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.