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.