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New Bike Lanes Clogged With Parked Cars On 20th Avenue

20th ave bike lanes

June 13, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge

Cyclists hoping to take advantage of the brand new bike path on 20th Avenue may not be in for a smooth ride just yet.

The Queens Bike Initiative, which advocates for an expanded bike network in western Queens, spotted a number of cars over the weekend parked right on top of the newly painted bike lanes.

On Monday, the situation remained the same, with dozens of cars lining 20th Avenue on top of the bike path, the Astoria Post observed.

The two-way bike path comes to the neighborhood as part of a larger Department of Transportation street improvement project, which also includes a new bike path on Hoyt Avenue N as well as the controversial redesign of Shore Boulevard into a one-way street. The 20th Avenue lanes stretch from 37th Street to Shore Boulevard.

QBI is giving the drivers the benefit of the doubt that they don’t realize they are parking on bike lanes, because the lanes were only recently painted.

“It would be very difficult to know what’s the right thing to do – it’s a fresh, new thing,” Sergio Pecanha of QBI said. “If you were to park on the right place you’d at least question yourself because everybody else was parked wrong.”

According to the DOT, implementation of the bike path is ongoing. When asked what is still to come and on what timeline, a spokesperson said that the agency is identifying more safety elements that will be incorporated and “regarding timeline, we will continue monitoring the project.”

The DOT acknowledged that there is a learning curve with street redesigns; there will be Street Ambassadors in the area later this week to share information about the recent changes.

QBI wants the DOT to paint the bike path green, as is common throughout the City bike network. A presentation delivered to Community Board 1 in February illustrated the bike path as green.

“It’ll be great if they could paint it and put some kind of physical separation just to make it more clear,” Pecanha said.

Additionally, whereas bike advocates generally call for more enforcement against bike lane violators including the police themselves, for now QBI is urging the 114 Precinct not to ticket cars parked on the 20th Avenue path. Instead, the organization wants cars parked here to be towed to the designated parking spots newly painted next to the bike path.

“After that it becomes obvious when you have most of the cars parking in the right place everybody will understand the rules,” Pecanha said.

The 114 Precinct did not respond to a request for comment as of this writing.

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42 Comments

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Wolf

I’ve lived in Astoria my whole life and I drive a car as well as ride a bike. I have never needed a bike lane to get from point A to B…
Also, how does having a bike lane help people get around Astoria when it only encompasses a couple of areas? If the community is so concerned about cyclist safety, shouldn’t there be bike lanes on every street like Steinway, Ditmars, 30 Avenue and Broadway? The answer should be yes… but there isn’t enough room to do that!! So basically these bike lanes which are hardly used by every day cyclists are a total waste of tax-payer money and definitely a total waste of space in a very high commercial traffic thoroughfare.
One last theory I have especially regarding the Hoyt Ave North bike lanes which turned a very busy 4-5 lane Avenue into what has become a 2 lane blind spot for drivers turning on/off and thru Hoyt Avenue is this: The city is purposely creating slow moving traffic to entice more and more drivers to use public transportation which in turn creates more revenue for the MTA, etc… So if anyone thinks that the city spent millions and millions of dollars because it cares about cyclist safety just wait until the snow comes and 2 lane streets become 1 lane 2-way streets!! And sanitation plows won’t fit in tight bike lanes. 😉

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enjoytheview

Owning a dust covered bicycle that is hanging out of the way of your car in your garage does not make you a cyclist.

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poof

That’s the taxpayer’s money going up in smoke to administer and enforce such an overreach of unnecessary authority.

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mary

In many other countries (the Netherlands and Germany to name a couple) ALL children have to learn the basics of road safety which includes cycling and walking around the city. This education begins when they are young and official classes begin usually when they are 9. At an age around 12 or 13 they take an exam that will determine if they are ready to cycle on their own to and from school. I know for Germany they are given a certificate. This is something we should be doing here. This also should include better instruction for driver’s education programs for how to drive with cyclists on the road. We also need to retake our driver’s tests more often rather than just requesting a new license online.

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mary

Sorry, I retract my statement that it is mandatory for all children in Germany. From speaking with some Germans I am friends with my understanding is if it is not mandatory it is highly suggested for children in some regions. In the Netherlands, children have the exam to take but can still cycle. It is my suggestion that in the United States we should have more education for children to cycle and walk to school.

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vinny

I remember a time not to long ago where this area was empty. Its so nice to see people walking around and biking in that area. As a jogger, I feel it makes the area safer for some.

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tito

There are areas in Astoria where double parked cars do not get ticketed. IMP, it all depends on the type of relationship some places (business’ and others) have with Traffic Enforcement/police and I see it all the time. There is one place in particular where cars double park and even park on the sidewalk daily and no one gets ticketed because from what i see one of the stores is a popular with the officers. Perhaps, ensuring his customers have a place to park while shopping there. Meanwhile, pedestrians and those on bikes must go out of their way to cross that block. Same holds true for places of worship. I seen vehicles get ticketed in some places and others they do not ticket.

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bill

Hmmmm, I know about your limited intellect, JR one, but you might want to examine that idea a little closer.

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aunge

The parking in Astoria just continues to get worse and now we lose more spots because of bike lanes???? Go to the park and ride your bike!

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Anonymous

Well this the reality for most New Yorkers To many people live in Astoria now for us all to have free reliable parking maybe u should buy a bike makes things much more convenient

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jenn

Rent a parking space or get rid of your car! When protected bike lanes are implemented well, they have been found to improve everyone’s safety, generate more revenue for shops along the street, and, yep, even speed up car traffic.

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Rob

Coming back from shopping at Best Market in my car, with my daughter, a gray mini-van was literally driving on the wrong side towards me in the wrong lane. I flashed my his beams on him, then he corrected himself. When he got next to me, he was kind enough to verbally apologize, but it shouldn’t of happened in the first place. Grateful there wasn’t a head on collision.

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George

Complain to the city, not that it will help but it couldn’t hurt. nyc.gov/html/dot/html/contact/contact-form.shtml

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speedbump

Everyone and everything that uses a public road needs to be licensed and insured.

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Dahh!

What about all the parents dropping off/picking up their kids from the baseball leagues on 36th street? They used to double park there all the time and no one had a problem if you were on a bike you just ride around just like you would any other double parked car and now because the lane became bigger its an issue? There is NO WHERE ELSE TO PARK TO PICK YOUR KIDS UP SAFELY AND you’re NOT ALLOWED to park in the parking lot of the supermarket.
As a cyclist myself i think the changes made by the DOT are ridiculous. No one needed a bigger bike lane on 20th ave i already know a child who’s been injured due to the change in traffic.

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Paul

I had a problem with it! Stop double parking. It’s illegal. Go find a spot and walk.

I picked up my kids up there. I just parked a block away like a normal person that has legs.

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Abu Benuska

Double parking is illegal in NYC at all times. Rules here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/parking-regulations.shtml

When you do that on a bike lane, one of the issues is that it forces cyclists to the main lane, often in a sudden move. It can be very dangerous, especially if you are talking about children riding. That is even more evident on 20th ave, where the street. The street is wide and it’s common to see cars breaking the speed limit by a lot.

You can report double parked cars calling 311 or here:
http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1894/illegal-parking-complaint

There are dozens of empty parking spots there right now. The area is one of the easiest parts of Astoria to find a spot, given the massive Coned plant nearby and relatively low demographic density in the area.

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Alex

Biking is fast, cheap, good for the environment, practical, sexy, etc etc.
But yeah, when I see some adults riding bikes… It’s a damn disaster.. It’s like watching 5 year old kids ride their bikes, completely clueless. I grew up biking here from a young age, yes there were some type of lessons in grade school, but most of the knowledge came from just getting raised properly by your parents.

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Tommy

20th avenue needs sideways parking like 31st street has, from 20th avenue up to Ditmars Blvd. 20th avenue is wide enough for this type of parking and it is greatly needed. It’s almost impossible to find a parking spot after 10 p.m.

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Carmen

This was such a ridiculous idea! So many driveways and streets leading straight into the narrow driving lanes. Driving down my driveway, almost got into an accident because you can’t see who is coming from behind vans and big SUVs. The guy had to swerve into the oncoming lane to miss me. It was hard enough but with this new changes its an accident waiting to happen..

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Jim Poulos

The DOT has created a very dangerous situation on 20th Avenue. Cars moving into the avenue from the side streets stick their front ends directly into oncoming traffic because they can’t see from behind the parked cars. Meanwhile cars on 20th Avenue WHO HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY have to either swerve over to avoid collisions or slam on their brakes. If there is no room to swerve or no time to brake there will be an exponential increase in accidents. The traffic lanes are also too narrow for buses and trucks. Buses are constantly riding the double yellow or over it forcing traffic on the opposite side to swerve – where will we go if there is no room? CRASH!!!!!!

Don’t even get me started on the number of double parked trucks delivering to loading docks along that road – expect major gridlock if you ride the Q100. Those parking there should expect their cars to be sideswiped, broken mirrors etc… The road is downright dangerous now!

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Nick

One of the most rediculous changes in astoria.
20 ave is also a commercial route for trucks and buses.they made the street so narrow that buses and trucks barely clear there side.alot of sides wiped cars in the near future all for what .all you outsiders with your bikes.I was born here in astoria.you yuppies come in here pay cheaper rent than the city and meesed up this community.
What a shame on how astoria has become.and as for the politicans that passed these stupid laws and made astoria park a one way.shame on you for destroying the community and making it harder for us to live here.

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Yo yo me

Its a shame you’re so hateful. I am not born in Astoria but I moved here and am now a home owner. I (a yuppie, I guess) have worked hard to do so. With an attitude like yours, you’re no longer welcome in my neighborhood. Bye!

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j

F**k you Freddy you sound like a hipster that likes to get railed while eating a kale wrap.The only way you could price people out who have been here for 40years and there are many is by renting a room with 8 people on air bnb!

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Anonymous

Dam rite we don’t need these dam bikes we need more parking F these bikes if u want to ride a bike go to the park

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Anonymous

The lanes are actually larger than they were before there used to be two lanes of traffic two lanes of parking aswell as two bike lanes the problem is drivers like yourself would not even realize this and not respect the bike lanes there have been cyclists who were killed on this road the dot prom also belved the unprotected bike lane preyed the speeding that’s so common in 20th ave

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Paul

Are you serious?

You are making a case for why cars are better than riding a bike to get around?

There are people that drive there car 1 bock to run errands.

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Manzar

I saw this yesterday. My guess is that people don’t understand where they’re supposed to park. It is confusing when you first look at it. What would be lovely is if they would put some sort of barrier between the bike lanes and the parking areas.

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Anonymous

You guys don’t go on the bike lanes either way, so what’s the point of having bike lanes

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ted

I noticed this the other day while riding my bike. From the pic, I wonder if those double parked cars were customers from the butcher/meat market. The same thing occurs on 36th Street and 23 ave every Friday afternoon because of the people that double park cars to attend a nearby mosque. Its a nightmare to ride your bike when the bike line is blocked.

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