Jan. 11, 2018 By Tara Law
An activist group that supports the NYC DOT’s program to restructure Queens Boulevard and add protected bike lanes is marshaling Queens pedestrians and cyclists to attend a Jan. 23 DOT public workshop in Kew Gardens, which will address the next stage of the redesign.
The DOT will lead a discussion about safety concerns and street design on the stretch of Queens Boulevard between Yellowstone Boulevard and Union Turnpike, which is scheduled to be restructured as part of Phase IV of the Queens Boulevard Vision Zero program this year. The city intends to install protected bike lanes, stop signs and safety features.
The meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall.
Transportation Alternatives, a citywide nonprofit with a $4 million budget, is known for mobilizing its supporters ahead of NYC DOT meetings and town halls. The group hosted a meeting on Nov. 29 to organize support for Phase IV.
Peter Beadle, co-chair of Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Activist Committee, urged fellow volunteers to turn out for the upcoming DOT meeting in a group message.
Beadle is a member of the Transportation Committee on Community Board 6, which covers Forest Hills and Rego Park, and is a lawyer at Vaccaro & White that represents bicycle and pedestrian accident victims.
“DOT heavily incorporates the community feedback from these workshops in their designs, so your participation matters!” Beadle’s message reads.
Advocates for the Queens Boulevard project, a centerpiece of the Vision Zero initiative, point out that no fatalities have occurred along the road since 2014.
In December, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the road has “turned a corner.”
“The Boulevard of Death has become the Boulevard of Life,” De Blasio said.
Despite this pronouncement, the Queens Boulevard projects— and especially the bike lane installations— continue to be controversial in Queens.
A number of local businesses have complained that bike lanes have eliminated parking spaces that could be used by driving customers.
The owner of Rego Park deli Ben’s Best, Jay Parker, told the Queens Chronicle in November that he believed the bike lanes had caused his business to drop by nearly 20 percent since bike lanes were installed outside of his business in August.
“They’ve killed our business,” Parker said of the DOT.
Transportation Alternatives is currently canvassing Forest Hills businesses to garner support for Phase IV.