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Queens Blvd redesign covering Rego Park and Forest Hills approved by Community Board

May 11, 2017 By Jason Cohen

The Department of Transportation’s plan to overhaul Queens Boulevard between Eliot Avenue and Yellowstone Boulevard was approved by Community Board 6 last night.

The revamp will bring protected bike lanes, stop-controlled slip lanes, median tip extensions and expanded pedestrian space to the 1.3 mile stretch. With last night’s approval, construction will begin next month.

Other important aspects of the project include the removal of all 198 parking spaces along the service road medians between Eliot Ave. and Yellowstone Blvd; curbside metering will end at 7 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. between 62nd Dr. and 64th Ave.; the removal of meters on the south curb between 67th Dr. and Yellowstone Blvd; and the resurfacing of Queens Blvd. between 65th Rd. and Yellowstone Blvd.

This project represents the beginning of phase three of the mayor’s $100 million goal to redesign the entire 7-mile thoroughfare, long known as the ‘Boulevard of Death.’ Phase one and two covered Queens Boulevard—from Sunnyside through Elmhurst–and were implemented in 2015 and 2016. Officials claim those changes have already saved lives.

“We have had two of the safest years on Queens Boulevard since the city started keeping records,” a DOT spokesman said. “There have not been any fatalities on Queens Boulevard since this work began. In fact, there were no fatalities on the entire corridor in 2015, 2016 or as of today in 2017.”

The stretch from Eliot Ave through Yellowstone Blvd has a long history of being dangerous. According to the DOT, from 2010 to 2014, there were 458 injuries, 99 involving pedestrians. Moreover, since 2010, 38 people have been killed or injured at the intersection of 63rd Rd. and 63rd Dr., a notoriously dangerous spot.

The effort to redesign this 1.3 mile stretch began in December when residents were given the opportunity to attend community workshops and say what they would like to see be changed.

They sought the continuation of protected bike lanes east of Eliot Ave. In addition, they wanted the DOT to address the problem of turning vehicles failing to yield to pedestrians.

Ultimately, the DOT says, the goal with Phase 3 is to reduce speeding, expand the pedestrian network, shorten crossing distances, reduce the dangers for bicyclists, tighten wide intersections and make it safer at 63rd Dr. and 63rd Rd.

Transportation Alternatives, an organization that aims to improve traffic safety, announced that it is pleased with the changes—particularly the addition of the protected bike lanes.

Juan Restrepo, the Queens organizer of Transportation Alternatives, claimed that protected bike lanes save lives. He said they may have prevented the death of people such as Asif Rahman, 22, who was killed in 2008 at the intersection of Queens Blvd and 55th Rd. after being struck by a truck while he was trying to avoid a double-parked car.

Queens Blvd Eliot Ave Cb6 May2017 by Queens Post on Scribd

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11 Comments

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Jebediah

Bike lanes on Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills is a disaster in the making. The loss of 198 parking spots unnecessarily penalizes drivers, hurts local businesses, and will not make the road any safer. It will encourage double parking, which will increase congestion. And it won’t significantly encourage people to ride bikes. As it is, there are far too many cyclists who travel against traffic, don’t obey traffic signals, and worse.

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JQ LLC

Accidents and fatalities went down the past 7 years without the bike lanes in that area, so what’s the point of painting these space wasting lanes beside what seems to be to discourage residents from driving.

One reason is that bike lanes are a big selling point for luxury and overvalued market rate apartments for predatory real estate agencies.

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Peter B.

There is no question that the removal of parking will cause some people inconvenience. I bike and I drive and I know both sides. But we need a better balance brought to Queens Boulevard that both makes it safer and gives people more options for getting around.

As population increases, creating a space only useful for cars will just invite more and more cars in to the neighborhood causing even more congestion. This provides people with an alternative, and we have the data from the phases to the West that proves it works – decreasing injuries while increasing the number of people choosing to ride.

Bottom line we all have horror stories about how dangerous Queens Blvd is, something needs to change to save lives. What is the value of my or your neighbor’s or child’s life measured in parking spaces?

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speed!!

build an overpass for people to cross the blvd., get rid of lights and increase the speed limit

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Abbott Cooper

The westbound bike lanes between Yellowstone Blvd and 67th Ave. take bikers up a hill. I’ve seen them struggling to get up that hill. The result will be the non-use of the lanes and an unnecessary loss of parking spaces along that stretch. A better alternative is to run the bike path up Yellowstone to 62nd Rd and then 62nd back to Queens Blvd. That route bypasses the hills.

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Peter B.

Not to be rude, but this is a bit of an odd comment. On the one hand you admit you witness cyclists doing this now, but then claim that with a bike lane they wouldn’t use it. Which is it? We cyclists deal with hills all over. There is a much bigger one to the West after the Big 6 by Cavalry Cemetery. Each of the East River Bridge crossing are bigger “hills” than the one up from Yellowstone. I do think there should be a bike lane on Yellowstone, but for different reasons. Your detour is only helpful if you are continuing West, missing the destinations in between.

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Matt

the bike lane should be between the cars and the sidewalk. i’m sure that type of logic is too expensive and disruptive to implement. *eyes rolling*

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Aaron

In countries where riding a bike is done by the majority of the population (ie Denmark, Netherlands) the bike lane is ALWAYS to the right of the car. It’s crazy how we got something like that completely wrong.

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Peter B.

The reason why that doesn’t work well on this street is because you have far too many conflicts with cars and buses that way: driveways, side streets, bus stops. As someone who has ridden extensively on the lanes to our west, this design works well.

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