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DOT Unveils Plans for Permanent Protected Bike Lanes on Northern Boulevard and Broadway

The DOT has released plans to install protected bicycle lanes on Northern Boulevard and Broadway. Above: cyclists riding on a stretch of the Northern Boulevard temporary protected bike lane. The temporary lane is currently separated from motorists by plastic delineators (Photo: DOT).

Feb. 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

The Department of Transportation has unveiled plans to install a permanent two-way protected bike lane along Northern Boulevard that would better connect cyclists in Woodside to the Queensboro Bridge.

The plans, which were presented to Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee Wednesday, would see a permanent two-way bike lane stretch from Northern Boulevard and 41st Avenue in Long Island City–to 60th Street and Broadway in Woodside. There would be one bike lane on each side of the thoroughfare.

The DOT said it wants to make the route safer for riders in order to reduce the number of cyclist fatalities throughout the city.

The plans would essentially see the temporary protected bike on Northern Boulevard – that was put down in September – become permanent with some minor upgrades. The DOT would put down green paint along the bike lane and add markings at intersections along the route.

The most significant changes would be along Broadway where the DOT is looking to convert the curbside vehicle parking lanes into protected bike lanes. Like Northern Boulevard, there would be one lane on each side of the road.

At present along Broadway, a temporary protected bike lane runs between the vehicle parking lane and the main vehicle traffic lane. The new plan would essentially switch the protected bike lane with the vehicle parking lane.

The new Broadway layout would result in the loss of 22 vehicle parking spaces.

Northern Blvd. and Broadway Protected Bike Lane plans (Department of Transportation)

Proposed protected bike lane design for Northern Blvd. (Department of Transportation)

Proposed protected bike lane design for Broadway (Department of Transportation)

The DOT is also proposing to put down turn treatment road markings at busy intersections along Broadway. The markings would slow right-turning vehicles in order to reduce the risk of collisions with cyclists traveling in the same direction. The markings would also enhance pedestrian safety by shortening crossing distances.

The plan, which was also presented to Queens Community Board 2 Transportation Committee on Feb. 2, forms part of a city-wide initiative that was launched in the summer of 2019 that called for an additional 80 miles of protected bike lanes to be completed by the end of 2021.

The city said that between 2007 and 2017 there was a 15 percent drop in all crashes with injuries where protected bike lanes were installed.

However, some CB1 committee members said that the DOT’s proposal doesn’t go far enough in keeping cyclists safe–since the only physical barrier separating cars from bicycles under the plan are spaced out plastic delineators.

Some board members– as well as bicycle advocates– are demanding that jersey barriers be put down to separate the protected bicycle lane from motorists.

Juan Restrepo, Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, said that flexible delineators are merely guidance devices. He said motorists in New York City often encroach onto bike lanes and can end up crashing into cyclists.

“That is a very scary situation for riders,” he said.

He said that Transportation Alternatives favors jersey barriers but the city can still make better use of the flexible delineators if the gaps between them are minimized. He said when they are lined up closely together they deter motorists from encroaching into bike lanes.

Florence Koulouris, Community Board 1 manager, said that committee members were pushing hard for jersey barriers, seeking greater protection for bicyclists.

“Board members were advocating for jersey barriers but the DOT seemed to be leaning toward putting down flexible delineators,” Koulouris said.

The DOT says that it is easier to maintain the protected bicycle lanes when there are plastic delineators. The agency says that jersey barriers restrict the accessibility of sanitation vehicles to clean them.

“We will look into stronger protection, with the constraint being that we need to see that the lane is both plowable and sweepable by the Dept. of Sanitation, or that an alternative cleaning plan is found,” a DOT spokesperson told the Queens Post.

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14 Comments

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Joe

A complete failure from the DOT to provide the real protection that’s necessary to save lives here. These glorified toothpicks do nothing to protect from the speeding traffic and multiton trucks on this route, and will soon become a parking lot.

I sincerely hope the next mayor cleans house of the incompetent hacks at the DOT. This kind of “protection” on a road like this is completely unacceptable.

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your_neighbor

The plastic barriers are meaningless. On the very nice new Crescent St bike lane there are cars and trucks parked constantly which forces bikes into the travel lanes. I imagine it will be similar on Northern Blvd, especially with the car dealers that have always used the Northern Blvd parking lanes as part of their showrooms.

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Sara Ross

Driving on Queens Blvd. from Jamaica down to the 59th Street bridge is a nightmare! If an ambulance, police car, fire truck, etc. have to get by, how do cars move over to the other lane fast enough? This is a walking and driving city and the bicyclists have been getting too much leeway and they ride going through red lights and stop signs, zig zagging in and out of traffic and don’t pay a dime in insurance, registration, parking or anything else that drivers of vehicles do! What’s worse, the idiots in government probably have private cars that they take to work! I was on Jewel Avenue recently towards Main Street and workers were repaving the bike lanes. Meanwhile, driving on those roads is like driving on an obstacle course trying to avoid pot holes and messed up manhole covers.

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NYC Cyclist

This is a step in the right direction. We all pay taxes for our streets, the majority of New Yorkers do not drive, cycling is becoming more popular, drivers kill too many people and create fear and havoc in our streets.

Anything to discourage car ownership and driving in our city is good in my book. This is a pedestrian city, not a car city.

The future is fewer cars, smaller cars, more bikes and bike lanes, more mopeds, more green space, and a healthier city for everyone.

Bike lanes do not make the streets congested. They make it FEEL LIKE it’s more congested which is much different. Above all, bike lanes SAVE LIVES.

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Anonymous

One of the biggest problems I had to face this past December was trying to get to NYU Langone from 33rd Road for a hospital procedure in the morning. I had to take a car service to get there. Crescent Street was so tied up because there is only One Lane to take to get to the lower ramp of the 59th Street Bridge! It would had taken forever to get to the hospital. Luckily, we could had right turned to 21st Street to take the upper ramp. It took almost an hour to get to the hospital!! There seems to be absolutely no consideration whatsoever for cars, car services, cabs, or business vehicles to get around because of copious bicycle lanes all over the city area! What happens in emergencies?! Do we all go by bicycle?!

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Jimmy C

You are correct. Ambulances headed to Mount Sinai at Crescent and 30th sit with sirens blaring for as much as 15 minutes because Access A Ride buses no longer have a parking spot to pull in and drop off injured folks going for therapy at the clinic.

Meanwhile, the bike lanes on Crescent are completely empty while the ambulance sits there.

The Astoria politicians simply do not care if someone dies in an ambulance, or as in your case, can’t get to a hospital. Bike lanes are all that matter to them.

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Frank Rullo

What is the point of all of these bike lanes? I keep seeing the lanes sprout up across Queens, which also adds to the congestion on the street. One thing I didn’t read in the article was what the people who live in the neighborhood think. I read that the DOT is making this decision, but was it made with the residents’ two cents? I am a resident of one of the neighborhoods the atrocious bike lanes will be placed. I don’t want it, and have spoken about this with my neighbors, and they don’t either. Why are drivers always seen as the guilty party with any bike accidents? I have personally almost been in numerous car accidents because of neglectful bicyclists – either ignore one red lights or riding on the wrong side of the street (against traffic) or speeding into the street without a care in the world. This is a terrible idea. Taking away parking spots and making streets harder to drive through will just be creating a new problem the brain trusts in City Hall will be scratching their heads about in a few years when they realize bike lanes didn’t magically make our neighborhood into a utopia.

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Native New Yorker

People pay taxes for those streets, so the should be utilized in a way that suits a majority. Being able to park your private property on a tax funded spot is not what best serves a majority of people trying to commute.

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That Cyclist You Hate

Exactly! The majority of NYC residents do not own cars. Car owners feel entitled to keep their private property on tax funded public land, for free! We need more car-free streets for pedestrians, more bike lanes for people including kids, and more democratic streets.

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I'm a resident and I want it

And this is without even having a bike. As a pedestrian, there have been several occasions where I have almost gotten killed by neglectful drivers not respecting crosswalks. Bikers don’t act perfectly, but the streets should be safer.

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Jimmy C

Do the cyclists respect crosswalks, red lights, and stop signs? When you’re out taking a walk observe them, and hope you don’t get hit by one of them on the sidewalk.

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Akon

What about the cyclists, delivery guys, e-scooters, even mopeds riding on the taxpayers’ sidewalks???

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Andrew

I live in Astoria, pay city income, property and sales tax. I own a car as work occasionally takes me out of the city. I have for years.

But I mostly bike within the city or take the subway. I actually ride on crescent and northern several times a week, yes even in winter. Only in the last year with crescent and northern has there been any real bike lane construction that makes the streets safer to ride on and better reflects that yes, a lot of us in NYC and Queens do mostly bike to get around. I know it can be a little frustrating seeing people cruising by your traffic jam in the bike lane, but consider how much less space bikes take up and that many trips in the city are under a mile and very bikeable. The new lanes and their faster and safer travel times will incentiveize people to get out of their floats, freeing up road space for those truly necessary trips.

Also, as a driver, crescent to the bridge was always a nightmare at many hours before the lane. Personally it hasn’t felt different and the upper deck was always the way to go.

One last plug, better protection is definitely needed for these, but I’ll take it as a start

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