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Businesses, Residents, Plan to ‘Fight Back’ Against Bike Lanes, Loss of Parking, in Forest Hills Tonight

Dec. 18, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez

Business owners and residents will gather tonight to air some grievances on the bike lanes and loss of parking spots on their Queens Boulevard blocks, blamed for slowing business down by driving customers who can’t find parking away.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. tonight at Tropix, located at 95-32 Queens Blvd., where are all invited to “fight back” and begin a plan of action against the city’s removal of 198 parking spaces from Eliot Avenue to Yellowstone Boulevard to make way for painted bike lanes over the summer.

The bike lanes, implemented under Phase III of the Department of Transportation’s plans for the boulevard, are directly linked to sales losses in the double digits for several businesses along the stretch, business owners told the Queens Chronicle in November.

“Businesses along Queens Boulevard have suffered,” said Gary Taylor, owner of Tropix and organizer for tonight’s meeting. “When I started experiencing losses, I reached out to some of my fellow business owners and found out they were in the same boat.”

Taylor spoke to roughly 40 businesses along the stretch about tonight’s meeting, urging them to come together and create a plan to present to Community Board 6 in January that could address the loss of revenue they’ve experienced. He also sent letters to Councilmember Karen Koslowitz and borough president Melinda Katz on the meeting.

“We’re trying to see if we can get something changed,” Taylor, who has run Tropix for the last 13 years, said. “The current conditions are not good.”

Some of Taylor’s ideas on what the community board and the city can do include analyzing the neighborhood for parking density, and potentially doing away with the curbside delivery-only spaces, a feature of Phase III which do not allow for parking for nearly 12 hours every day.

But Taylor remains skeptical of the community board and the city’s attention to concerns from business owners.

“Honestly I’m not totally convinced that we are going to change anything,” he said. “But in a desperate situation, we really have to try.”

The meeting comes as the city is working on Phase IV of their Vision Zero program, which may see protected bike lanes, stop signs, and other safety features installed from Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike in 2018.

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16 Comments

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Jennifer

These last 2 days, I’ve spotted one person on a bike, and he was not riding in the bike lane anyway. But I do truly feel for all the stores, particularly the “mom and pop” establishments. And also my regular Dunkin’ Donuts stop too. And soon they’ll face even less parking then they do now as new rules go into effect. Why does the mayor and community board want to kill off our local businesses? Don’t they realize that empty storefronts can effect an entire neighborhood?

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Nikkiiee

Bike Lanes would not be so bad if bicyle riders followed the rules of the road. I find as a pedestrian they come speeding down the bike
lanes without any care if people are crossing or if they even have the light. My concerns now on Queens Blvd are the bikers not the cars. I have almost been hit twice by reckless bike riders.

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Brutus

Walking down any street I only see rows of parked cars that barely, if ever, get driven. Why are they taking valuable public space? The street is for everyone, not few car owners. Bikes and public transportation are the most effective ways to have everyone share in public spaces. If you want to drive a car, please move to suburbs, where it is a necessity.

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Res Ipsa

The irony is that once upon a time Forest Hills and other points in eastern Queens were considered “the suburbs” as far as NYC is concerned. Now, as population spreads east from Manhattan, people who were there all along are being told to move if they want to have a car. What has changed? Mass transit in the area has only gotten worse as the area has gotten more crowded.

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Bill Clifford

The lanes are dangerous. The turn from the main road to the service road near Tropix is the worst. Lots of double parking, causing cars to maneuver into the bike lane is regular. No police road ticket. It is worse near Net Cost. I called our city council person’s office and basically was told the lanes improve the safety of drivers and pedestrians. All you have to do is watch for 10 minutes during the day or evening and you can see the issues.

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Brutus

These lanes are good for those that ride bikes, Bill. The city cannot serve just a select few that decided to own cars.

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Andrea Simon

Our apartment window looks out onto Queens Blvd between 63rd Drive and 64th Road. City vehicles park in bike lane in front of 7/11 – garbage trucks, ambulances, even squad cars. Illegal motorized bikes are the primary users of the lanes. Netcost is one of the biggest offenders. Their delivery trucks either double park so motorists have to use the bike lane to go around the trucks, or park in the lane. Netcost customers constantly park in the bike lanes. Sunday I counted TEN cars parked in the bike lane. If the parking spots hadn’t been taken away the problem wouldn’t be as bad. Bottom line DiBlasio and company do not want New Yorkers to own cars.

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Jennifer Meltzer

Definitely a brain dead idea. I drive this stretch every morning and IF I see 3 bikes that’s a lot. Especially because 2 are likely to be delivery men for Tower Diner. People are much more likely to bike on Yellowstone where they don’t ha e to breathe us fumes. Our businesses are an imperative part of our city. And this isn’t Amsterdam or China, drivers aren’t going to give up their cars.

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Brutus

A lot people took to biking after bike lanes and citi bike were introduced. These people could have been overcrowding the subway/busses or would have been driving cars (have to get from point A to point B somehow). The future for the city is shared car ownership, whether you like it or not, because the population is only getting denser.

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enough is enough

the same people saying they want to fight traffic congestion also want to put lane-removing and traffic-congesting bike lanes all throughout the busiest streets of queens. like loading trucks and family cars will just disappear into thin air?? then they vote to put a toll on the Queensboro Bridge! they should just say they’re anti-cars and anti-small-business and stop saying they’re pro-life or whatever nonsense progressives are feeding the community boards

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Brutus

“Family cars” — imagine if every family in the city had a car? There would not have been space for traffic to move. You make your personal choices. Don’t inconveniene others with them. Public spaces, such as traffic lanes and curb side, are for public, not the select few owning cars. Bikes is the solution for city traffic. Only commercial traffic should allowed in the city and shared car services. Personal car ownership should be taxed out of existence. Don’t like it? I hear suburbs have good options for car owners.

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Al aloni

Brutus, stop dreaming about your shangri-la society. Believe it or not most neighborhoods in the five boroughs don’t have access to public transportation for work or leisure. You just have to accept that people will always have cars. Maybe you should move to Amsterdam or Paris. I don’t think people want to use a bicycle during the winter.

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Jennifer

Yeah, Brutus. Very practical. Can you just visualize a family of 4 having to go somewhere on a rainy/cold day with baby carriers on the backs of mom and dad’s bikes? I can’t, especially if they’re taking the kids to the doctor because they’re under the weather. Not to mention dodging drivers shooting out of the exit lanes. This QB plan was poorly designed and endangers more bike riders then it helps. Go ride on Yellowstone, you’ll be a lot safer and you won’t be interfering with businesses, buses and trucks.

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