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Phase Four of Queens Boulevard Redesign to Begin Summer 2020: DOT

DOT

Feb. 19, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Construction is slated to begin on the final phase of the Queens Boulevard redesign project this summer — two years behind schedule.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) said it will begin phase four of the project — which will go from Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike — this summer with the project expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

The DOT will be installing protected bicycle lanes, shortening pedestrian crossings and implementing other traffic safety features to the Forest Hills stretch this summer. The project also involves the elimination of about 200 parking spaces.

The revamp will be the final phase of the 7.5-mile overhaul of Queens Boulevard from Sunnyside to Kew Gardens that began in 2015 in order to reduce the number of pedestrian and cyclists deaths.

Phases of Queens Boulevard Redesign (DOT)

Work on phase four was initially scheduled to begin in summer 2018.

A spokesperson for the DOT didn’t provide an answer as to why the project has been delayed. The DOT just said that construction would start this summer and be done by the end of the year. No other details were provided.

Transit advocates have criticized the agency for the delay and have staged rallies calling on the DOT to complete phase four of the redesign.

“Every single day that they say ‘we’re going to complete this but we have no timeline’, they’re putting people’s lives at risk,” Juan Restrepo, the Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, said in March 2019.

In an Oct. 21 2019 interview on NY1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the redesign would be completed in 2020.

“When we took on Vision Zero at the beginning of my administration, one of the first focal points was Queens Boulevard,” de Blasio said. “It used to be called the Boulevard of Death. We got really used to that in the city. That’s how bad things were.”

“Getting the last piece done really matters,” the mayor said at the time.

The redesign is not without controversy and many people do not support it.

Queens Community Board 6 and Council Member Karen Koslowitz both oppose the redesign plan because it will eliminate about 200 parking spaces.

CB6 voted down phase four on June 13, 2018, with 22 board members opposed and 12 in favor of the project. They worried business owners would lose customers who couldn’t find parking.

Koslowitz, who supported Phase 3 of the project, remains opposed to the redesign of the Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike stretch.

“The administration is proposing extending the current bike lanes in my district to Union Turnpike,” she said in a statement to the Queens Post. “I am not opposed to bike lanes, however, I do oppose this plan (Phase 4).”

“The plan does nothing to minimize the loss of parking which impacts residents and businesses alike; nor does it do anything to enhance the safety of bike riders,” she said.

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16 Comments

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deb K

There is no parking in Forest Hills. The MTA also intends to ruin transportation for Queens residents by changing the Q23 and Q60 routes.
It seems that NYC wants to make it impossible for an elderly resident or a mother go to a doctor via bus or car.
Vision Zero doesn’t impact on reckless bike riders who ride through red lights and don’t stop for pedestrians.

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David Leslie

I think you left your heart and mind in San Francisco. All cities are not equal. Bikes are not alternatives to cars here from October through March, unless we can enjoy a few decades more of global warming. In addition, since there are no places to safely & securely lock bikes anywhere on the Blvd, they won’t be used in any retail store. And they aren’t. nor can they be used to bike from your home to the subway – but you also don’t need to since the bike lane is on the same road as public transportation.

Bike delivery is usually to residences OFF the Blvd., which is why you rarely see anyone actually in the bike lane, other than cars, trucks and others stopping to make deliveries. Bikes are also generally NOT used if you have to transport children; to make trips to the grocery store; for dining/evening out; to the Sam Ash Music store to manage your musical instruments; for medical and pediatric care; inventory delivery/receipt by third party shippers; Fedex/UPS and yes, Amazon, for packages; to commute to public transport (see above, no places to leave/lock safely); This isn’t within a mile of Manhattan so very few will ever consider commuting, especially when there is public transport on the Blvd.

PS – Local restaurants which offer take out have bikes stacked up against the sidewalks with multiple chains because there is no place to put them. This should have been planned first instead of dropping a bike lane$ in first and figuring out how to make it all work later.

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Bo

Perhaps there would be more parking in Forest Hills if 10 blocks of it wasn’t granted to employee parking of the NYPD. I don’t fault granting some spaces, but the volume is quite high. Ironically, there is none for victims or witnesses and their own lots are often empty.

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Steven Rosen

I’m pretty sure it’s more than 200 parking spots that will be lost and it’s also in a service lane area that has the busiest intersection and most bus traffic. Consider that this will also be lost revenue from parking too. The bike lanes are more needed to the subway stations rather than between them. Makes no sense at all.

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Linda Gonzalez

Missing is the fact that no drivers bother adhering to the lanes. As was said, there are very few places to stop, load and unload, deliver, pick up, park in a commercial area. It is insane. A handful of cyclists lobbied to create a bike lane that is virtually never used and perpetually empty except with invading cars and buses. Residents have mocked it as the best example of awful “green” progressive lobbying.

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The Major

Can they fix the pot hole roads first. This middle class guy is spending too much money fixing my cars suspension.

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Forest Hills Res

As the sea levels increase and the ocean start to cover our roads, the refrain will be “give me back my parking space!” Anyone who has been to Europe knows that the Boulevard of Death can be so much more than it is.

The idea that bike lanes result in bad business has been proven wrong multiple times. Most business traffic in NYC is from pedestrians and mass transit. Cyclists spend less per trip than drivers, but make more trips. So, bike lanes in major cities don’t harm local businesses or, in some cases, help local businesses. Just Google this. If you want to blame something for certain businesses not being viable, look at Amazon. And, how many local businesses would loose money if they didn’t have a fleet of bikes making deliveries? It’s hypocritical to enjoy the benefits of bike deliveries and then oppose the changes that would make it safe for the delivery people. How many parking spaces are “saved” by delivery guys on bikes replacing car trips to the local take out?

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Kew Gardens Resident

Didn’t know Koslowitz knew how to oppose anything after she stabbed Kew Gardens in the back with her support of the mega-jail .

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David Leslie

She didn’t stab KG in the back. She opposed the jail and the entire ridiculous plan. She said that the City steamrolled its way into approval and no one was going to stop the plan. So rather than making a symbolic protest and being removed immediately, she said what she did and opted to vote in favor and be able to get concessions, which she did, of a prior approved plan. Read the lawsuit from the KG groups that were filed. The City Council decided they were going to do a “historic” and “moral” shut down of Rikers and never rebuild a jail there again. And the plan went through in record time with a slipshod review process for appearances. Even the Astoria councilman was announcing his green plans before the deal was done. Don’t blame Karen.

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So Tired

Nice democracy in action! The CB doesn’t want it, the Council Person doesn’t want it, the community doesn’t want it. But here it is, we are getting it!!

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Mayor Mike

Wow… there are more bicyclists in that one rendering than you are likely to see pass you by in an hour on a nice day!

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G

I don’t know why this city hates the drivers so much ? Start making the bicycle riders pay some of the baggage … like let them follow rules … get registered … inspected … and pay into the system they want so much … not fair …. I use my car to run a business … can’t wait to leave this city …

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Sara Ross

I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it – bicyclists DON’T pay for: insurance, registration, inspection, parking (either in lots – taxes – or at munimeters), tolls, licenses or anything else that DRIVERS pay for which fees are SUPPOSED to pay to fix the roads, but don’t. They can park their 2 wheeled weapons (they don’t stop at red lights or stop signs and zig zag in and out of traffic, usually against the light) wherever they want and never get ticketed for reckless riding. Queens blvd. is impossible to drive on with 1 lane when you have thousands of vehicles (including ambulances and fire trucks) and only a handful of people on bikes. I hope when Mayor Butthead is done, a new DOT head will have common sense and realizes who actually supports this city!

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FoHi

It’s pretty obvious that the bike lane fiasco got put on hold while they were about to approve the jail, I guess they figured it was too much nonsense to cram down our throats at once. Now that they got what they wanted with the jails, they’re moving ahead with the lanes and taking away more parking, we knew this was coming. If Koslowitz disagreed with this plan, she should have worked it into the bargaining over the prison. Her vote was critical. She should have insisted that if we get the jail, we get to keep those parking lanes.

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