Bike lanes will be painted on Jewel Avenue and 69th Road between the Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway in Forest Hills as part of a comprehensive redesign started last fall to improve safety on these streets for road users.
The Department of Transportation confirmed that in addition to the pedestrian safety islands, curb extensions, upgraded crosswalks and improved vehicular paths, which are already in place, it is installing bike lane markings, as the Chronicle reported last December looked likely.
According to a DOT study done prior to the redesign, there were 249 motor vehicle occupant injuries and three bicycle injuries in the area from 1998 to 2006. A total of 82 traffic accidents occurred there.
The agency also reports that about 93 percent of the cars that pass through the area speed.
When work initially started on the roads, a DOT spokesman said the bike lanes were just buffers between between cars and the sidewalk, but this week the agency said installing the bike lanes had been the plan since day one.
“I can’t speak on specifics since I do not have the forms in front of me but I believe installing a bike lane was part of the original redesign,” Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said. “We had been working with Community Board 8 and the DOT to make this area safer, and we have been happy with the work that has been done.”
The bicycle lanes are expected to provide a better cycling experience for riders by reducing the number of driving lanes from three to two, creating more efficient connections to surrounding parks and schools.
In the past, biking and walking on the busy split road has proven difficult. According to the DOT, there have been two pedestrian and three bicycle injuries from 2006 to 2010.
The DOT has said that the entire project, including the bike lanes, is scheduled for completion in the first week of April.