – FDNY/EMS were notified and it was approved. Verdict: LIE
NOT ABOUT BIKES, SAFETY, OR REALITY – Speaks for itself with a plan about bikes and safety that is clearly a reality. Verdict: LIE
CONFUSION – The installation is ongoing and is bound to be somewhat confusing before it is finished. Verdict: premature opinion not based in fact.
POLLUTION, CHILDREN, CYCLING – Bike Boulevard is not meant as a play space. Verdict: LIE
REASONS GIVEN/FDNY – Reasons given are suggested to be lies covering for an anti-car conspiracy. FDNY lie repeated. Verdict: LIE
INSUFFICIENT VETTING – Presents conspiracy theory about CB vote affirming design. Verdict: LIE
WE ARE A GREEN COMMUNITY – Claims to be green and progressive, yet opposes any and all bike lanes in the community. Verdict: TRUE
COMMUNITY UPROAR – Claims design is punitive, but agrees more safety will be achieved with design they want removed. Verdict: HUH? What on earth is the point of this petition?
One of the things that fear leads people to do is find ways of explaining things outside of their realm of understanding, often going against official guidance and cold hard facts. The impulse Queens Streets for “All” has here is the same as Marvin’s vaccine denial, which meanders and lists talking points spread by bad actors to confuse and scare people into political action. Here, the petitioner is the bad actor spreading these lies and falsehoods about a safety plan. You should be ashamed of yourselves. How much lower can you sink? Queens Streets is OVER.

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Peter Jenkins

I am sure both EMS and Fire response times are worse due to the “old” bike lane on Skillman. Witness the fire truck hitting parked cars on Skillman trying to make the turn form the firehouse on 51st west onto Skillman about 6 months ago.

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Prove it

That happened once as a result of driver error. If you are willing to bet that a slightly delayed run every couple of weeks affects the average response time by more than a few seconds then I also have a bridge to sell you!

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Actually...

It’s happened many times.

Way back when Skillman was bike-laneified. Fresh and Save recorded the accident.

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WahWah

“I am sure”

Can you expand on how exactly you’re “sure”? Do you have statistics or are you just speaking on your feelings? We’re all adults, we use real facts, not feelings or hunches or anecdotal observations.

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Boo-Boo

Fire fighters have told me personally that the new configurations are awful for response times. They have been formally silenced by upper brass beholden to Vision Zero Zealots in the city hierarchy.

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Blackfootlion

No one listens to self-appointed lying judges. Your disdain for grassroots organizations rather than those funded by corporate dollars is clear. And, by the way, do you also write under the name “Stop the Hate” and “43rd and 43rd?” Your boiling hatred for people who see things differently permeates everything you/he/she/they pick your pronoun writes. And I would never have mentioned an analysis of my reading/writing level if you hadn’t called me dim witted. You have bad Kama coming your way, honey child.

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Barbara Judge

The construction has not finished and our neighbors are criticizing the project. Similar to walking into a building site under construction and calling it confusing and dangerous. Perhaps it would make sense to wait until the lines were painted and cones removed, before interviewing residents in our neighborhood looking for reactions.

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Anonymous

Sunnyside & Woodside, start two more petitions, since they lied to us about the no loss of parking spots – one for Van Bramer to resign his last three months in office for lying again, and for Julie Won to withdraw her candidacy for November for lying to us about the parking situation even before she wins office.

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Anonymous

Julie has bigger matters to address than 20 parking spots in a suburban enclave full of unchecked privelage (Why don’t you use your key fob and go park in right field at Sunnyside Gardens Park)

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David

They always go to the same well of “we weren’t consulted.” There were community meetings that plenty of people went to. Let these cranks shout into the abyss, but no need to treat “The Same People Who Always Hate Change, Hate Change” as a news story.

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Peter Jenkins

Demonizing those who disagree is clearly a sign that your position has no substance.

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Jeanie Uss

I’ve spoken to many people about this. Only 1 person thought it was an improvement but also said it made a once beautiful place “ugly and confusing.” People under the spell of TA can not speak rationally. They are addicted to hateful, sarcastic hyperbole.

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David

“Only 1 person thought it was an improvement but also said it made a once beautiful place “ugly and confusing.””

An improvement that made things worse… this definitely makes sense as a real opinion someone definitely had!

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Tom Rorb

“Ugly”???

What about the metal boxes lining the streets? (It’s okay, I mean we own one too, but REALLY? Ugly???)

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Jeannie Uss

I’m reporting what one person said. No explanation or analysis from me is necessary.

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Skillzman

Traffic is down, speeds are down and we have crosswalks!!! It’s so much safer to walk, cross the avenue, and bike in the neighborhood. No more Ubers or 18 wheelers using 39th as a cut-through. And, it’s not confusing – follow the signs – one way is one way, do not enter is do not enter. That’s it.

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If you asked us to begin with

We would have said hell no and you would have saved time, money and energy!!!

Ask first! Manners aren’t only for third graders!!!

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Tony M

Wait, is it finished? If so, it’s a totally botched plan. I always thought the idea was redundant but either make all of 39th one way with a coherent bike lane or change it back. Its current state is confusing , dangerous and accomplishes non of its desired effect. SAD

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+1

Right challenge for fake Social Democrats.
Using green agenda for social inequity is just bad.

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Noone

When the insane strategists at TA are captured and put where they belong, away from peaceful people who just want to live their lives as they need to.

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L. Mumford

It ends when there are no more cars in western Queens. We’ll convert all the roads to bikeways, busways, and streetcar tracks. The way it was before the cursed car!

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Optics

They’re a bunch of climate-hating whiners, but this street IS kind of a mess. And I don’t own a bike OR a car.

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Genius Manque

I don’t understand why the residents of Sunnyside Gardens don’t just convert their courtyards to parking lots. This would solve all their problems and make them a lot happier.

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Mimby Petticoat

What does this even mean? Transportation Alternatives supporters are nimbys about what? Car traffic?

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