From City Weaving:
I am familiar with big roads. Coming from the land of sprawl and automobiles, I’m no stranger to vast expanses of asphalt and fast-moving vehicles, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that Queens Boulevard is a different animal than what I’m used to. When I came to New York City from Texas, I happened to move about two blocks away from the so-called “boulevard of death,” and it has been a presence in my life on a daily basis, but I can still remember the first time I had to go to Brooklyn and took Eastern Parkway instead of the BQE. The light bulb went off in my head.
“Oh!” I said. “This is what it should have been.”
Now, I understand (and I’m sure Robert Moses would tell me) that there are technical, functional, and historical differences between these two roads, especially regarding the manner in which they both came into being, but I think it’s truly a shame that Queens Boulevard couldn’t have been envisioned as a parkway from the get-go. Parkways are, after all, just glorified and vegetated boulevards.
The point of all this, really, is that Queens Blvd has always had the size and importance accorded to a main East/West corridor (and has amazingly always had the twelve or more lanes of traffic it boasts) but never the kind of consideration for other forms of traffic–pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian–that Eastern Parkway does. Queens Boulevard came into being when parkways were already an established form of road-building (Eastern Parkway having been the first), but it was clearly viewed as a more stripped-down piece of infrastructure.