Queens will receive 2.4 miles of newly designated open streets, as well as a protected bike lane that will connect Woodside with Manhattan and run to Central Park in plans announced by the mayor last Thursday.
When fully implemented, the streets, announced with Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, will bring the city’s total of open streets — meaning closed to most traffic — to 67 miles.
“As the school year ends and a hot, challenging summer begins, New Yorkers will need more options to play outside,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City now offers more car-free street space than any other city in the country, and we’re proud to build on that progress in all five boroughs.”
The Queens section of the Central Park bike lane will run for 3.6 miles along Broadway and Northern Boulevard from 34th Avenue in Woodside to Queensboro Plaza. The Manhattan segment will run 1.3 miles from the Queensboro Bridge to Fifth Avenue.
The signs, lines and barriers will be phased in over the coming weeks, according to the mayor’s statement.
Alan Baglia, a Woodside resident, told the Chronicle in an email that he was pleased with the announcement.
“As a Sunnyside/Woodside resident, this won’t impact me personally — Skillman (Avenue) to the Queensboro Bridge is still the most direct route to Midtown, but it’s exciting to see growth in the network particularly on Northern Boulevard which had widespread community outreach and was widely proposed by dozens of prominent local figures as an alternative to Skillman,” he said. “Longtime supporters of Skillman agreed that both options are the best solution, so here we are seeing that shared vision come to fruition.”
Woodside resident Laura Shepard said the changes were the result of a great deal of work on the part of the public.
“On the Manhattan side, it’s good to have something that will take riders from the Queensboro Bridge to Central Park, from 59th or 60th Street, wherever they decide to put it,” Shepard said in an interview. “There are bike lanes on First and Second avenues, but going crosstown in Midtown was always considered tricky.”
On the Queens side, she said, it will make Northern Boulevard safer and link up with existing bike paths to give many commuters and recreational riders a more direct and protected ride between the two boroughs.
Five sections of roadway in Queens that will be closed to most motor vehicles at certain times will be managed by community organizations.
The Central Astoria Local Development Coalition will manage two stretches totaling 0.15 mile on Newtown Avenue between 30th Avenue and 31st Street and on 32nd Street between 30th Avenue and Newtown Avenue from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only.
Thai Community USA will manage nearly a quarter-mile of 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights between 75th and 80th streets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula will monitor Reads Lane between Empire and Jarvis avenues and Beach 12th Street between Central and Dinsmore avenues from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays.
Four sites in Queens will be patrolled by the NYPD, including 60th Street between Queens Boulevard and 43rd Avenue in Woodside; Onderdonk Avenue in Ridgewood between Starr Street and DeKalb Avenue; 165th Street in Jamaica Hills between Chapin Parkway and 85th Avenue; and Rockaway Freeway in Far Rockaway between Ocean Crest Boulevard and Regina Avenue. All will be closed to vehicular traffic between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. unless posted otherwise.
The city also will be closing a 0.28-mile stretch of 35th Avenue running adjacent to and through a portion of Crocheron Park in Bayside from Corbett Road to the dead end at the Cross Island Parkway.
“We applaud the Department of Transportation for adding more temporary protected bike lanes, and we’re eager to work together to turn these temporary lanes into permanent infrastructure for New Yorkers who bike,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.
This article originally described Alan Baglia, the organizer of the Sunnyside Family Bike Ride, as a "cycling enthusiast," but after he insisted he is not an enthusiast, his descriptor was changed to "Woodside resident."