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Bike Connections Planned Along 31st Ave, Reactions From Community Mixed

Via DOT

Via DOT

March 14, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge

The Department of Transportation plans to extend western Queens’ bike network along nearly the entirety of 31st Avenue, stretching from Vernon Boulevard to Astoria Boulevard.

The proposed bike route project will involve a combination of bike lanes and shared vehicle/bike lanes, according to a DOT presentation that was delivered to Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee last week.

The presentation indicates that certain sections of 31st Avenue are 40 feet wide, and other sections are 50 feet wide, which determines how the agency designed the bike network.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 3.53.41 PMOn the narrower 40-foot stretches, the DOT plans to define the street as a shared vehicle/bike lane by painting bike markers on the asphalt in both directions. Seven-foot parking lanes will be defined with a painted line. The DOT asserts that these shared lane markings alert drivers to the presence of cyclists and provides guidance for cyclists.

On the 50-foot stretches, a dedicated five-foot bike lane will be painted out, between an eight-foot parking lane and 10-foot travel lane, in both directions.

The DOT said it is attempting to address a number of issues with thisScreen Shot 2016-03-14 at 3.53.59 PM project, including strengthening connections between Astoria and Jackson Heights, increasing access to public space and the waterfront and improving transportation options for neighborhoods underserved by the subway.

The Queens Bike Initiative, which has been pushing for a stronger western Queens bike network since last year, called the proposal “absolutely right on and in line with that we need.”

In an email, Sergio Pecanha of QBI applauded the emphasis on increased park access and transportation alternatives. While QBI will continue petitioning for increased bike connections, Pecanha called the DOT’s plan “the very first and essential step to reach our dreamed network of bike lanes connecting parks in Queens.”

However, not everyone has been as receptive to the proposal.

CB 1 Transportation Committee Chair Bob Piazza called 31st Avenue – especially in the vicinity of 56th Street – “a really, really bad place” for bike lanes due to existing congestion.

Piazza cited in particular the U-Mart Supermarket and Paragon Honda Service Center between 56th Street and 58th Street, which he said clog the road with loading trucks and lined up customers, respectively.

Via Bob Piazza

Via Bob Piazza

Along the rest of 31st Avenue in Astoria/Woodside, Piazza said he is concerned about traffic spillover from Northern Boulevard during construction on that road, combined with the handful of schools along 31st Avenue.

“It makes for a really serious situation,” he said. “I’m all for putting bike lanes there, [but] clean this up.”

“You don’t use bicycle lives to calm traffic. You calm the traffic first, before you put bicycle paths there,” he added, responding to one of the DOT’s proposed benefits of new bike route.

Piazza said all Board members present at the Committee meeting agreed that existing traffic issues should be dealt with before a bike network plan, although there were not enough present to take a formal vote.

The DOT plans to do an onsite visit to discuss issues that came up during the Committee meeting, officials said.

The proposal will go before Community Board 1’s full board meeting Tuesday, according to district manager Florence Koulouris.

Community Board 3, which shares a large portion of 31st Avenue, did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

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16 Comments

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Dany

I think it’s a good idea to connect areas not served by the subway and parks with bike and pedestrian friend safety routes. Too many people don’t have cars. In addition, if everybody had a car, imagine the traffic jam and the pollution.

Reply
Astoria Resident

When I was young I rode a bike everywhere because we had one car which Dad took to work. We didn’t need the government to draw lines for us. We just knew that you rode in between parked and moving vehicles. What is the point of drawing lines if a car can cross the line in order to park? The New America, aka Bizarro World, continues to confound.

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L Jenn

Indeed, what is even the point of traffic lights if a car can still drive right through the intersection. Darned government.

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Anonymous visitor

We need the government to draw cute lines on the street because people are morons today and don’t have much common sense.
#BikeLanesSuck

Reply
Tom

And what about those dumb lines that divide car lanes. Who thought of this?

People can figure out what lane is a left turn or right turn or whether it’s a 2 lane street or a 4 lane street without stupid lines painted on the road. Stupid government trying to control us.

And those “stop” signs. Don’t tell me when to stop!

Reply
Stop_Double_Parking

Astoria is the DOUBLE PARKING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

These Paki Traffic CLOWNS NEED TO START WRITING TICKETS

Reply
ilk

Great! Now we must look out for constant bikes in addition to cars and scooters when crossing the street!

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3131st

Terrble idea. Anybody that drives on 31st Ave knows that it is the double parking capital of NYC. Bikes will have to ride around these cars into the middle of the street which will only cause more problems.. No room for double parked cars, two way traffic and bike lanes.

Reply
CW

Cars double park ILLEGALLY all over the city, this is no excuse to not have bike lanes. You are right that there’s no room for double parked cars, two way traffic and bike lanes, but again the only illegal activity here would be double parking.

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John

Those cars need to be ticketed and towed. It’s illegal and it backs up traffic. If you can’t find parking circle the block.

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Anonymous visitor

You will still have commercial trucks being double parked. You can ticket them, but they won’t be towed. So double parking will always be a problem.

Reply
Jake

kick out all new comers and then plenty of parking spots will open up like in the 80’s and 90’s.

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Cristina Furlong

So, accept the illegally double parked cars, and let cyclists continue to go around them? All those items you mention already exist- why not slap down a little paint for cyclists? Double parked, is an NYPD issue, if they ever enforce, they can get twice as many tickets for those guys parked in bike lane. Or, better yet- drivers will obey the laws for once.

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Anonymous visitor

So UPS trucks, Fedex trucks, and every other commercial truck who makes deliveries for the people of Astoria is supposed to park where?
Double parking is a must for commercial vehicles because there is lack of space. It’s hard to park in the sky so all the dirty hipsters can have a nice clear path. Stupid bike lanes were created for morons who don’t have common sense. #BikeLanesSuckAss

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