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.
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.