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Volunteers to Clear Litter Off Bike Lanes, Sidewalks in Community Clean-Up This Weekend

Litter seen on Skillman Avenue’s bike lane and sidewalk near 39th Street (Sunnyside Family Fun Bike Ride/Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee)

Jan. 28, 2019  By Nathaly Pesantez

A group of volunteers will be clearing litter and debris from Sunnyside’s protected bike lanes and adjacent sidewalks as part of a community clean-up scheduled for Saturday.

The three-and-a-half-hour clean-up, co-hosted by the organizers behind the Sunnyside Family Fun Bike Ride and Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Volunteer Committee, will start at 10 a.m. on Feb. 2, where volunteers will focus on the sidewalks and bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Avenues between 41st Street and Queens Boulevard.

The organizers, all residents of neighborhoods including Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights and Astoria, say the clean-up areas, stretching through the industrial and somewhat remote parts of the avenues, have taken to accumulating much trash and debris compared to the “upper” portions of the avenues.

“Hundreds of cyclists and cyclist commuters use the Skillman lanes for access to the Queensboro Bridge, and for the business and transit hubs at Queens Plaza and Queensboro Plaza,” the groups said in the joint release, adding that many families with young children also use the bike lanes and foot-paths in these sections, especially during the summer.

The clean-up is also meant to send a message to residents, property owners, and elected leaders in the area that the littered state of the pathways are “simple unacceptable,” the organizers said.

“There seems to be an acceptance of litter in some stretches of the community—and long before any talk of bike lanes—that we hope to shed light on,” said Alan Baglia, one of the event’s co-organizers.

Litter on Skillman Avenue as seen on Jan. 4 (Photo by Dietmar Detering)

Transportation Alternatives will be donating yellow vests for volunteers to wear while carrying out the cleanup in the roughly 15-block stretches, while the Jackson Heights Beautification Group will provide cleaning supplies like gloves, trash bags and barrels, brooms and more. A cargo bike will also be on site for hauling debris and trash bags.

The organizers are aiming to fill up about 30 bags with litter and debris from the designated clean-up areas, which NYC Sanitation will pick up near the intersection of Skillman and 43rd Avenues by 32nd Place at around 1:30 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering are welcome to simply show up—dressed appropriately—to the clean-up sites throughout the duration of the event. The kick-off, however, will start at the entrance of Lou Lodati Playground near 41st Street and Skillman Avenue at 10 a.m.

Hot chocolate will also be provided to volunteers on behalf of the organizers.

The Feb. 2 event, with a rain/snow date for Feb. 3, is the first clean-up organized by the groups, which had thought about conducting a sweep through the bike lanes after thumbtacks were discovered on 43rd Avenue late last year.

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98 Comments

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Reign

I saw puddles in the bike lane today!! We need to help the poor hipsters so they don’t get wet!! Bring sponges and bounty ‘quicker picker upper’!!

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Zambonis belong @ the skating rink

The delivery guys weren’t the babies whining about leaves and a few bags in the bike lane. Bunch of wimps. What next? a Zamboni to clear out the snow and ice from the ill conceived bike lane? That actually happened yesterday. Before the actual roadway was done, where kids are riding in public buses, all for the 3 morons that rode to work in snow and ice. complete waste of time/resources, an utter disgrace

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VelvetKnight

Dude, the first word of the headline is “volunteers.” Why are you getting enraged over what people do with their free time?

As for the sweeper, it’s a safe bet that at least 90% of the people who used the bike lanes yesterday were delivering food to people who didn’t want to go outside in the slush. They’re doing a service for the neighborhood, and you’re upset that they get to do so safer?

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nightmare de velveteen

In the middle of a snow/ice storm the last thing the city needs to worry about, in its long list of priorities, is a bike lane. Kids safety comes first. While a delivery guy, or joe hipster, can do their job without a bike, a kid needs a school bus. Clearing the roads for buses, emergency vehicles and cars comes first. If you can’t grasp that you are a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

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VelvetKnight

Anyone who can’t drive in 1/2 inch of snow shouldn’t be driving a 10-ton school bus. There wasn’t even that much snow on the ground. 1/2 inch is what streets ALWAYS look like in the middle of a “snow/ice storm” even after they’re plowed.

Get back to me next time schools are open while there’s 3 feet of unplowed snow in the street but the bike lanes are 100% cleared. Then you’ll have an argument. But 1/2 inch? If you’re panicking about that, move back to Atlanta or wherever you’re from.

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Mike O

Let the people who collect public assistance/welfare go out and sweep ,do something to justify getting a check

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Suckieside,ny

Why would i volunteer to clean a bike lane in this overpriced area. With what housing market is, rent sky high, let the home and businesses do it. SCREW OFF

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Moe green

Invent a sweeper bike similar to a street sweeper and then hire the private industry to sweep the bike lanes for the city. Then The city can bid the contract out and the gangsters can bid rig the contract. Then they will develope a union for the bike sweeper drivers and control that. Then the whole city can go back to normal, the mob guys will be back in business and the bike people can go happy pedaling in an environmentally safe bike lane.

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Dear Member of the Peaceful Old Guard

Thanks for bringing war to Sunnyside JVB. We were just to peaceful for you, it seems. You are what I have heard the Chinese call “the stick that stirs up muck from the bottom.”

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VelvetKnight

“Thanks for bringing war to the Colonies, George Washington. We were just to peaceful for you, it seems. You are what I have heard the Chinese call “the stick that stirs up muck from the bottom.””
—King George III of England.

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tiniest violin

I walk along Skillman a few times a day, there is barely any trash. Just some leaves. Poor bikers, my heart bleeds for them. What else should we do, perhaps cut down the trees to ensure their toys don’t have to drive over some fallen foliage? NYC streets are not for the weak, too many bikers fall into that category.

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Stronger violinist

We are all weak. Your hatred masks your unwitting/unwilling understanding of street safety.

Cyclists actually share a lot with senior citizens in that a fall on the road can mean serious injury or death. Projects like this one keep road users of all ages and modes safer by slowing cars and dedicating more space to non-vehicular use.

Road design should account for the weakest and most vulnerable users, and this award winning design is certainly a prime example of this principle.

Remember that when you “take off the muscles” and step out of your protective steel cage, you’re just as vulnerable as the rest of us.

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Cello crushes violin

Pedestrian deaths went UP in 2018, so much for the mayor diclownio and his BS ‘road diet’. In my 20+ years in Sunnyside I’ve never come close to getting hit by a car, can’t say the same for morons on bikes that routinely violate the law, as if the rules of the road do not apply to them. If 1 biker in 10 stops for a red light it’s a miracle. Bikers do serious damage to pedestrians. now that you have your own little piece of the road use it responsibly.

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Gerald

Shhh, drivers don’t want you posting anything that goes against their logic. Similar to fake news…

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Put down the instruments and read

Again, your hatred masks your unwitting/unwilling understanding of street safety.

Pedestrian deaths have reached epidemic proportions nationwide over the last decade with a 35% increase between 2008 and 2017 meaning nearly 50,000 gone. NYC is one of the many examples of a cities proactively combatting this by implementing life saving road diets like the ones we have on Skillman and 43rd Avenue. In the last decade pedestrian deaths here have decreased considerably, with anywhere from 0 to 2% being caused by bicycles (98-100% by cars). That’s cold comfort for the thousands of local families affected, but we need to keep pushing for safer road designs to drive the number down to zero, and we need to this faster.

Read ‘Dangerous By Design,’ the brand new report by the national group Smart Growth America. It dives deeply into this issue and will put into context where we stand in NYC, why we have been so successful, and why slowing cars is so necessary as the industry moves in the safer direction we see on our streets.

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VelvetKnight

1. Total traffic deaths went down in 2018. The point to the street redesigns is they’re safer for EVERYONE, which includes drivers. By that metric, it’s succeeding.

2. We’ve had five years in a row of decreases in pedestrian deaths. No system is perfect, and there are always fluctuations, regardless of the topic. You need to look at the trend, and the trend is clearly positive.

3. You commented on the number of pedestrian deaths and went on to speechify about the evils of bikers. But did you bother to look up what percentage of those 114 people were killed by bikes rather than cars? Because if you did, you’d see your anti-bike rant (true or not) had nothing to do with your opening sentence.

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VelvetKnight

If you think bikers are bad you should see how drivers react to losing a handful of spaces to park their massive hunks of private property, or how some pedestrians react to a biker “almost hitting them” by passing within 10 feet.

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George

Hey…… I’ll be there sigming autographs for anybody who shows up. You don’t know me and I’m not famous but I’ll be signing them !!

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John O'Reilly

I have no doubt that in future years, the bike lanes will be dismantled because they are a waste of municipal resources and contrary to the public good, but any effort to clean our public places of garbage should be applauded. Volunteers should be warned to look out for thumb tacks.

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Users22

I have no doubt that you’re wrong. These traffic-separated bike lanes are an excellent infrastructure improvement that will become more essential as they expand into a complete network throughout the city. It’s true that there is a demographic of extremely obnoxious “cyclists” who seem to believe that riding a bike is a lifestyle rather than a transportation method, but let’s not allow them to represent the rest of us.

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Gerald

Mr. O’Reilly, you sounds like all the other baby boomers who love cars and hate bicyclists. Too bad your prediction is far from the truth; in fact, people will realize that it makes much more sense to commute via bicycle and stay in shape rather than continue to pollute the environment and add to the neverending traffic issues all over Queens.

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Anonymous

The supermarket & copper kettle does not clean up on 50th ever. The litter comes from their driveways and the garbage that gets thrown out at the end of the day fly’s everywhere! I’m sure most of the garbage on the bike lanes come from there. Rite Aid on 51st is bad too….

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rgs sunnyside

enjoying all this banter about bike lanes rarely used.. take the time to walk along all of skillman and you will see sections where the bike lane & it’s shoulder are wider then the sidewalk.. duh.. nice design? no! these bike lanes are a mess!

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dietmar detering

The horribly sidewalk between 39th ST and Queens Blvd, north side along Skillman Avenue, was just as horrible when there was no bike lane. Lot’s of potential for improvement there, but you can’t blame the bike lanes for this situation. Or are you referring to front yard shrubbery taking over the sidewalk on sections of Skillman Avenue, north side again, between 46th and 43rd Street? Again, what do bikes have to do with that? The property owners need to do some aggressive pruning – perhaps you can tell them and make a difference.

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VelvetKnight

You’re blaming the bike lanes for narrow sidewalks that existed before the bike lanes? ?

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Send in the clowns

We should make a list of everything these detestably ignorant people blame on the bike lanes. We have this person claiming they cut back sidewalks, another guy claiming they make the streets dirtier (never heard of particulate matter/car exhaust/pollution?). What next? Bike lanes make seasonal allergies worse? I thought trying to scare people about fire safety was the pinnacle of this dangerous idiocy, but they keep lining up to one up themselves.

The running commentary on this website, last year’s incoherent rambling on Woodside Herald/Pat’s continuing Facebook presence/the entirety of the thinly veiled propaganda of the baffling “Small Town Confidential,” read like a sad document of cognitive decline.

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Been Libeled Myself

Your venom is way out of line. And your viscous, unfounded comments aimed at one person amount to libel. You deserve to be brought to court, convicted and heavily fined for your deplorable lack of ethics.

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Free speech

Opinions are free, popular or otherwise. To censor opinion about public figures would be a mistake.

That being said, that was certainly uncivil and comments should be moderated. Why can’t we all just be friends?

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Gerald

Been libeled myself, I’m an attorney and you sound more foolish than our president with that kind of language!!! You sound more funny than anything else!

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VelvetKnight

A few things I’ve already seen blamed on the bike lanes:
-A fire truck that couldn’t turn because of an illegally parked car.
-Car windows getting smashed under the LIRR tracks.
-Two people getting killed on a motorcycle when going the wrong way on a one-way street.
-Sidewalks that were too thin before the bike lane existed.

Also, not our hood, but I saw an article about a lady in Spanish Harlem complaining that the sound of bikes changing gears was waking her up at night. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Users22

The bike lanes are first, then the bikes come as people discover that they can actually ride safely without being a risk to themselves and, equally important, drivers (bikes in car lanes are a terrible idea most of the time). When CitiBike expands to your neighborhood you’ll see a real boost in use of those lanes – bikeshare is terrific for getting around within the immediate area and ends up making the entire neighborhood more accessible to people who don’t want to talk 20 minutes across the neighborhood but will happily take a quick bike ride to do so.

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Gerald

The answer is humans are making this trash appear everywhere. I see people throwing garbage on our streets all the time. Don’t blame sanitation or anything else. Just like in the subway tracks, garbage due to HUMANS

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Jeannie

Added problem to more garbage & dog poop ? on streets is that there are no garbage cans on street corners anymore. That would be a big help in collecting waste.

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rgs sunnyside

bike lanes are a total waste.. except for delivery persons & a few hipster millenial males not often used.. but good to know they do have serve a purpose as a garbage can.. go stand on skillman for about ten minutes the truth cannot be denied

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Gerald

Damn RGS Sunnyside, you are WAY out of touch with reality! I see the bike lanes being used at ALL TIMES of the day AND night! I’ll stand on Skillman for an hour and see a dozen bikes pass at any time. You continue living in your shelter away from human interaction, since that’s the only explanation for your ignorant statement.

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El loco

I don’t know how to ride a bicycle. When I was growing up in Poland my parents were too poor to afford a bicycle. The one bicycle that we were allocated by the Communists went to my father so he could ride to work each day and support us with his cleaning job. Yet I am still for the bike lanes so everyone needs to shut up and go watch Netflix. And if you would like come out and help clean on Saturday. El loco will be there to meet and greet his fans and sign copies of his new book El loco Myth behind the Legend.

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MJ Drage

I ride a bike. I don’t disagree about bike lanes BUT the absolutely useless and dangerous bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Aves are going to cause an accident. So you can shut up and clean up the mess left by the bikers.

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Users22

Come on now, El Loco, we all know that you were perfectly capable of stealing a bike back in Poland

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Chris Robin

Funny that the picture you showed here is right outside my building. This is the sort of filth that the bike lanes generate. Problem is that the street sweeping machines are not wide enough to sweep both the bike lanes and the parking lanes and therefore the bike lanes have become and will remain a sewer. They have only been in for a few months and are already more black than they are green. If you want to get rid of the filth a cleanup day will not help unless there is one every day of the year. Even tehn the bike lanes will still be turning black with their filth. Funny, we didn’t need a cleanup day when we had no bike lanes and now they have been proclaimed as a token gesture that will not begin to remove the filth they have subjected me to in my neighborhood. The best way to put it is this. “Once we had clean streets. Now, we have bike lanes”

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Gerald

How do you explain the same filth exists on non-bike lane roads? So easy for you bike haters to blame the bikers, when it’s actually for cars that park and dump their garbage right out the door. I’ve seen it multiple times on this strip and others.

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Counted

Maybe on your block they don’t sweep, but on Skillman between 52 and 43 the sweeper comes down the bike lane

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VelvetKnight

If your logic was accurate, we’d have this problem on literally any street with more than one lane.

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Fearless bike mom

Kudos to all the volunteers, families, and neighbors who are stepping up and teaching these simple civics lessons by example. There’s a few other lessons…take care of your neighborhood, try not to troll, get involved, and see results based on advocacy. I applaud not only the cleanup, but all the effort that went into getting the bike lanes in. I love stopping and shopping along the route. Thanks, bike family.

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Annie

This could not be better put. It truly is a lesson in civics and how to bring about needed positive changes to our community and our city. They speak truth to power and follow through on the promise to make this a better place to live for all of us.
Bravo! Thank you for your service, and stay warm!

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Anonymous

Look out for thumbtacks, According to the 108 Pct. There was exactly 3 found after they had officers walk up and down both 43rd and Skillmans Aves. Why wasn’t there a update on this??? No news conference JVB??

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Bozos in the bike lane

The bike lanes were a waste of time and resource$. Pedestrian deaths/injuries still increased in NYC last year. Eventually one of these Tour de France wannabes will severely injure a pedestrian with their reckless behavior. The only thing saving us is the fact that there are so few of these clowns on wheels actually using the bike lane.

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The Eye Sees All

so plainly obvious that most of transportation alternatives time is spent hitting the thumbs down/up buttons on blog comment posts to make it appear that more people really care about their cause.

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Gerald

You’re just upset that you have one less lane to clog, fool. I see more bikers riding with respect than car drivers who speed thru red lights on Queens Boulevard so they can be first at the next red light.

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Gerald's Dad

I drive in and out of the city each day, Gerald. I see far more bikes disobeying the rules of the road than I do cars. Bikes aren’t toys and the poorly placed lanes come with the responsibility of following the rules of the road. Stop making excuses for the bad behavior of the miscreants that flaunt the law. Stand on a corner for a few minutes and count the # of cars that go through a red light vs the # of bikes. Educate yourself, you mope.

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Gerald

Dad, you should know that I walk to work every day and spend lots of time at the intersection of Queens Blvd and 59th Street. I also sit on the benches there to watch traffic patterns, and I always see cars honking, cutting each other off, and red light scofflaws. I’m not going to say every biker is a saint, but bikers behave like saints compared to toxic car drivers. PS, mom says to bring home toilet paper 😉

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fisher

Selfish jerks. “We’ll clean up the bike lanes, but screw your community otherwise.” Sunnyside is just a place for them to speed through on the bike highway. And ignore lights. And ride around in the dark without lights endangering pedestrians…

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Will

Come on! Even though this is the internet, you could say that way more politely. Please try something like this next time:

Dear Selfish Jerks,

Thanks for the free labor. My neighborhood will be 0.001% better b/c of it.

When you’re done, please go back to wherever you came from,
Fisher

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VelvetKnight

I hate to break it to you, but for most “serious” bikers, the lanes are actually slower than streets without them. They don’t exist to create a “highway,” but because they’re SAFER. For pedestrians too.

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i drink guinness

I’m not a biker, but I run by these 5 days a week and it’s especially bad along the rail yard. A lot of junk gets blown there by the wind. Let’s do this!

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AMS

The resentment of the protected bike lanes are truly shown through the litter people throw into them.. I noticed how even in the fall people would purposely rake leaves into them. Glad efforts like this are being made.

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Sara

Where else are they supposed to rake the leaves moron! At the curb is exactly where property owners are told too

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dietmar detering

I hope you are joking. But just in case, this is what our city tells us property owners with sidewalks: “The sidewalks (including areas like tree pits, grass strips, etc.) and gutter areas (18 inches from the curb into the street) along the building perimeter must be kept clean. Sweepings must be picked up and deposited in suitable containers for collection. Sanitation litter baskets may not be used for this purpose.”

Also, please do not throw snow from your car or from around it onto the street or onto the sidewalk or bike path – that’s illegal, too. (However, I am not sure what to do with the snow then. Bag it?)

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rgs sunnyside

folks you must live in fantasy land! this is nyc! can’t wait for that first snow fall when those bike lanes get buried and i don’t have to see them till spring! although there is one bad thing those delivery guys who actually use them won’t be able to! guess no tacos or chinese food unless you get off your butts and walk!

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Frosty the Snowman

Throw ALL snow into the bike lane, it’s the perfect spot for it. They are barely used as it is, which is another reason why trash accumulates there. Any biker on the road with snow/ice is a moron and deserves the cracked noggin’.

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Sammy Schwinn

What is ‘unacceptable’ is the way that bikers are using the lanes that were built for them. Garbage collects in the gutter, it always has and always will. get used to it.

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Friendly Neighbor

Your response is marginally immature. Your reluctance to address the issue speaks to your inability to comprehend the factors that have led to increased waste in the street/bike lanes.

Considering we are on the topic of progenitors, it seems to me, that your parents failed to teach you appropriate discourse. Your response supports my original position that those that lack the ability to engage in argument based on facts also lack critical thinking skills.

Given your brayed response, it would seem that your ancestors are closer to an equine origin than my own.

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training wheels restrepo

How about teaching bike riders how to obey the rules of the road. You can start with “a red light on 43rd Avenue means….?” Transportation alternatives is a joke. They push for bike lanes then disappear once they are built. What we need is a ticket blitz.

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Justine Marie Vickers

How about we teach MOTORISTS the rules of the road first?! All vehicle operators, including cyclists should obey the rules, but an automobile running a red light, failing to yield, etc., is a LOT more dangerous!!!

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Civilian

Agreed motorists are horrible and dangerous. Motorists also have licenses, registed vehicles, and most importantly insurance. I say bikes should too. Because there are bike accidents too.

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VelvetKnight

I’ve seen this argument enough times to know there’s no point explaining why it’s wrong based on facts. Instead I’ve got a question: Where do you draw the line?

Why not require pedestrians to have insurance, registration, and licenses since they cause crashes too (90% of my near-crashes are caused by pedestrians not looking)?

If not, how about people on motorized scooters or hoverboards? How about non-motorized scooters? Or skateboards? All of those travel essentially the same way as bikes, and are nearly as heavy (plus they can turn a lot faster, making them MUCH more unpredictable than bikes). Where’s your line, and why?

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Anonymous

should make all the bikers and JVB clean this up since they are the ones who wanted these lanes.

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seems logical

As long as car drivers promise to clean up their lanes, I’m fine with that. Thay are the ones that wanted those lanes. Surely you don’t hold double standards for bikers right?

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Fox Udder

Car owners get out of the way so the streets can be cleans. They are doing their part. The city did not devise a way to clean the lanes, a flaw in their design. Let bikers keep them clean.

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Juana Juana

Wow, the “protected bike lanes!” Maybe Transportation Alternatives can clean my house while they are at it. I’m sure all three bike riders can pitch in.

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Just do your job

good question. is the DSNY not doing their job so that the tax payers have to get out and clean their own street of garbage? Maybe we should grab a few ladders and hoses and help the FDNY too

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Sunnyside resident

Thank you! Love the new street design. It’s a vast improvement over what we had before.

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