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Video of Held Up Firetruck on Skillman Avenue Raises Concerns About Redesign, Driver Compliance

Screenshot via John McGarry on Facebook

Oct. 1, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

A new video posted to a local Facebook group shows a firetruck being blocked from traveling down Skillman Avenue–raising questions about public safety following the street’s recent redesign.

The video, just over a minute long and posted to the Woodside Pride group at around 8:45 p.m. yesterday, shows an angled firetruck from the local Engine 325/Ladder 163 firehouse on 51st Street, with lights and horns ablaze, unable to turn onto Skillman Avenue.

Two firefighters are also seen on the street, seemingly trying to direct the truck.

The truck appears to be blocked by at least two cars stationed in a striped buffer zone on Skillman Avenue, part of the Department of Transportation’s reconfiguration of the avenue to make way for protected bike lanes and other safety measures.

The truck eventually reverses a couple of feet back before pulling forward into 51st Street, presumably to make a turn onto 39th Avenue.

The video has already been shared by dozens, with many worried about the prospect of a delayed firetruck.

Several, despite the cars stationed over a new buffer zone, blamed the firetruck’s holdup on the newly implemented protected bike lane design, which included the elimination of a travel lane at the site.

“…Even if that car had parked illegally at the curb where there is a hydrant, the firetruck could have still made the turn,” reads part of a comment written by John McGarry, who posted the video to the Facebook group.

Gary O’Neil, owner of Aubergine Cafe on Skillman Avenue and a member of Queens Streets for All, a group that has pushed back against the redesign, said he was “disgusted” at the situation.

“This is not a surprise to anyone keeping an eye on this since the beginning,” he told the Sunnyside Post, adding that he and others, including firefighters from the local firehouse, warned the DOT that this would be a problem.

The avenue’s prior configuration allowed for the firetruck to turn despite illegally parked cars—an inevitability in New York City, he said.

“The reason the firetruck is having the issue is because of the new bike lane—period,” he said, later adding, “The issue here is that the city made a situation much worse than it ever was.”

Others, however, say the firetruck’s inability to turn is due to drivers ignoring clearly defined boundaries on the roadway.

“Selfish drivers who feel entitled to park where they want caused this, not bike lanes,” tweeted Peter Beadle, a transit advocate and member of Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee.

Juan Restrepo, Queens Organizer for Transportation Alternatives, said the redesign will do what it is supposed to do if people work with it.

“You have to blame it on people that aren’t respecting clearly engineered aspects of this plan,” he said, adding, “If you try to sabotage clear distinctions of ‘do not park here’, it’s not going to work.”

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said he watched the video several times, and that the illegally parked car prevented the truck from making the turn.

“I know some people do not like the bike lanes, but it is intellectually dishonest to blame everything on the bike lanes when the video evidence is clear that an illegally parked car is what caused this,” he said in a statement.

He added, however, that the city should do whatever is necessary to prevent illegally parked cars from blocking emergency vehicles.

The DOT also said the video footage clearly shows illegally parked cars where the design is intended to facilitate turning vehicles, especially large ones.

In June, the agency ran a field test that demonstrated the redesign would work with the firehouse’s largest rig, but made minor adjustments to reduce double parking and illegal parking in existing no standing zones.

“As mentioned in previous statements, we worked closely with FDNY to design this section of the project, and it incorporates all of their feedback about how best to address their needs,” a DOT spokesperson said.

Frank Dwyer, an FDNY spokesperson, said the department continues to work with the DOT to address issues and concerns at the intersection, including frequently illegally parked cars.

The DOT said is working with NYPD to educate and acclimate drivers to the new curb regulations to promote compliance.

Fire truck from the house on 51st unable to turn into Skillman Ave.

Posted by John Mcgarry on Sunday, September 30, 2018

email the author: [email protected]

148 Comments

shawn

Once again i have to state that the bike lanes are needed. People keep saying how they can’t see the bikers when they are trying to make a right turn off skillman ave. I’m like, ok you may not be able to see them, but really though and truthfully, if your make a right turn, and you go slow because face it the speed limit is slow anyway, you’ll be able to see if any biker is there. Now if the biker doesn’t pay attention and sees you turning, then thats a mistake on the biker. but if your slowing turning to the right, you should be fine. there really isn’t any excuse.

people here just seem to hate the bike lanes and will make any excuse necessary to back up their hate on the bike lanes. our real issue is the fact that we have far too many cars. This isn’t Long Island. This is a walkable community. Everything you need is walking distance. You dont need a car that seats 8 people in this neighborhood. Best to get rid of your car if your barely using it. Save yourself some money.

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rnbvn sunnyside

sorry my friends i am totally pro bike but the skillman bike lane is a horrible design! if you don’t think so go to skillman between 49 & 5o to see the way cars are parked! there is more room for a bike to get by then a firetruck! but hey no worries and not to be a cynical new yorker but as the firetrucks are trying to get down skillman those white bro bikers will get home swiftly and all those fast food delivery guys will get to your houses without delay!! thanks deblasio & JVB!

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Live on 39th

Now that we have protected bike lanes on skillman and 43rd ave, can we please remove the unprotected ones on 39th avenue. They are on both sides of the street. Frequently during morning rush, there are bikes on both sides and its frightening to negotiate 2-way car traffic and two-way bike traffic at the same time. Its not a very wide street.

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Skillz Man

Great idea. Too much traffic on 39th, esp now that cars are coming from skillman to avoid it.

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Reap

Well, perhaps the Fire Department should consider traveling to emergencies on bicycles, rather than an antiquated fire truck. Since hardly anyone uses these lanes, they would get to the emergency faster.

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rgd sunnyside

sunday on skillman almost got clipped by a guy speeding down the bike lane followed by a driver going in reverse back up skillman to make the right on 47th st. forces three bike riders to suddenly stop. the new safer skillman ave!

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Gardens Watcher

Maybe the bike lanes need speed bumps too? It’s all about safety, not speed, right?

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Sunnyside_Native

So the poles went up sometime this week, the tiny pedestrian islands look ridiculous. I am not against anyone who wants to ride a bicycle on city streets, I’ve ridden a bicycle down Skillman Avenue for over 40 years, and have never even have a near miss, long before any bike lane was even thought of. However, these lanes should have been put on a wider avenue, such as Northern Boulevard, especially since most of the business along Northern have their own parking lots. Just sayin’! DOT is ruining Queens. Woodhaven Boulevard is a mess too due to the new bus lanes and bus stop islands. Just wondering which mongering contractor won those bids?

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Joe Irizarry

Does anyone actually think that the city government would admit that they were wrong?

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Sean

Easy solution, the firefighters take a photo of the plate number, and the car owner gets $1,000 ticket mailed to their address of record. Make it so that the ticket can’t be contested. Open and shut case there. In fact, have the DMV note the insurance record, and jack their rates 20% for a year. That will get them to change their ways.

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Normal Norman

And in the meantime, people die. And because some people are doing this out of ignorance, not out of “selfishness” as TA people insist, it will happen over and over again.

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Jesse

It’s about the traffic build up in one lane on a street with many lights; it’s not just about illegal parking. So, this is not a comprehensive solution.

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Normal Norman

Bikers are the big babies screaming and whining (McCarnety Morris I mean you) until they get what Jimmy “promised.” “But, Jimmy, you promised!” was overheard at the CB2 meeting he and his worms infiltrated and tried to take over by passing out pro bike talking points. That boys club should be smashed open, I tell you. He caters to people who did not elect him and do not live here. It is sickening.

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Cool down, bro ;)

Unbelievably sickening post should frankly close the thread and all future articles should disallow posts. Seething violence in those words. This has really got to stop.

Queens streets stands with this in principle even while they say they disavow these kinds of people. And yet a few of their main organizers are those guilty of defacing public property, harassing our councilman, and literally muttering hatred towards cyclists on the streets.

Being soundly beaten by civically minded volunteers from organizations with decades of experience can hurt, but that didn’t even happen here and a line should be drawn. Patricia and her people just keep on feeding the pathology of these lunatics! There should be no more reporting on anything coming from that farcical group.

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Normal Norman

Funny, that is exactly how “those people” as you ignorantly term them, feel about you. The only thing that was soundly beaten was the proposal to put in the ridiculously obstructionist bike lanes on Skillman Avenue and making the neighborhood artery into an obstacle course in the hope that someday bikers from other places will use it. Transportation Alternatives may consider itself a paragon of enlightened progressivism but it’s wheedling, whining leadership can’t tell a success from a failure. When someone who needs help dies because the streets have been made too narrow for the traffic that needs to use it, TA and its people will carry the burden, even if they say they don’t. Denial is only effective if you are surrounded by fools, which TA is not.

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Immoral Society

Change your car for a bicycle for the following reasons:
(1) cleaner air… this might come in handy for respiration;
(2) a fatter wallet….. say good bye to fuel costs, parking fees, insurance car payments, maintenance, etc.
(3) a healthier waist… ill leave this part to your imagination.
It’s tough to argue against clean air, more cash and a nicer figure….or what?

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Gardens Watcher

Dear Immoral,
(1) never order anything online, so we don’t have to breathe the fumes from the diesel trucks that make your deliveries and clog our streets with their double parking.
(2) stay single for the rest of your life, and never have kids. Going to be difficult getting that kid, stroller, etc. onto your bike.
(3) pray that you become an orphan soon, so you’ll never have parents that come to visit with their car, and you’ll never have to drive to their house or nursing home to take care of them.
(4) pray that you never have an illness or an injury that prevents you from riding your bike, since you will be up sh*t creek without a paddle. And depending on Uber, Access-a-ride, or a friend with a car.
(4) pray for good weather, since the rain, snow and ice are no picnic.

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H

The buffer zone is greatly exaggerated on the now one lane Skillman section it didn’t need to be that wide.

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H

Also, DOT needs to get rid of the left painted line where the cars are parked so illogical drivers can understand that they have to park closer to the buffer.

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REALLY?

OMG yes! They are parked as far to the north side of the Ave as they can possibly be, tightening up the driving lane and allowing way to much space for the buffer. It is illogical that people would park that way. Park as if the edge of the buffer zone is the curb. Can’t believe we have to advise this….

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Gardens Watcher

It certainly is logical! If I had a kid in the backseat or an elderly person in the front seat, or even packages to unload, I would not park close to the bike lane. Gotta have room for the stroller, walker or wheelchair, or luggage cart. And it could take a while to unload too, and that’s in good weather. Wait for the snow piles to hit.

Before the bike lanes went in, there was little risk or impediments to exiting the car on the passenger side on Skillman or 43rd Ave. since you got out onto the sidewalk. And there was no bike traffic on that side of the car like there is now.

And who is going to shovel the bike lanes? The business owners or the homeowners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks of snow and ice in front of their property, but not the streets. Plus the street corners are notorious for being difficult to cross in a heavy snow since they don’t get cleared of snow right away, and then become slush puddles after that. Do you really think the bikers are going to navigate through that mess? Betcha they’ll be riding back in the middle of the street.

JVB & CB2 should have a plan in place for shoveling the bike lanes and clearing up the street corners before the first blizzard. Maybe the city needs some small ATVs or tractors fitted with a blade or a brush that can maneuver in these tight spots?

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rgs sunnyside

very much the case! almost comical to see that parked cars are hugging the traffic lane and not the bike lane! btw i’m on skillman everyday and i have yet to see a female biker since the bike lanes were implemented! and yes i’m pro bike where they make sense and for the sunnyside pro bikers i don’t see many people using these bike lanes so if you are so in support of the bike lanes then use them! for me i’ll stick with my legs! pollution and accident free at least i hope!

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Merriam Webster

red herring noun
Definition of red herring
1 : a herring cured by salting and slow smoking to a dark brown color
2 [ from the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs ] : something that distracts attention from the real issue

Examples of red herring in a Sentence
The argument is a red herring. It actually has nothing to do with the issue.
The plot of the mystery was full of red herrings.

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Theory

The firehouse should be relocated on to queens blvd. (even without the design change) It would prove to be much more efficient for both the fire dept & residents. There’s a nice piece of land next to Starbucks & a new state of the art facility would be better suited there.

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Gardens Watcher

I agree that it would be better to have the firehouse on a wider street, but not convinced QB is the best street.

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Woodside Resident

Sigh. The amount of vitriol here is exhausting. This was a safety improvement plan using evidence-based strategies that slow down traffic, reduce crossing distances, and separate cyclists from cars. 2017 had the lowest number of pedestrian deaths (101) since 1910. Vision Zero changes are good.

As a resident, I support support this plan and I’m tired of all the commenters who act as if nobody from the community wanted it. Safe, walkable, and bike-friendly streets are wonderful. Streets that look like parking lots and roads full of fast traffic are not. Living a block off of Skillman is great because I can walk to a bunch of local businesses on a pleasant, fairly quiet street. The more pedestrian friendly, the better, in my opinion. Cars in the past drove too fast. Crossing distances were too long to be safe for many elderly and disabled residents. The plan is a really positive change. Residents looking for a more car-centric community can literally move almost anywhere else in the country; walkable communities like ours are special.

This video shows how a driver (two actually, if I’m seeing it correctly) illegally and negligently parked in a manner that affected passage of an FDNY truck. That is not okay. There should be severe consequences for drivers who endanger others in such a manner. I’m frankly shocked by the “illegal parking is part of NYC” responses. I suppose those folks aren’t bothered by cyclists running red lights, since that’s just part of NYC, right? I for one would love to see more enforcement of traffic laws for all road users, cyclists and pedestrians included. Law breaking isn’t acceptable. It certainly isn’t a reason for disparaging a whole set of change to Skillman/43rd that make them significantly safer overall.

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shawn

thank you Woodside Resident! thats the word i was looking for, walkable communities. that is what sunnyside has always been. hence the huge parking issue we’ve always had. i dont care what most are saying, but our neighborhood has always been a walkable community. we dont need all these cars here, yet people still blame bicycle lanes and traffic. when the common issue are the cars. true, skillman ave has some crazy drivers where they would zoom down that hill on 50th street and skillman. but now with the one lane, drivers need to look for another route to take, which in my mind is best. use 39th ave, use roosevelt ave/queens blvd. yes those places are crowded too, well maybe not 39th ave, but drivers will need to realize they have to use another route now. the bike lanes are needed. i still suggest to remove all parking spots down skillman ave from 53rd to 44th st to only allow business trucks to make their deliveries to the stores and our courier trucks to deliver packages to our residents. skillman ave has always been littered with stores, and it’s always been difficult when their large food trucks are in the way.

also, whats with that large truck or storage mover on skillman between 51st and 50th st? it’s been there for a week or more now and doesn’t need to be there i believe. if finding a parking spot is your priority, good luck, and maybe rethink about owning a car. but really, our walkable community should not be this overcrowded with cars.

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Normal Norman's Mom

Sunnyside is a walkable community, especially for people who are able to walk, but Queens is not. Many people have jobs in parts of the borough inaccessible by public transport and for whatever reason they do not bike. The gardens was built with its own garage because developers knew we would need cars. And with the deplorable state of public transportation we need them more than ever. My station at 52nd St. earned the dubious distinction of being the worst station in the entire city just a few years ago.

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Gardens Watcher

There should be a large covered parking garage within reasonable walking distance for the area. Would be beneficial not only for local residents but for visiting family and friends. Could even house a bike storage area.

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Normal Norman

Safe For All, including people trapped in their homes by fire who can’t get help because McCarney Morris demanded an apology from JVB, and got it!

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Anonymous

If the elderly and disabled couldn’t cross skillman ave, please god dont let them cross queens blvd

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Gardens Watcher

The delayed green light has been a big help for pedestrians crossing QB. Why not implement the same on Skillman?

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Question to safety opponents

Let’s say you get a new car, much safer, better mileage, bells and whistles, the works. One of the buttons to control the AC in the back seats doesn’t work. Do you replace the car for the less safe, less efficient, less modern vehicle that barely passes inspection? Or do you fix the component?

This is a pretty simple comparison but should be a relatable one for many of you. Think about how the answer relates to this marketing campaign that uses everyday situations drivers cause to inconvenience themselves. This story is simply not fit to print.

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Normal Norman

your name is ugly. Your presumption about people who don’t agree with you shows you think with half a brain. There are more possibilities out there than you can conceive.

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Which is it, Norm?

You didn’t answer the question. Either the question (designed to be easy) was too hard or answering it (designed to expose your fallacious logic) was too hard.
Your move!

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Normal Norman's Mom

You are stupider than your name implies if you think I will respond to your banal question, the real discussion has moved beyond your simplistic parameters, but I guess you didn’t notice. No move required. Checkmate.

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Merriam Webster

ad hominem adjective
ad ho·mi·nem | \ (ˈ)ad-ˈhä-mə-ˌnem ,
-nəm \
Definition of ad hominem

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
an ad hominem argument

2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
made an ad hominem personal attack on his rival

rgs sunnyside

if ya think the bike lanes are creating problems now wait till the snows come.. horrible horrible design & planning..

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well said

Good thing no one has every ordered food for delivery in NYC during the winter, or your argument would be completely stupid!

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rgs sunnyside

must say lovin all this bru ha over a bike lane.. but seriously i live on skillman and spend most of my small life there and there are serious serious flaws with the design of the av now! as for fast food delivery in the winter i’m sure we will survive.. but not to date myself one should think about the days of mayor lindsay when much of queens was buried in snow for a week.. yes bike lanes are good in the right places but skillman hum i’ll have to think about that one..

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A Woodsider

If one is concerned about the air pollution caused by cars and trucks, one should be concerned about the planes arriving and departing from La Guardia Airport. They arrive low and loud every 30 seconds over PS11 and St. Sebastian’s. Smell and taste the jet fuel in our homes classrooms, and community. The city leases the land La Guardia is on and makes a lot of money! JVB does nothing regarding this pollution problem!

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Lou

Shut up you don’t taste nothing. This bike lane shit is stupid and now it looks even stupider

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A Woodsider

Bikes, motorized scooters, motorized bicycles should be licensed, registered and insured just as cars, trucks and motorcycles. Share the roads, share the responsibilities. The issue of bike lanes should have been voted upon by the people who live in the area. JVB puts a lot of issues up to a vote. He even gives lessons! Oh, I forgot, his husband is a big advocate of bicycles! Oops! I think JVB knew how the neighborhood would vote!

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Vin Dieselsmoke

Do any of these City Planners understand that we live in the Northeast? What do they think will happen when (not if) we have a serious “Winter Snow Storm”?
Has anyone else had their vehicle “Plowed In” by the Sanitation Snow Plows? If it snowed and the Fire Trucks (or any Emergency Service Vehicle) can’t get through, what will happen to those residents that may need Emergency Services?
This whole situation was rejected by the Community, yet Polly Trottenberg and the Mayor and our Local Elected Officials pushed it down our throats. Just remember them at the Polls in the future.

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Immoral Society

When there are winter storms all forms of transportation get more difficult. Lose the car and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

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Wow

There’s two other videos that need to be seen. The one with the ambulance in front of PS 11 on Skillman Ave. And the one where the Fire truck couldn’t even get out of the firehouse because of traffic back all the way up 52 due to gridlock on Skillman. Couldn’t get to 43rd Ave either. If you see nothing wrong with these three events I hope you have a working sprinkler system to help you out.

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rgs sunnyside

bike lanes on skillman a total joke! some sections of skillman went from two lanes to one lane and yes now when people double park it creates
problems! big surprise you ignorant city officials! i live on skillman and
i see maybe at best 20 to 30 bicycles riders a day! i did forget those bicycles that are on the sidewalk or speeding down the middle of the street! f**k you jimmy van b & de blasio!

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wait wat

half of the complains here: “there’s too many cyclists, it’s dangerous for pedestrians!”

the other half: “there’s barely any cyclists!”

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Woodside Cares

BAD DESIGN, bad plan, bad implementation.

If Van Bramer cared about becoming Borough President, he wouldn’t push through these unnecessary bike lanes to the detriment of people who live here.

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Curious Idiot

Not one of you mentioned the culprit for overriding the local community board or the majority of the residents,. DeBLASIO-yea DeBLASIO you fools. You are all such a bunch of hypocrites. Trump was mentioned twice in the comments above as if he had anything t0 do with the bike lane. Why don’t you all make sure to pick up another “i love everybody” button and attach it to your “save the planet” backpack. you bunch of phonies

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Tree of Liberty

Curious idiot… could not agree with you more..everything is Trumps fault. One did not get enough milk in their milkshake..Blame Trump…

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transportation anarchy

I think there is a bot that picks up anytime the word ‘bicycle’ is used and it sends alerts to transportation alternatives, who then send out a text to get their minions to comment. What a joke that org is. fight for a bike lane that doesn’t fit the ‘hood and then they wash their hands of it. How about educating bikers that they have to obey the same rules of the road that a car does? I should be able to cross the street when I have the light w/o having to worry about getting run over. We have already had a few people hit since the redesign.

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shawn

i agree that bikers also need to be educated, but to say that the bike lanes dont fit the neighborhood is just you blindly not aware of the neighborhood you’re living in. sunnyside has ALWAYS been a small, family, biking neighborhood. my family has lived here in sunnyside for over 4 decades. sure that may not be long for some, but we’ve seen the changes this neighborhood has gone through. i still live in sunnyside, right off skillman avenue and those bike lanes are greatly appreciated and needed. why? because prior to the current bike lanes, bikers have been hit by moronic car owners opening their doors to exit and not bothering to look first before opening their doors. causing bikers to hit and crash into the door, causing them to be injured, both the biker and the car owner exiting. how many times have we seen moronic drivers riding UP skillman avenue? I know in the 30 plus years i’ve been alive and living in sunnyside, i’ve seen way too many moron drivers riding up skillman when its clearly labeled as a one way street/avenue. while once again i do agree that bikers race down the street and do require education, why are we placing the blame entirely on the bikers? why aren’t pedestrians ALSO being held responsible for the choices they are making? i’ve also seen responsible bikers following the law and moronic pedestrians just not even bother looking both ways before crossing. skillman avenue is congested, even before the new lanes were implemented. people on both sides need to take responsibility. but once again, the real issue is that our neighborhood is over populated with cars and that somehow needs to end ASAP. people need to stop buying their SUV’s and trucks and bringing them to sunnyside. like why does anyone need to own a large truck? a large SUV? the only cars that should really be seen here are smart cars, and 2/4 door cars of avg size. sunnyside is not long island. sunnyside is a mix of suburbs and urban. it’s not just homes, its a lot of businesses, businesses that need their large trucks to park and deliver their goods. lets fix the car issues.

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SuperWittySmitty

There are far more people getting hit by cars than by bicycles. Bear in mind, the average resident of Sunnyside or Queens or NYC does NOT own a car and probably will never NEED to own a car. We’ve given so much real estate over to a minority who wants a private vehicle in a neighborhood where 90% of them are not even a necessity but a convenience. More bicycles and fewer cars will make our neighborhood and our city a better place. It’s already happening and in a few decades, cars will be phased out.

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Les Grossman

It has everything to do with bike lanes…..our community board votes against this

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SC

the bikes lanes need to go and need to go now. It is causing so many traffic jams and fire trucks can’t get across them. This was the worst idea ever . it needs to go and they did Not think about when the bad weather comes . SNOW !!!!!!!!!!!! now the snow plows how in the hell are they going to be able to do their jobs. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. THE COMMUNITY DID NOT WANT IT . WHY DID THEY PUT THEM UP.

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Michael Boylan

DeBlowsio kind of town trying to make every borough Manhattan-like. Destroying traffic flow will affect business as usual. Like the Bus lanes on Woodhaven Blvd. Wait until the first major snowstorm which has not happen yet.

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Greg

Your anti-bike lane articles/op eds are getting really tiring. Especially the quotes from “I’ve got my head up my ass” Gary O’neil, “. I suppose “Koo Koo for Cocoa Puffs” Pat Dorfman and “I lie like Trump” Manny Gomez will be featured in your next work of fiction.

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Don’t worry, Greg

While this paper may try to legitimize them (based on Pat’s former employment?), those three are pariahs in Sunnyside. People were laughing at them on Saturday and their comments at the community board meetings are completely and almost comically unhinged. Other media have cottoned onto this and don’t give them the time of day, but they’ll probably always have a friendly ear at the queens post.

I’m getting the popcorn ready for autumn leaves, any kind of rain or snowfall, and wondering how much time before Gary finally moves to a car friendly location so he sees how losing 90% of his business really feels. Much ado about nothing from the three amigos.

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NormalNorman

You don’t know enough people in Sunnyside because I assure you those people have tons of support. This issue has split the community in the most ugly, defeating way. Thanks to our ambitious city council person who has destroyed his career in city politics to make himself a cozy home among the edgy folks who write the kind of thing you just penned. Most people are normal, not like you.

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Greg

“This issue has split the community in the most ugly, defeating way.” Yes, thanks to Gary, Pat, and Manny.

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Anonymous

We’ve seen cars drive down the bike lane section when traffic in the one lane area isn’t moving quickly enough! So dangerous!

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BR

JVB,DOT, TA and others:
What world are you living in ?
Illegal parking in NYC is a way of life- always has been , always will be.
You morons did not factor this into the equation?
Guaranteed- eventually this will result in a loss life.
It is time to tear everything up and restore the avenue to it’s original design.
This is from a cyclist who regularly rides on Skillman Avenue.

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Sunnyslide

Cars can be parked illegally not allowing passing traffic with or without the design. The point is that they are parked illegally BECAUSE it inhibits traffic. So instead of blaming the stupid driver you blame bike lanes? Your point is so moronic.

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BR

Sunnyslide
Obviously you do not live in the real world.
This city is full of stupid drivers and will continue to be.
Yes- I blame the stupid driver, not the bike lane.
Face reality- illegal parking will continue on Skillman
Someday, resulting in a tragedy

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JQ LLC

It is the fault of the DOT and that ridiculous street design, it’s very easy to scapegoat the double parking driver. Because the bike lane is actually ample enough for the fire truck to fit. TA can go screw themselves, they want the city to be totally devoid of vehicle ownership.

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shawn

wait are you seriously saying the firetruck at 52nd street can fit down the bike lane? are you kidding?

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Just Asking

the buffer zone & bike lane in the one lane area is large enough for cars to drive thru. we’ve seen this happen. why is there just the one lane on the east end of skillman avenue? has dot explained this difference to anyone?

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VelvetKnight

It’s not scapegoating when the driver actually is the one who chose to illegally park and block the truck. That’s called assigning blame to the guilty party.

Scapegoating is blaming a bike lane for a driver who chose to park illegally.

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GhoulWatch 3000

This is what happens when Transportation Alternatives deploys Trump-esque tactics to give a neighborhood poorly redesigned streets that the majority of the community voted against. The design of our streets should not be dictated by a bunch of red light running white bros in spandex.

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Wolfsbane

@GhoulWatch 3000

Trump-esque tactics? Are you a moron? Trump has absolutely nothing to do with this, nor does his style particular of governance. The world of ‘what’s wrong’ does not revolve around this idiot. We have plenty of other idiots capable of screwing things up. This is so far below Trump’s pay grade, he wouldn’t even scrape this problem off his shoe.

There’s a village missing it’s idiot somewhere. You really ought to go back to it.

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MarkinWoodside

I watched the video. I also looked on facebook. I did not see where the person who posted the video blamed anyone or made any judgements.
Why is everyone here so quick to point fingers?
There is an issue here that needs to be addressed. Why all the finger pointing?
Honestly, I think it a combination of problems. The bike lane and the lack of parking forcing people to take chances and park where they shouldn’t

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FFBKNYC

This is ridiculous. I’m a firefighter myself and I will tell you it’s the fault of the car parked halfway into the crosswalk. If it was stuck behind an unattended double parked vehicle on a side street what would we do get rid of all parking on every block? Give me a break on this one. It also kind of looked like he could have just made the turn anyway.

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Vin Dieselsmoke

Just wait for the snow. Having been in the trucking industry for over five decades, I understand how snow affects truck traffic. Cars aren’t parked right at the curb, a truck driver can’t make the turn as the roadway is now narrowed. Fire Trucks included. We don’t live in a warm climate year ‘round, add a foot of snow to the equation and you have a formula for disaster, how many “Spandex Clad” Bicyclist Commuters will this “exercise in futility” actually serve on a yearly basis?
This was the product of flawed thinking and lack of any real “Environmental Impact Studies”.

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Sunnyside resident

Bike lanes could be placed in numerous other places that would be safer for the cyclists and less of a disrupter of this lovely little business district. I haven’t seen the grocery’s trucks unloading yet with the new configuration, but they are essential to the neighborhood and also ALWAYS need to double park. Then what?!

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Sunnyside College Student who knows how to cross a street and ride a bike without city aid.

Smaller trucks? Okay as someone who worked at that skillman Key Food for 2 years, I would just like to say we have nothing to do with that. They go to dozen of grocery stores a day. Their trucks carry enough goods for all their daily deliveries. So if you want smaller trucks why don’t you try to call company’s like lays. They’ll tell you the same thing as me… take that idea and shove it back up where it came from.
I hate this yuppie crap. Just open another lane again.

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great point

Agreed, we should sacrifice everyone’s safety so that trucks can break the law.

Sure, innocent people will die, but at least tomatoes will get delivered 3 minutes faster.

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Redesign

It is clear that ANY type of blockage or incident on Skillman will cause delayed response times for emergency vehicles. You can’t be that arrogant that you would deny this fact.

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Sunnysider

Skillman had two lanes here previously, so even if someone blocked one, you had the other…..

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sunny

No, it doesn’t. Not at 51st/Skillman, precisely where the firetrucks need to make that turn. It is down to one lane. Do your homework.

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Anonymous

N0t between 56th street and 48th street. There is only 1 lane. After 48th street it becomes two lanes now. That is the problem.

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Anonymous

Councilman, even if the Fire Engine could make the turn, how do the law abiding drivers move their cars to the side in a traffic jam at a light when there is only one lane to let the fire engine, ambulance, or police car to pass on Skillman Avenue?

Sunnyside Post, please post the PS 11 ambulance video in which the ambulance is standing still for 4 minutes due to the single lane not moving found on Facebook posted in September.

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MRLIC

This is ridiculous. The only reason the truck is having an issue is because of the illegally parked cars.

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Anonymous

How is that supermarket Fresh and Save going to get its merchandise when that supermarket tractor trailer has to unload merchandise? Park at the striped buffer zone? No, what if it’s already taken? You can’t block traffic. DOT needs to start hiring genius employees.

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Tommy O

Anonymous- That supermarket has a loading dock on 50th street off skillman Ave. Right around the corner.

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Sunnysidal

This is an absolute utter atrocity!!!!! I cannot believe the nerve of some people… 😤😤😤😤😤
How can you possibly still film vertically in 2018??

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Anonymous

The School’s Chancellor is going to be at PS 11 on Wednesday, October 17th at 6:30 PM for a Town Hall Meeting. The PTA and neighborhood residents must come out and tell him that the children at PS 11 and PS 150 are in danger with the single lane on Skillman Avenue in getting emergency vehicles to and from the school. Show him this video and the even more so the earlier video of an ambulance outside PS 11 stuck in traffic for 5 minutes without moving. We need to hold the Mayor, the Chancellor and our Councilman accountable for this decision with its unsafe single lane conditions outside of PS 11 and the impact on the fire house on 51 Street which endangers our children every day at both PS 11 and PS 150. This way, we go on public record with the Chancellor and the City to prevent a tragedy before it happens and they say they did not know ahead of time.

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Immoral Society

What the? How is it possible that you’re going to call for the elimination of bike lanes in the name of children and school safety? Are you trying to be the evil counter part of captain planet? “In the name of children, please add more lanes of ultra polluting heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses in place of these sinister bike lanes”. Psew.

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yo yo ma

it should also be noted that recent road reconfigurations have significantly reduced the number of parking spaces in the area, which results in much more difficultly finding legal spots .

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Note it all you want, it doesn't excuse this

Geez, I’m having a hard time parking. I’ll just park wherever I want to, fire department be damned.

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outrageous

wtf? all DOT descisions should be based around me having a free place to store my private property…not public safety!

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VelvetKnight

Is it “significant?” What percentage of total spaces was lost? Also, what are the stats for neighborhood car ownership and commuters parking in the area over the last few years? And how does that number compare with the parking spaces “lost” to make safer streets?

I’d be willing to bet the second number has had a far greater impact than the bike lanes, but I haven’t heard anyone talking about how to stop people in the area from buying cars.

I could be wrong. Do you have any numbers to back up your claim?

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gadg

Also, I didn’t know Gary was so anti-street safety.

I guess I’ll go to Firefly instead.

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Alison McKenna

I cycle that way every day to work, along with many others. And we are endangered by the drivers and illegally parked cars with and without the bike lanes. Cars block at least part of the lane every day.
Also, since when is it the city’s obligation to give you a free place to store your propety on the street every day? (And yes, I am a long-time driver as well).

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Me

As much as I don’t like the way they designed these bike Lanes (unless they are dedicated completely separate roads) this has nothing to do with bike Lanes. What about smaller streets where there are no bike lines, same thing happened several times on side streets.

Many other residents mentioned here that double parking, driveway blocking and loading unloading in bus zones is a serious issue in Sunnyside. Fire trucks and ambulances must be given authority to ticket vehicles immediately with a very hefty fine.

Trucks are biggest offenders. On skillman hey double park because they want to wait for other truck to finish unloading. This is not an industrial area, size of trucks that can deliver produce or products MUST be regulates. 53 foot trailers have no place in streets other than queens Blvd or large two way roads.

Forget mta, noone can fix it, fix our streets, noise pollution and idling trucks. Than you’ll have my vote.

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Illegally parked cars block fire engine raising concerns over enforcement

Re-wrote the headline for you. This is an enforcement issue for the 108th, certainly not a design issue!

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Anonymous

This right here. They should have just cleared pedestrians and flipped those cars over on their sides. Ridiculous to blame bike lanes for illegal parkers. I hope they at least received summons for illegal parking and for blocking emergency vehicles.

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Immoral Society

Correct. It’s time to start heavily fining and towing these cars to make further safety improvements.

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shawn

here’s a thought, no parked cars at all starting from 53rd street and skillman, all the way down to 44th and skillman. this neighborhood has always had a huge parking problem. even before the new bike lanes were passed. there are way too many car owners living in what is a small cramped, old fashioned neighborhood like Sunnyside. While i know there are homes here, people are starting to treat Sunnyside as if it were Long Island. Where everyone can bring their large 2 door SUV car that sits 7 people. Sunnyside needs way less cars. If your primary residence is sunnyside, and no other place, give up your car. rentals are more widely done nowadays if you need to go far or visit fam outside of queens. but the big issue is that we have far too many people that own cars. sunnyside is more for those who walk and ride their bikes.

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Zinsu

Applauding wildly. Thank you! If people NEED their cars (I’ve lived here for 28 years without one, but whatever), why not build a big parking garage on QB or Northern Blvd., and keep the residential areas car-free except for deliveries and emergency vehicles? I’d vote for that.

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Sunnyside_Native

If you took a look at when it seemed as if everyone in Sunnyside had at least 2 cars, it really seems as if it coincided with Uber/Lyft and Green Cabs. Remember when taxis were not allowed to park on the street? How about those big high-hat vans that are no doubt commercial and illegally parked on the street, but because they don’t register them as commercial, well, there they are……….. Now, I agree that there are too many vehicles, and I didn’t own a vehicle here in NYC until I started to take care of two elderly relatives, who cannot walk/MTA or bicycle around town, yes, they need a ride even 2 blocks away, and no, they are not eligible for Access A Ride, nor would they want to miss appointments due to that poor service. They used MTA as long as they could, however, they cannot now. There are reasons people have vehicles in Sunnyside, not always just because they can. How about people who drive for work reasons, and not in Manhattan, but outer Queens, Nassau and Suffolk? How about people who work in dangerous areas at night? Don’t be so generalizing about car owners in Sunnyside. I have been happily yielding to cyclists and pedestrians as long as I’ve been driving here, however, now DOT has caused the issue of “YOU CANNOT SEE THE CYCLISTS COMING DOWN SKILLMAN WHEN MAKING A RIGHT TURN DUE TO THE CARS PARKED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!!!!”

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Zinsu

Thanks for your post, Sunnyside_Native. An honest, not snarky question: would it be more affordable/easier to call a car service or ride share when your relatives need transportation? Seems it would be simpler/cheaper than having to pay insurance, look for parking, pay a car loan, etc. If I’m wrong, let me know.

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Sunnyside_Native

I completely agree, yes, it would be cheaper and more convenient and less aggravating, however, I’m guessing when you’ve reached the 80 years milestone and have debilitating breathing issues along with crippling arthritis, it may be difficult to wait for car services that have seating that is low/high enough to get in and out, and the familiarity of a family member driving and accompanying them might be more comforting than an Uber? I would love to be able to pocket my car payment, insurance and parking monies and pay a mortgage outside of NYC, but for the meantime, I think I’ll just keep doing something meaningful for my elderly family members who deserve it at this point in their lives. PS-Smart phone literacy is an issue for my elderly family members as well, so the oh so simple Uber/Lyft/Curb apps don’t work as well for them.

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Gardens Watcher

Absolutely great comment, Sunnyside_Native! You go on doing what you can for your parents and know that you are making a big difference in the quality of their lives. Having taken care of my parents in a similar but worse health situation out of the local area, I totally can emphasize with your situation. No one, not even posters who have some kind of a moralistic anti-car mantra, should be able to dictate or decide whether you need a car or not.

I agree too that it is way more dangerous to make a right turn off Skillman, and I am a very careful driver but nearly had a collision recently since the rider was speeding down the hill.
I totally agree that the large high-hat vans and ride-share SUVs such as Uber and taxis should be classified as commercial vehicles and made to park in a commercial lot.

What's the use....

That is a problem. You can’t see the bikes coming down Skillman when your making a right turn. What happens when your driving a van without windows in the side…. even more problems. When I ride my bike I realize some of the problems drivers have seeing cyclists….. Alot of cyclists are clueless I hate to say.

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Chad

Don’t care if there were 10 illegally parked cars, this redesign has been a bust. I couldn’t count how many people I’ve seen get clipped by cyclists who don’t stop at red lights since this redesign was implemented – and now this.

Should I even begin to mention the film crews that are robbing us of parking?

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Immoral Society

No chad, you shouldn’t. But what you should mention is that cars are far more dangerous than bikes. What’s more – bikes cause far less pollution. Air pollution is becoming a public health crisis. Thanks for putting cars ahead of air quality. Sheer brilliance!

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shawn

i’m sorry Chad, while I agree that cyclists have been known to run the red light. I dont put the blame solely on them. What happened to looking both ways before crossing? had people done their part in being responsible, they wouldn’t get clipped.

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VelvetKnight

I also can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people get clipped by bikes in the neighborhood since this redesign (or even before it).

Because technically you can’t count to zero…

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Nicole

This redesign is terrible. We don’t even have enough cyclists on Skillman to need the change.

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But I was just left my car there for a minute!

There’s a reason you’re not allowed to park where ever you want. “Just for a minute” is a BS excuse. Get your car the F— out of the way!

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Let's blame kittens too

This is obviously the fault of the illegally parked cars. It’s an illegal parking space for a reason: FDNY tested the turn and decided it was a no-parking zone.

So why would sunnysidepost even *mention* the redesign in the article’s title? Why would it ask anti- and pro-bike-lane activists for a comment? All it does is validate those ignorant few who would blame this on cyclists.

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Anonymous

Just pull out more parking spots that should be legal
so that you get frustrated and park anywhere. What a
joke that has turned into!

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gadg

It’s the cyclists fault even when it’s not????

This is why the buffer zones should be mountable concrete and not just paint on the street. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cars blocking the turn were owned by cops too.

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longtime resident

If there was adequate parking in the neighborhood, people wouldn’t park illegally. But there isn’t, and the bike lanes exacerbated the problem. Funny to hear Jimmy talking about intellectual honesty. He’s the most dishonest politician in NYC. Wait, I’m wrong, he’s second to his puppetmaster, Bill de Blasio

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shawn

once again, the real problem aren’t the bike lanes. It’s the fact that our neighborhood is overrun by so many car owners. that avenue needs all the parking to be given up and it be for the businesses that run down skillman ave so that their delivery trucks can make their deliveries. so that UPS/Fedex/USPS can park and do their deliveries. So that Conedison, Time Warner and Verizon can park and do their scheduled appts. skillman ave even before the bike lanes was horribly over crowded with cars and trucks making deliveries. i still say from 53rd street and skillman ave, down to 44th and skillman should not allow residential parking. it should be reserved for those businesses with their trucks to park. until we fix the overcrowding of our neighborhood with people treating it like it’s the new Long Island, we will ALWAYS have parking issues. i mean, how sad is it that if you wait until after 4pm to find parking, you probably wont get a spot near your apt or home. dont even mention those coming in after 6pm to try and find a parking spot. because it’ll be found several blocks away from where they live. if there are people living in this neighborhood that own two cars? get out! sell one of the damn cars, your taking up valuable space in this small area of ours. if you actually own a driveway/garage, use it! if your expecting family from out of town, tell them to park elsewhere or dont even both coming with a car, because they end up stealing parking spots for those of us who actually live here. Sunnyside needs to start somehow getting rid of cars from owners that arent needed. i’m very surprised anyone in this small neighborhood even needs a car. our family gave up our car around 95, and they owned a car since 1980. they gave it up since they couldn’t find parking close enough or they’d spend an hour a night going around every block trying to find one. parking is a pain in this area.

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I'm not a robot

boo hoo, that’s a sad story. Get sunnyside gardens residents to own up to their parking garages and require them to be used as parking not storage/whatever reason they are using them for, they block whole row of street on several blocks with unused garages. They need to be linked to each house and require usage, oterwise tear those down and allow people to park there.

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maga again

Two car drivers were so selfish they blocked the path of a firetruck?! Blame cyclists!

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Ref

Not that the drivers aren’t at fault. But a protected bike lane doesn’t inherently mean that bikers are going to follow the rules of the road

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markinwoodside

That’s the crux of the problem! Bikers are getting themselves injured and killed because they feel they are too privileged to have to stop at red lights. They drive down one way streets the wrong way, ride on sidewalks, blow through crosswalks with no regard for pedestrians.
I do not oppose bike lanes but all the bike lanes in the world will do no good so long as bikers have no regard for their own safety or the safety of others!

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VelvetKnight

Streets with bike lanes have been proven to reduce crashes and injuries for pedestrians far more than for bikers. So anyone “biased towards pedestrians” should be fully in support of this redesign.

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Lance Carstrong

What a load of propaganda. The reduction has to do with speed/red light cameras, delayed green lights and the lowering of the speed limit. If anything more peds are in peril from the 90% of bikers that don’t obey the rules of the road.

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SS&I

BS. the reason for the reduction of fatalities has been the increase in red light/speed cameras & the lowering of the speed limit. bike lanes have nothing to do with it. If anything they have made being a pedestrian that much more dangerous, as they zip thru red lights as if they don’t have to obey the rules of the road. I feel like I need a helmet every time I step off the curb. Also, why the hell are bikers NOT driving in the bike lane? almost half of them are still riding alongside cars. It’s there now, so use it. Stupid , selfish and irresponsible.

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VelvetKnight

To the people saying it was because of speed cameras:

The study I’m referring to in the city (which has been corroborated in similar studies around the world) was done in 2013. Before the speed limit was reduced and the cameras were put in. I know you won’t believe me, so look up the dates yourself.

Gardens Watcher

Optics, I like the Sunnyside Post too but they seem to be seriously biased toward positive optics for JVB and developers. We do have other elected representatives, but rarely hear about them.

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