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New Commanding Officer Appointed to 112th Precinct, Koslowitz Details Why She Opposes Protected Bike Lanes on QB

Heidi Chain, Captain Jonathan Cermeli, Deputy Chief Steven Silks

June 26, 2018 By Christian Murray

The NYPD has appointed a new commanding officer for the 112th Precinct.

Captain Jonathan Cermeli, who was raised in Middle Village, has taken the top job after spending most of his 16-year career in various Queens precincts.  He replaces Deputy Inspector Robert Ramos who led the command for two years.

Cermeli joined the NYPD after 9/11. He was assigned to the Midtown South precinct in Manhattan as a police officer shortly after leaving the academy.

Cermeli was then promoted to the rank of sergeant and worked in Queens South where he supervised a team of plain clothes officers whose primary role was to take guns off the streets. From there he was promoted to the role of lieutenant and worked in the 114th Precinct in Astoria and the 108th Precinct in Long Island City where he was part of a special operations unit. He was also part of the Queens North counter terrorism unit.

Two years ago, Cermeli was promoted to the role of captain and was appointed an executive office for the 112th Precinct and then had short stints in that role in the 110th Precinct in Corona and 109th Precinct in Flushing. The executive officer is typically the second in command at a precinct.

This is the Cermeli’s first appointment as a commanding officer.

“I’m blessed to be back…and as your commanding officer,” Cermeli said, who was formally introduced at the 112th Precinct Council meeting last night. “This is familiar territory for me and it is a great community– made up of hardworking people who support their police and want to see their neighborhood continue to thrive.”

Cermeli takes over from Ramos at a time when crime continues to fall.

Ramos, who has retired from the NYPD, took command of the 112th Precinct in May 2016 and crime has dropped much like it has across the City. The number of major crimes for the year through June 17 is down 10 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz was on hand to welcome Cermeli as the commanding officer and field constituent questions. Most of the questions dealt with the redesign of Queens Boulevard and the protected bicycle lanes.

She went into detail as to why she opposes Phase 4 of the Queens Boulevard redesign, which features protected bicycle lanes–requiring the removal of about 200 parking spaces–from Yellowstone Boulevard through to Union Turnpike.

“I travel Queens Boulevard every single day. I just used Queens Boulevard [on my way back from Manhattan]. I didn’t see one bike. I am not against bikes or against bike lanes per se but I am against them on Queens Boulevard.”

She said that she has no doubt that the protected bicycle lanes increase safety. But she said that other changes over the years have made the boulevard safer as well—including the installation of barriers on the boulevard to discourage people from crossing outside of the intersections.

She noted that since 2004 there have been 11 deaths on Queens Boulevard—and while “11 too many’’—that number included pedestrians crossing against the light.

She said that her decision to come out against them was also a reflection of what her constituents have been calling for.

“Every store I go to—even when I get my nails done –business people complain about the bike lanes. Today a doctor called saying that he has lost patients because there is no parking.”

“I have gotten so many calls in my office complaining about the bike lanes – letters, phone calls everything everyday.”

She said that she couldn’t ignore that.

“I feel that it is my obligation to come out against the next phase—and perhaps change the phase that is already there. I’m not saying no bikes but let’s come to a conclusion where everybody is happy—nobody loses business and no business has to shut down.”

Koslowitz has not heard from the mayor since she made her opinion public. When asked what she thought the mayor would do, she said:

“The mayor likes them,” she quipped. It’s part of his Vision Zero.”

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15 Comments

Barry Gloger

I am an avid bicyclist, pedestrian and driver and believe the Rego Park bicycle lanes are an unmitigated disaster as they are unused, unsafe and a shopping disaster. By placing the bicycle lanes adjacent to the divider between the central express lanes and the service road, rather than adjacent to the sidewalk where bicyclists could have been protected by both the curb and parked cars (as is done in Manhattan) cars transitioning between the service and the express lanes are forced to come to a stop (blocking traffic) and then cross the bicycle lane: hazardous to both drivers and bicyclists. In addition shoppers lost valuable parking spaces essential to both the handicapped and business.

By forcing vehicles to stop rather than safely merging into flowing traffic, traffic jams are created, shunting cars onto the side streets, making everyone miserable. Functional and efficient bicycle lanes throughout Queens would be appreciated for exercise, but bicycle commuting is never going to be viable in New York City as it is practical only during fair weather. People just aren’t going to commute in the winter, in business clothes and when it rains. Bicycle routes should be located on quiet streets (or on the Queens Blvd central divider) and not on main thoroughfares, where they interfere with the efficient flow of both commerce and motor vehicle traffic.




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Fay wong

Why punish cyclists or the environment when parking spaces are being commandeered by police parking! We moved into a residential area barely 1 yr ago and have seen numerous parking spaces for residents rezoned for “authorized” police parking. While we greatly appreciate having a police presence, parking privileges have become abusive. CM Koslowitz – please focus on the underlying issues, not form over substance. Thank you.




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Greg

Karen Koslowitz is a liar and an old-school knuckleheaded Queens bully in the mold of Donald J. Trump. The point isn’t how many people are on bikes now, the point is to encourage more bike use by making it safer.
Guess what businesses in Queens, you rented a space with no parking! Now quit complaining that something you don’t have a right to is being taken away.




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Kat

if only the bikers used the bike lanes and followed traffic rules…. in Astoria, the bike lanes are empty and all the streets without bike lanes have bicycles on them and i have yet to see someone on a bike stop for a red light or signal when they are turning




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marilyn

More dedicated bus lanes and bus routes would serve many more people and cut more air pollution than bike lanes. I just drove to Forest Hills from Sunnyside and back and there was one bike on the whole round trip on Queens Blvd.

I doubt that bike lanes had anything to do with Ocasio-Cortes win. These bike people are ego driven.




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Hannah

There has to be a balanced approach to any initiative. Bike lanes, which is not a bad idea, in exchange of parking spots that actually brought revenue to the City, is not a smart move, in my opinion. They tried that first on Jewel Avenue during Bloomberg time. Nothing good came out of it. It’s a very congested passage from Forest Hills to Kew Garden Hills where the marked bike lane looks like a dangerous joke, I’m my opinion.




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ScottNY64

Maybe if we had put the protected bike lanes in the center divider everyone would be happy. Instead of bankrupting the local businesses by eliminating all of the parking access for their shops.




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Peter Beadle

It is a really disappointing stance that the Councilwoman has taken. A couple years ago CM Koslowitz and I stood side by side on the steps of Borough Hall and celebrated this effort to convert the “Boulevard of Death” into a “Boulevard of Life” At that time she was very much in favor of the project. Indeed, it is fair to say that without her leadership it likely would not have happened. And then, at the very moment that actual data becomes available that proves the redesign is a success, that the number of cyclists has doubled and is growing (I my wife and 2 sons used it the other night to get to a Concert at Forest Hills Stadium, so people are riding their bikes), and that the number of pedestrian injuries has been more than cut in half – a 55% reduction – an amazing number that hasn’t really been seen anywhere else in the City; at that very moment that there is objective evidence available to support her goal of creating a Boulevard of Life, she pulls her support. Lives are being saved because of this design and a new mode of safer transportation is being developed – and will become even more safe and easier to use as the Capital Project begins to be built starting in Woodside in 2019.

Any major change will impact businesses and residents, but most will be able to adapt. Those that aren’t able to, like Ben’s Best which sits across from a half-empty parking garage, have bigger problems with their business model than a bike lane. And when the Council member says she has to listen to her constituents, does that no longer include me? Does it not include the hundreds of letters signed by folks here in the District that I know for a fact have been delivered to her office in support of this project, including dozens from local businesses? Or does it only include businesses, the owners of many of which don’t even live here but who want to keep public space for their own personal business use that can better be re-purposed for everyone to use and to make the street safer?

And what is the vision for going forward? As development pressures continues to increase in our District what is the vision for how we keep moving everyone to work, shopping, school etc.? We simply can’t keep encouraging people to use personal automobiles. The math and the geometry doesn’t allow it. We already have massive congestion on streets where there are no bike lanes. We can’t just bury our head in the parking lane and insist we maintain the status quo. We need to give people other options. Safe options. Or Queens Blvd will just become a congested parking lot that will benefit no one, and those who actually need to use their car will not be able to function at all.

This new found opposition is not well thought out, and the dismissal of the radical improvement in safety is just not right. CM Koslowitz should be justifiably proud of her efforts to get Queens Blvd redesigned, unfortunately she has tarnished that legacy. I very much hope the Mayor and DOT move forward with the plan. Lives come first. Full stop.




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Cars are not good for cities

Enter the most foolish logical assessment I have seen in awhile:

“I travel Queens Boulevard every single day. I just used Queens Boulevard [on my way back from Manhattan]. I didn’t see one bike. I am not against bikes or against bike lanes per se but I am against them on Queens Boulevard.”

The reason you don’t see them is because QB is deadly. Bikers do everything they can to avoid it. So do pedestrians. If there were sensible protected bike lanes that stretched from Manhattan into Queens, they’d be out in droves.




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Peter Beadle

Actually cycling has more than doubled since this redesign has gone in. The real reason she and others claim they “never see a cyclist” is for 2 main reasons: 1) they are traveling in a “bubble” of time and space. There could be a cyclist 1 minute ahead and another 1 minute behind, but as everyone is traveling close to the same average speed (traffic lights keep average speed even for cars in ~10-15 mph range, similar to a bike), if you start out your trip not seeing a cyclist, you probably won’t for the rest of the trip; and, 2) people on bikes are often “invisible” to folks who don’t ride bikes. Its an odd phenomenon of the brain, that weeds out “anomalous” information so that you don’t become overwhelmed. I forget the formal name but you’ll find video’s online demonstrating the effect, and anyone who bikes has several stories about drivers or pedestrians who acted as if they simply didn’t even see us there – which in a way they didn’t.




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John O'Reilly

Peter Beadle, you left out perhaps the biggest reason of all for your disappointment. You donated all that money to Ms. Koslowitz and she didn’t come through for you. Notwithstanding all the campaign donations and the inappropriate and harassing conduct by bike lane proponents reported by Ms. Koslowitz, she candidly acknowledged she made a mistake last year in supporting the bike lanes in Rego Park and suggested that fiasco be reconsidered. As Ms. Koslowitz correctly pointed out, the safety improvements implemented on Queens Blvd prior to installing the bike lanes rendered it virtually completely safe coupled with the fact that so few people use the bike lanes, thus the major disruption to the lives of so many, especially including the elderly, disabled and those persons not capable of riding a bicycle, is not warranted. The propaganda put out by DOT is not supported by actual data, DOT will not disclose the actual data even after promising to do so, and actual data published by DOT in its City-wide survey of bicycle use shows that an infinitesimally small number of people in Queens use bicycles for commuting and that commuting by bicycle City-wide is in decline even after years of investment in bicycle highways and bicycle ride sharing.
By the way Peter, if you are again going to threaten to sue me for pointing out that you donated money to Ms. Koslowtiz, just do it, no need to intimidate the publisher of the Forest Hills Post. Just send me a message when to show up at your law office and I’ll make it easy for you to serve me.




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Greg

John, “commuting by bicycle City-wide is in decline even after years of investment in bicycle highways and bicycle ride sharing.” You continue to lie on these posts. The world is changing, and your retrograde vision is on its way out. Please stop leaving a trail of your own excrement for others that have to follow in your footsteps.




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Phillip Roncoroni

We also need CitiBike expanded throughout the borough. I used to bike 15 miles each way between Manhattan and Bayside – it was a better commute than the MTA. But the biggest impediment, in my opinion, to mainstream cycling is that bikes are too easily stolen, and NYPD doesn’t care if it happens.

CitiBike with docks all over the place means people can easily get around, improve their health, and also not have to deal with carrying around locks, and chains, and worrying about where their bike is going to be parked once they get somewhere, or if it’ll get stolen.




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Ed Pino

Joe Crowley was against the bike lanes too and he lost. That is on the horizon Ms. Koslowitz




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Dan

Maybe there would be more bikes if there were protected bike lanes. It doesn’t seem like a lot of these people are putting an effort into creating more parking options – or just as important, removing the need to rely on using cars to travel. Bicycles aren’t a solution but maybe a functioning above ground metro system would help. There are 10 million people living here you can’t expect the end all be all to be parking spaces.




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