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Queens Chronicle

Sunnyside becomes bike friendly district

Residents can expect safer streets and sweet deals for those on wheels

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Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:52 am, Thu Sep 4, 2014.

Transportation Alternatives declared Sunnyside to be the first Bike Friendly Business District outside Manhattan and community leaders are thrilled.

The district is a system of businesses and community organizations in an area deemed bike-friendly. The participating businesses often utilize bikes for deliveries or day-to-day operations and may also offer special deals to customers who ride their bikes to shop.

“Cyclists should come out to Sunnyside and shop at the over 70 participating businesses,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said in a written statement. “As ridership climbs in our city, and the cycling infrastructure grows here in Western Queens, Sunnyside hopes to capitalize by highlighting all we have to offer.”

The announcement was made on Aug. 23 in the neighborhood’s new pedestrian plaza, underneath the No. 7 train.

Following the announcement, Van Bramer and representatives from Transportation Alternatives took a ride through Sunnyside and Woodside to point out a few of the participating businesses who support safer conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

“Sunnyside entrepreneurs understand that bicycling is not only an enjoyable transportation choice, it’s good for business too,” Caroline Samponaro TA’s senior director of campaigns and organizing, said. “By becoming part of this new Bike Friendly Business District, local merchants are supporting more livable streets that prioritize walking, biking and public transit access, safety improvements that have been proven to boost local retail sales.”

In addition to announcing the new district, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District announced that area businesses will be advocating for a transformed Queens Boulevard that would include safe spaces for pedestrians, protected lanes for cyclists and dedicated lanes for buses.

“Designating Sunnyside as a Bike Friendly Business District means that we’re committed to making the neighborhood safe, accessible and fun for everyone,” Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, said. “I am encouraged to see so many local businesses signing on to this important cause.”

Similar bike districts have been designated in the East Village and other neighborhoods in Manhattan, but Sunnyside is the first outer borough area to be designated by Transportation Alternatives, an organization that promotes street safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

While a list of special offers in Sunnyside has yet to be unveiled, cyclists in the bike district in the East Village can get anything from $1 off beer at Boss Tweeds Saloon to 10 percent off a meal at Bareburger for customers who arrives by bike.

Bike riders can visit the Transportation Alternatives website for a list of all the Bike Friendly Business Districts.

Van Bramer, a self-described cyclist himself, said he believes the new district will not only make roads safer for bike riding, but will bring more business into Sunnyside.

“I encourage you to cycle into Sunnyside and take advantage of all the deals offered at our bike-friendly businesses,” he said. “There’s no doubt you’ll be back for more.”

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