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Town Hall on Bike Lanes Next Week, Updated Proposal for Skillman, 43rd Avenues to be Presented

39th Street and 43rd Avenue (DOT)

Dec. 11, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez

The city will unveil an updated proposal for Skillman and 43rd Avenues safety measures in a town hall next week, a move that comes after a first design presented a month ago caused much alarm for its proposed removal of 158 parking spaces through the two avenues to make way for protected bike lanes.

The town hall will be held on Dec. 19 at Sunnyside Community Services at 43-31 39th St. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and is sponsored by Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2. Representatives from the Department of Transportation will also be in attendance to receive feedback on the updated proposal for the two avenues and take questions.

The meeting comes after the DOT presented a proposal to CB2’s Transportation Committee last month for the two throughways, which envisioned bike lanes flush against the curbs and separated by a buffer from the parking lane.

A combined 158 parking spaces through the two avenues would need to be removed under the first proposal to increase motorist visibility and cyclist safety.

From the Department of Transportation’s initial proposal.

The lost parking spaces in the initial proposal alarmed residents who found parking to be difficult enough in the neighborhood, along with business owners who feared losing customers if parking spaces were taken away. A petition was also created by the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce opposing the DOT’s proposal.

The concerns traveled up to the DOT, which has been working on an updated proposal to present to the community since.

“It’s not going to work as they proposed, and they’ve already gone back,” said Denise Keehan-Smith, CB2 chair and head of its transportation committee, at last week’s Dec. 8 meeting. She added that the town hall will be an opportunity for the board to listen to a variety of voices before voting on the updated changes by the DOT.

Patricia Dorfman, executive director of the Sunnyside Chamber, said at the meeting that she has received many emails and calls about the bike lane proposal and its affect on parking.

“Everyone seems to like painted lines,” Dorfman said, referring to the existing bike lanes on the two avenues. “But people are very unhappy to lose even one parking space.”

Larry Smith, executive vice president at Sholom & Zuckerbrot, the brokerage company, urged the board to think about the hundreds of blue collar workers at his Swingline Building on 32-00 Skillman Ave. who would be affected by the loss of parking spaces.

“Employees come from all over Queens, not all of them can come by subway,” Smith said. “They’re basically telling us they can’t continue doing business if they lose all that parking.”

The initial proposal was seen as a success by Juan Restrepo, the Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives. “This is not a plan that is made to just gloss over safety improvements,” Restrepo told the Sunnyside Post last week. “These are engineers who look at numbers and said it’s feasible.”

In August, Transportation Alternatives also went to businesses on Skillman and 43rd Avenues to ask for their support in bringing protected bike lanes, and received close to 40 letters of support from them. The letters were referenced as a sign of support for the DOT proposal by the transit advocacy group during last month’s meeting.

The board brought up Transportation Alternatives’ effort at last week’s meeting and commented on the fact that no reference was made to lost parking spaces in the letters signed by the business owners.

“We are hearing back from a lot of people who were told they signed something say, ‘I signed what?!”, said Patrick O’Brien, a CB2 board member.

The DOT’s proposal came about after Van Bramer and the community called for enhanced safety measures and an analysis of protected bike lanes on the two avenues in response to two April incidents, one that saw the death of a cyclist after he rode through a red light and was struck by a drunk driver, and another that saw a serious injury just ten days later in the area.

The town hall is free and open to all. To RSVP, email [email protected]

email the author: [email protected]

27 Comments

Oscar

How much are we going to shell out for this boondoggle? Does Councilman JVB (or anyone) have the figures? And of course, triple the cost by the time it’s done…. divide by the 50 people who ride their bike and it ends up like a million dollars per bike rider.




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Anonymous

all sunnysider’s and woodsider’s should be going to this meeting and voice your opinions regarding this – don’t just talk about it here — get to the meeting and speak up




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Anonymous

I am a bike rider but also drive and unfortunately on inclement days need to take the train. I’m all for bike lanes where needed but this isn’t one of them. I’ve biked it and it’s safe. What’s not safe is how a lot of other bikers ride. Last week I was almost hit by a cyclist in a bike lane who blew through a red light weaved around traffic and screamed “look out!” Didn’t even make an effort to stop. I feel for people who’ve been hurt but this isn’t going to stop that. Also, all this means is that the streets will actually become more unsafe because no one will move their car for off street parking. If spots become super rare, then getting one and not moving becomes a paid parking spot. Maybe that’s what they’re going for, more parking fines. But with unmoved cars the streets have more debris and that is unsafe for bike riders. If they added an equal amount of green spots under the 7 that would be amenable. That would allow you to park and go to work. This is just dumb and unnecessary.




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Susan Benson

That’s not what I said at all. I’m simply acknowledging that double-parking exists and without enforcement of current regulation against it, single lanes and angle parking for motorized traffic won’t help matters, in fact may make matters worse. Finding solutions has to acknowledge the reality of the situation, not just suggesting things that won’t solve the problem. Read Theorem Ox’s response.




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Wolfsbane

Bike lanes are the stupidest thing ever devised by man. It lulls cyclists into a false sense of security and complacency.

A bit of paint on the road is utterly meaningless. They do not repeal the laws of physics. The tiniest bit of moisture or loose material on the roadway can and will cause vehicles to skid, even at well below the posted speed limit. When that happens they will happily slide over the paint and mash the oblivious cyclist secure in the knowledge that they’re safe because they’re safely in a bike lane.

A bicycle is a vehicle. If you can’t ride it on the road with the same concentration you’d would in any other vehicle, then you have no business operating it at all.




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Sunnyside Love Me Long Time

You think people are up in arms now wait until the pull another 150 parking spots for the new school on 48th Street.




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Kramdens delicious Marshall

I don’t get this because no matter what goes in there people are going to need parking spaces. If it was a business people would be parking there, if it’s a school people park there Etc. do people just want an empty building or Lord knows what is going to happen in there?




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Brian johnson

It has been declining since Rudy G. was mayor and I don’t have much to say about debozio.




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Oscar

No, you’re still losing 2 spots on each side of each block in front of the crosswalk. You now also have no room to double-park for unloading trucks, which is a slight problem now, but would become cataclysmic for traffic.




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Alice

A few years back I wasn’t for these bike lanes but now I am in support. I have seen several people in the last few years who have turned their health problems around by riding bikes. It’s obviously helping make and keeping people healthy. In a country where a third of the population is diabetic or on pre diabetic and will be diabetic shortly, bikes and a other options that support a healthier life style are a necessity. The people crying about the bike lanes are the same ones who would be crying about the higher healthcare premiums brought on by the obesity and diabetes epidemic. They just cry over everything.




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Oscar

Great. Keep riding your bike. You don’t need a special lane to get health benefits.

And be sure to renew your bike license and pay your dues to contribute to the upkeep of roads while you’re at it… oh wait…




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Lance Carstrong

Supposedly 1400 bikers use this corridor each day. Bull crap. But, let’s pretend that is true. That equates to 500,000+ bike trips a year. Sadly 2 people died. Yet, that’s a very low # in comparison. Do the math. Vision zero is a utopian idea, it’s not happening. We live in a crowded city. Car drivers, bikers and pedestrians are going to get hurt. It’s not going to change to zero. Enough of the silliness. Let’s talk reality. No need to reinvent the wheel here. Add in all of the following to this plan: New movie theater, proposed changes for parking under 7 train, zoning changes to allow for larger buildings, the constant movie shoots….at some point something has to give. This plan is absurd. Put in a few speed bumps/speed cameras if you want to slow people down. Lastly, at what point will the 108th start doling out tickets to people on their bikes for running red lights and riding on the sidewalk?




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Albert

But the number of cars keeps increasing EVERY SINGLE YEAR and there is no increase in accommodation for those cars. Since 1990 the population of the city has increased by over 1.25 million – that increase alone would be one of the top then cities in the US. Based on that increase the number of cars has increased by SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND. And that doesn’t include Uber, etc. We need to offer other options – the new ferry service is a blinding success. We need to stop subsuming our lives to cars. This is not Buffalo, NY and it’s not 1925. There are too many cars in NYC and we need to stop it.




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Bill deblasio is the worst thing to happen to this city since crack cocaine

Please let’s band together and stop this plan….de Blasio must be stopped he is ruining this city for the people that live here




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TheR

Deblasio is awful, but you should really look to blame Bloomberg for turning this city into what it is today. The rezoning, real estate development exemptions, pedestrian plazas, the bike lanes and the DOT were all enabled under his watch.




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Oil, Beef, Hooked.

Make parts of Skillman one lane and have angle parking on the South side. Seems like it’d add lots of lanes. People don’t need to be speeding down Skillman anyhow 🙂




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Tomas

I full agree, Skillman doesn’t need to be two lanes. I live on Skillman and the people who fly down it are cause for concern for many children and other pedestrians.




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Susan Benson

A single car lane on Skillman would be problematic because of all the double-parkers, including deliveries. Agree with Tomas that flying down the avenue is a BIG safety problem.




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Oil beef hooked

Well double parking is illegal so essentially you’re saying that we need to accommodate lawbreakers.
Besides a single Lane Plus the angle parking would probably end up being a one and a half or so with Road where cars could get around if someone was illegally doubly parked. I’m just trying to find solutions to the whining and complaining like the rest of the car owning snowflakes




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Oscar

Do you go to stores? You know – to buy food or the drugstore or the butcher shop, etc.? How do you think these places get their deliveries? Their 53′ loading dock in the back of the store? Double parking is necessary for this, and also to move cars for “street cleaning” a.k.a. weekly useless polluting car-walking.




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Theorem Ox

I can support the angled parking idea – especially if it creates more legal parking spaces AND if the city maintains the current rules (e.g.: doesn’t change all of them to metered spots which will effectively negate benefits for residents).

I would not advocate single laning Skillman and 43rd at all. It turns out that plenty of businesses and residents get deliveries from cars and trucks. Along parts of Skillman and 43 Avs., we already have a de facto single lane due to double parked cars and trucks! Some of the side streets (esp. west of 48th St) can barely handle a double-parked sedan as is.

Personally, I’d rather deal with the temporary double parking if it allows us to enjoy the convenience of doorside home deliveries, allow stores and restaurants to restock their supplies and allow the elderly/disabled to disembark closer to their homes. It’s much preferable to seeing vehicles driving on the separated bike lanes or even sidewalks trying to get around obstructions (as is the case on the service road of Queens Blvd in neighborhoods further east)




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