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Van Bramer Calls on DOT to Improve Safety for Cyclists and Pedestrians on Thomson Avenue

(Jimmy Van Bramer)

Sept. 11, 2019 By Shane O’Brien

Elected officials and community organizers are called on the Department of Transportation to install traffic calming measures to prevent injuries and deaths on Thomson Avenue by LaGuardia Community College.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, LaGuardia Community College Interim President Paul Arcario and members of Transportation Alternatives rallied on Tuesday to demand that the DOT improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along the busy thoroughfare.

They say that the area around the college should be a designated “school zone,” since the area generates about 50,000 students. The speed limit in a school zone is lowered to 20 mph during school hours.

The group is also asking for one of the avenue’s six lanes to be removed– and to be designated for pedestrian use. The lane would be painted beige and Jersey barriers would be installed to protect pedestrians from traffic.

They also asked the DOT to extend the Skillman Avenue bike lane from Queens Boulevard to 49th Avenue in order to improve the Queens bike network and allow more people to ride safely to school.

In addition, the group calls for the closure of two streets off Thomson Avenue. They want to close 29th Street to create a campus plaza with more walking space. Furthermore, they want a stretch of 30th Street closed to prevent motorists from making high-speed turns as they come off the Queensboro Bridge.

Thomson Avenue by LaGuardia Community College

Van Bramer said that the DOT hadn’t done enough to protect students and other road users. He said that DOT needs to come up with a long-term redesign of the avenue to make it safe, but urged the agency to make short term improvements in the interim.

“I’ve been advocating with the community to make Thomson safer for years. We were here back in 2013 after 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was tragically killed while walking on the sidewalk, and over 150 more pedestrians and cyclists have been injured in this area since,” Van Bramer said.

DOT must start by implementing these critical safety measures that would immediately improve conditions and then prioritize a complete redesign of Thomson to ensure the safety of this busy urban campus.”

Meanwhile, Arcario, of LaGuardia Community College, said that the safety of his students, faculty, staff and visitors is of paramount importance and he urged the DOT to take action.

He said that there had been several incidents near the campus where pedestrians were injured while crossing the street.

“These are serious, life-threatening issues that must be addressed urgently in order to safeguard lives and prevent future tragedies,” Arcario said.

Thomson Avenue shortly after Tenzin Drudak was Killed (YouTube)

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26 Comments

ticket renegade cyclists

Cyclists need to get off their high schwinns and obey the rules of the road, sadly very few actually do: wear helmets, stop at red lights, ride with the flow of traffic, not against, stay off the sidewalk, turn your music off/put your phone down so you are not distracted and get rid of any bike without breaks, they should be 100% illegal. When cycling miscreants break the law and hit someone, how will the injured party be compensated? Could be time for insurance and registration.

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Interesting rant

Is this related to the article at all, or just the generic anti-bike comment boomers copy and paste on every article?

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Myth-busters

Can we put this to bed already? It has been debunked that people riding bicycles break the laws more often than people driving or walking. Moreover it has definitely been shown that that the greatest danger on the road is when motor vehicles speed, not if a cyclist rolls through a light slowly after looking both ways.

This whole false exaggeration about cyclist behavior and victim blaming is getting tiresome. There is no epidemic of cyclist violence on pedestrians, there is, however an epidemic of traffic violence caused by cars. No one is saying ban all cars, people are just calling for design improvements to bring our streets from unsafe car dominated designs to designs that cater to multiple forms of mobility including pedestrians, wheelchairs, walkers, cyclists, strollers, scooters, etc. That’s what we have here on skillman and 43rd avenues!

You may not like cyclists, you may not like bike lanes, but consider that you may not understand the issue and should have some respect for people that do.

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Fan of Dough Boy Park

Source of your “ de-bunking” information please. A real source, not an advocate group. Thanks

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Educate yourself

Google is your friend. Search for “Do cyclists think they’re above the law, and does it even matter?”

But because you seem disinclined to believe experts, advocates, or anyone you disagree with, why not study the situation yourself!

Take a paper and pen and go out to a dangerous intersection and count the amount of cars, bikes, and pedestrian violations. Then you’ll have the data and will only need to disbelieve yourself!

It cracks me up when Patricia bemoans being called ignorant and uninformed in her recent rants. Sometimes you need to look in the mirror and accept your ignorance in order to learn about an issue and move on. You may disagree with it, and that’s your right. But self publishing a paper to more forcefully state your ignorance is really not productive and leads to posters like the fan of doughboy park feeling empowered in their uninformed and ignorant rants.

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Fan of dough boy park

Still waiting on the source. You didn’t name a source. You said it was de-bunked, and I say by who, and you say “ google it”.If Google is your source of facts, then I know I’m correct. Who’s your source? An unbiased, verifiable source. Again. You said it was de-bunked. OK then, by who?

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Fan of Park

“ rolls through a light slowly” LMAO, ok . And who exactly “ de-bunked” this idea of dangerous bicycles?

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Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance

Going to lay it out really nicely for you so you can read (even watch a video) and attempt to understand- or at least come to the realization that you don’t. Either way, you’ll learn something about the topic or yourself. A win win!

In all seriousness, you just don’t get to argue your way out of these kinds of things and shout down the people wielding facts and studies just because they’re inconvenient or unpalatable to you. As a person who takes road safety very seriously, it completely mystifies me to see otherwise rational community-minded people completely lose it over bikes and bike lanes. You should acknowledge and respect that serious work has gone into understanding cyclist behavior as it exists in a system designed around cars. As a very experienced cyclist I agree with a lot of what Marshall and Piatkowski say about scofflaw cycling, namely that it is not reckless and that the vast majority of cyclists do not break laws at markedly different rates than other road users.

Journal of Transport and Land Use:
Scofflaw bicycling: Illegal but Rational
https://www.ride-sport.si/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Marshall-Piatkowski-Scofflaw-bicycling_Illegal-but-rational.pdf
“When it comes to rule-breaking bicyclists, one popular opinion is that if bicyclists want to be taken seriously as road users, they need to obey the rules of the road like everyone else. Our survey results and the literature review both suggest that drivers break the rules of the road just as much, if not more, than bicyclists. The other common argument is that cities need to step up bicycle law enforcement to improve safety. While bicyclists are certainly not immune from causing harm, the literature suggests lower societal costs and safety risks associated with lawbreaking bicycling as compared to lawbreaking driving. Drivers speed, roll through stop signs, park in bike lanes, and run lights that have just turned red while still considering themselves to be law-abiding citizens. Despite research showing a causal link between such driving behaviors and increased crash rates, injuries, and fatalities, society continues to see these behaviors as rational decisions within our transportation system, other than in the relative minority of places that take Vision Zero as more than a buzzword. Our results suggest that bicyclists seem to be making the same rational choices. Curbing patently reckless bicycling behavior in our transportation system would certainly be a good thing; however, our results suggest that the overwhelming majority of unlawful bicyclists are behaving rationally and not recklessly. If Vision Zero is the goal, then we may want to prioritize enforcement efforts on road users with greater impact on actual safety outcomes.”

Transport London government study example with a snazzy video and plenty of sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBP2LTQxqZ8
http://content.tfl.gov.uk/traffic-note-8-cycling-red-lights.pdf
“The majority of cyclists (84%) obey red traffic lights.”

Florida DOT study example:
https://benzinazero.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/fdot-bdv25-977-13-rpt.pdf
“Bicyclist compliance in daytime/nighttime–The proportion of compliance with general traffic rules for bicyclists was 88.1% in the daytime and 87.5% in the nighttime, indicating that bicyclists showed similar patterns to comply with the general traffic rules. The proportion difference was not significant at a 90% confidence interval.”

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The naked truth

The above exchange is a perfect example of why the opposition to the bike lanes failed. You had the raw emotion of people like the anti-cyclist above versus the cool rationality of safety advocates. They never stood a chance.

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Fan of Dough Boy Park

The Journal of Travel and Land Use is a forum of World Society for Travel and Land Use research. You pay money and you can write anything. You pay money and get published. Nice try though.

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Cool story bro

But why waste your time on this?Fan of doughboy Park is an idiot. You’d have a better chance of getting his dog to understand. Just leave him alone.

Brings to mind a Mark Twain quote “don’t argue with stupid people, they will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

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VelvetKnight

@Fan of Dough Boy Park
Since it’s not a “real” source, per your definition, you should have no trouble explaining what the article got wrong, including its 9 pages of references.

I’m very interested in hearing your explanation. And don’t forget to include your sources.

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Anon

This is the approach rode to the 59st bridge, it was there before any of the schools. Move the f-ing schools that never should have been built in that location, we cant’t move the bridge. Build counter measures that force pedestrians to actually obey the law and act in their own interest.

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Anon

I don’t give a rat’s ass where they go. The schools should not have been built on the approach road to the 59st bridge. Now you bitch and moan about traffic to a bridge that was there first and is pretty hard to miss. Can’t believe they didn’t notice it when they built the schools. There going to learn, that’s adorable.

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Knickerbocker

The Manhattan-bound on-ramps to the bridge were built in the the 50’s – and before that the upper level was used for the Second Avenue Subway and for pedestrians. Using your logic why shouldn’t we go back to that… or maybe let’s go even further to when Queens was just potato farms? I’m just a Knickerbocker, nothing in NYC is set in stone or unchanging – it’s our responsibility to make sure the physical infrastructure of the city best fits the needs of all New Yorkers. Arguments about who or what was where first are pointless — and stupid.

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SuperWittySmitty

In the last 10 years, there have been 15 fatalities and over 760 severe injuries on this 5-block stretch of road. “They were not in the street. They were actually on the pavement — on the sidewalk — waiting to cross this street when a car plowed into them.” It’s NOT the pedestrians or the bicyclists, it’s the cars that are driving too fast and with reckless abandon towards the hundreds of pedestrians with whom they are sharing this space. Vehicular traffic (bikes included) need to slow down when there are many pedestrians present- 20 mph is the maximum speed that should be allowed. If drivers do not like having to drive slowly through these areas, they can either use the LIE and the tunnel or park their cars and get on mass transit.

(PS- This area wouldn’t have so many vehicles if there was a toll on the bridge- that there isn’t is another failure of our leadership.)

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rikki

As someone who DRIVES on Thomson almost daily. You are right schools should have been built 2 or 3 blocks off of Thomson you have the Q39 the 7 merging traffic from the bridge…. any “fixes” will make it worse. imagine 1or 2 less lanes, for people to get on Queens blvd off the upper deck….you think its bad now just wait. Stuck on the upper deck needing to pee, or car overheating, or an accident or a medical emergency…..you need traffic to keep moving.

So sorry pedestrians and bikers you just have to be a lot more diligent .

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VelvetKnight

I guess in a country where a large part of the population has decided guns are more important than school kids, it was only a matter of time before we heard the same thing about cars. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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James Madison

The Bill of Rights is more important than any idiotic statement that you make. Remember the 2nd amendment is the only thing that guarantees the other 9 of the original 10.

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Tea Lady

Every time I jog around there I almost mess up my knitting as a car or cyclist brushes by. This place is out of control and people are in road rage mode around the bridge in general. I want cameras, speed bumps for cars and cyclists and protected areas for runners. This is actually necessary all along Skillman Ave. Slow the crazies down!

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Queens Streets for LOL

Alright who do we cue up on this one?

How about the “statistician” who claims the city lies about Vision Zero statistics?

Or the retired drivers ed instructor that says with authority that “all cyclists should be licensed and insured?”

The octogenarian who posts photos and videos of “bike counts” as they (unsafely) drive up and down queens boulevard?

How about the out of touch publisher of a “Small Town” tabloid that can’t quite get REBNY conspiracies out of their mind?

Time to get the popcorn out!

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Pedestrians Matter Too

You forgot the helmet law for all cyclists, and an NYPD bicycle police squad to ticket them when they disobey traffic laws, all of which I’m in favor of. Too many bicyclists (not all) ride like ***holes and hurt pedestrians. All of this can work in conjunction with the proposed changes to Thomson Ave.

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Unlikely?

Agreed, that area is in desperate need for some pedestrian and cyclist improvements. Unfortunately the DOT has been asked to do something here before and have expressed that there is too much traffic to do anything. They are loathe to act when this is the case, making any significant action here unlikely.

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