Apr. 28, 2023 By Bill Parry
Generations of cyclists have taken their lives into their own hands as they made the journey from the Queens “mainland” to the Rockaways and they often complain about the current bike lane across the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge is inadequate. That will change this year.
The city’s Department of Transportation announced on April 24 that the bike lane on the span over Jamaica Bay will be “hardened” with concrete Jersey barriers to create a more protected bike lane from 165th Avenue to the Kiteboard Launch.
“The Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge is the main roadway to travel to the communities in the southern end of Queens, our fantastic beaches, as well as the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “This route sees bike riders pedaling across the bridge on a daily basis, where they oftentimes have to deal with some dangerous situations in unprotected bike lanes as cars drive past. It is essential that we work together to bring common sense measures to the bridge to protect these cyclists.”
Addabbo said he would work with the DOT to “expedite this vital project for our bikers, especially as the warmer weather will lead to more individuals biking over the bridge.”
He also suggested that the easiest option would be to move the existing Jersey barriers to the outside of the bike lane to instantly make it a protected bike lane.
Councilwoman Joann Ariola has some concerns.
“I realize that the bridge is an important point of connection for cyclists coming from Brooklyn and mainland Queens to Rockaway, but the DOT’s idea is not the right answer,” Ariola said. “Placing bike lanes next to traffic on an already narrow bridge seems to me to be a recipe for disaster. There are protected sections on both sides of the bridge that have been used by cyclists for years. The bike lanes should be in those areas, behind the concrete and fencing, where cyclists will be protected from traffic.”
In addition to the Addabbo Bridge project, the DOT announced it will implement the first phase of a bike network in Community Board 11, the Open Streets bike corridors in Astoria and Bayside, and additional bike lane hardening on Vernon Boulevard, from Queensborough Bridge to Esplanade Entrance, and Queens Boulevard, from 72nd Street to Grand Avenue.
“Regardless of how you navigate our city, you deserve to do so safely. That includes our cyclists and e-bike riders, for whom our streets have historically been inhospitable and dangerous,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Hardening bike lanes across Queens to make the Joseph Addabbo Bridge more accessible to cyclists and e-bike users are direct investments in equitable street safety, and I thank the DOT for its partnership in protecting all who use our roadways. I look forward to doubling and tripling down on our shared efforts in the future.”
DOT also said it would do community outreach on a protected bike lane on Cypress Avenue in Ridgewood and another protected bike lane for Astoria Heights. The announcement was welcomed by state Senator Kristen Gonzalez whose district stretches from Astoria south to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“I am heartened to see progress in ensuring the safety of cyclists through the expansion of protected bike lanes and additional bike infrastructure,” Gonzalez said. “I look forward to continue working with the NYC DOT on additional street safety improvements along McGuinness Boulevard and beyond as we continue to prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety in our district.”