The full Board of Community Board 11 Queens voted last night (Jan. 3rd 2021), unanimously approving a network of protected bike lanes.
The meeting began with Assemblywoman Nily Rozic speaking out to support the protected bike lanes network. The Assemblywoman has been a long time advocate for protecting her community members, earning our Greenway Champaign for her years of work. She also has worked tirelessly to restore the Kissena Park Velodrome, the last remaining cycling race tracks in New York.
Eight neighbors spoke up during public comment for the protected network (no one coming to speak against it).
- Alexis Soterakis – a mom who live in Douglaston and works in Bayside, would love to bike to work but doesn’t feel safe doing so. She said a protected bike lane is what the community wants since green paint isn’t sufficient to make her feel safe with her children (ages 10 and 6).
- Joby Jacob – a local professor, was really impressed with the proposal. His research found how positive J.H.S. 074 Nathaniel Hawthorne was after protected bike lanes were added in front of the school, that classes at P.S. 203Q The Oakland Gardens School taught children how to ride, and how Benjamin N. Cardozo High School recently build showers so kids could freshen up after biking to school. He applaud Michael, Joe, and Victor on building a proposal far better then what the Department of Transportation had done.
- Lindsey Mayer – a public member of the transportation committee spoke about how on streets with protected bike lanes, all crashes (not just ones involving bikes) dropped by 40%. Biking is her main form of transportation and she feels this plan will improve the quality of life for all residents: kids, delivery workers, and commuters who just want to reach their destination safely.
- Laura Shepard – the Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, in less then a week gathered more then 100 signatures by eastern queens residents who support this motion. She grew up in the district but wasn’t allowed to bike to school because my parents were afraid for her safety. As she rides around queens she sees that protected bike lanes have more women, families with children, people with disabilities, and students in them than unprotect bike lanes because paint is not protection.
- John Kelly III – the President of Kissena Park Civic spoke about his organization, which has been going for 84 years. He spoke against the criticism that the “bike lanes aren’t used” talking about the people who do use them (and need them) and when we see a sidewalk that isn’t heavily used we don’t suggest ripping it out. He spoke about how bicycles have been part of this community for a long time and that he wants to his 3 year-old granddaughter to ride her bicycle.
- Yehuda Pollack – doesn’t live in CB11 (lives in CB8) but grew up biking on the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway. By building a protected bike lane network everyone will feel comfortable visiting CB11 by bike and will go to more of the restaurants and businesses.
- Thane Terrill – a leader in Queens Social Ride, brings out 30 to 40 cyclists every Sunday morning from the Unisphere for a casual ride across Queens. Lots of newer cyclists are afraid to ride in traffic and having great parks doesn’t mean when people don’t have access to get to them. A protected bike lane network helps people get to their parks safely.
- Sara Jordan – parent of a new bike rider, feels it’s a game changer to have the option for local cycling. She feels this is a great network to connect greenways and schools. She was recently hit by an illegally parked car while riding around Bayside (where she lives). In this COVID year, it’s so great to see people of all ages cycling in our community. Right now it’s difficult to ride around the neighborhood, but this proposal has the potential for improving life for not only cyclists, but also for all road users.
The board discussion was entirely positive, with a few clarification questions. Multiple members spoke about how this plan is no one’s ideal, but a middle ground for different perspectives who came together to do the right thing for the community. Multiple members thanked District Manager Joseph Marziliano for taking pictures of every street DoT had proposed and helping facilitate the Community Board’s plan.
The neighborhood has come out strong for a protected bike lane network in Eastern Queens.
The Community Board has come out strong for a protected bike lane network in Eastern Queens.
A local politician has come out strong for a protected bike lane network in Eastern Queens.
The only question is, how long will it take for new Mayor Eric Adams and Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez’s DoT to build what everyone is asking for?