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Queens Chronicle

DOT says no updated timeline for bike lane

Activists want to see Phase IV of Queens Boulevard plan completed

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019 10:30 am

The waiting continues for Phase IV of the Queens Boulevard bike lanes, which would extend beyond Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike.

Work on the final phase of the bike lanes, which started at 50th Street in 2015, was scheduled to begin last year. However, work was halted by the Mayor’s Office.

A Department of Transportation spokesman told the Chronicle last Wednesday, without elaborating “We are moving forward with the redesign and working with the community, but have no updated timeline to share at this time.”

Michael Cohen, a spokesman for Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), said her office has not heard anything new from the DOT.

Peter Beadle, co-chair of Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Activist Committee, has long been in favor of the lanes.

“I have also heard their intention is to go forward but I get the impression from what I’ve heard that it’s not happening this year,” he said. “And I think that’s ridiculous.”

Beadle declined to say where he heard that the project wouldn’t be completed this year but said he’s disappointed by the rumors that it won’t be finished soon.

Beadle pointed to the doubling of cycling deaths in the city this year while noting that serious injuries are down 55 percent on Queens Boulevard since the implementation of the bike lanes.

“And yet for some reason this last phase is hung up,” he said. “It’s going to go on almost two years that they delayed making the necessary changes to save lives. And they have not given an adequate excuse. No real explanation at all, in fact. It’s disgraceful.”

Beadle added, “For them to sit on plans, plans that have been proven to cut the injury rate more than in half for nearly two years when we’re seeing a spike in injuries and deaths on our streets, really is disgraceful.”

Mayor de Blasio made a statement after the 15th cycling fatality on city streets this year occurred on July 1.

“We are seeing a dangerous surge in cyclist deaths on our streets, and we are taking action,” he said. “I have directed the NYPD to immediately launch a major enforcement action that will encompass every precinct and crack down on dangerous driving behavior like parking in bike lanes. At the same time, I have charged the Department of Transportation with developing a new cyclist safety plan to make biking in our city safer. No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. Last year was the safest year on record — and we have to keep pushing the envelope and increasing our efforts until we achieve Vision Zero.”

Beadle said, “Then the very first thing that should be at the top of DOT’s memorandum when it comes out as to how they’re going to fulfill that pledge is finishing Phase IV of Queens Boulevard. If Queens Boulevard isn’t on that list, then really the whole approach is a sham.”

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