March 16, 2016 By Michael Florio
The Department of Transportation’s proposal to expand western Queens’ bicycle network has been tabled by Community Board 1 following concerns about its implementation.
Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee Chair Bob Piazza went with DOT officials on a walkthrough of the project corridor, which runs along 31st Avenue from Vernon Boulevard to Astoria Boulevard.
The DOT proposes putting a combination of shared and dedicated bike lanes along this stretch of road.
Piazza pointed out his areas of concern to the DOT, 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.
“This makes for unsafe conditions for both bicyclists and pedestrians,” he said.
Piazza is also concerned about traffic spillover from Northern Boulevard during construction on that road, combined with the handful of schools along 31st Avenue.
“When they made changes to Queens Boulevard the traffic spilled over into the residential streets,” Piazza said. “That could be a problem with the work taking place on Northern Boulevard as well.”
Piazza could not say for sure what changes, if any, the DOT would make to its bike network proposal following these discussions. The DOT did not respond to questions regarding potential revisions to its plan but confirmed that items brought up at the Transportation Committee were reexamined at the onsite visit.
Piazza said in the coming weeks CB 1’s transportation committee will meet with the DOT and go over the proposal again. The committee will then make a recommendation to approve or reject the DOT’s plan.
That recommendation will then be presented to the full Board at the next meeting on April 19. The Board will then vote either to approve or deny the proposal.
The DOT will also present its plan to Community Board 3, which shares a large section of 31st Avenue, in the future.