Mayor says bike lane will be completed - Queens Chronicle: Queenswide

Mayor says bike lane will be completed

by David Russell, Associate Editor | Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2019 10:30 am

The long-awaited Phase IV of the Queens Boulevard bike lanes will be completed in 2020, according to Mayor de Blasio.

“It will be completed next year for sure,” he said during an interview with Errol Louis Monday on “Inside City Hall.”

Phase IV will see the roadway’s bike lanes extended beyond Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike. Department of Transportation outreach for Phase IV began in October 2017 and the plan was slated to be implemented in 2018.

But cycling activists have been perturbed as Phase IV hasn’t been completed. Bicyclists and activists rallied at MacDonald Park in Forest Hills last Sunday.

Louis noted that activists were urging de Blasio’s administration to move faster. The mayor said Queens Boulevard was one of the first focal points when he began the Vision Zero initiative. That was when it was known as the “Boulevard of Death.”

“We got really used to that in the city,” de Blasio said. “That’s how bad things were. Thank God, we’ve seen a huge turnaround on Queens Boulevard. Getting the last piece done really matters.

“I’ve said that consistently. It will be finished next year. Period.”

Peter Beadle of Community Board 6 told the Chronicle, “If this is true, then fantastic.”

But, he added, “If it’s not done, then I know I won’t be alone in making sure that we are heard.”

On Sunday, the activists called on de Blasio and the Department of Transportation to finish the project.

“I’m appreciative that he responded to our latest demonstration,” Beadle said. “That it took that demonstration to get him to respond is another mark against this whole process, which has been a bit absurd.”

Beadle said the lanes make the area safer for pedestrians too, “except we always end up in this polarized conversation about bikes.”

A story by asserted a link between the borough-based jail planned for Kew Gardens and the bike lane delay. Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) told the Chronicle in March there was no link between the two.

Koslowitz recently told Community Board 6 that she supported the jail because otherwise de Blasio would’ve done whatever he wanted with it. Instead, she said, the mayor promised incentives for the area, including eight new officers for the 102nd Precinct, renovations to schools and upgrades to the kitchen at Queens Community House’s Kew Gardens senior center.

According to the Daily News, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said the situation “reeks of some kind of quid pro quo where something else got done in exchange for something else not getting done.”