|Courtesy Forest Hills Post|
The Department of Transportation has unveiled Phase 4 of its extensive Queens Boulevard redesign plan, but the project has lost one of its biggest original supporters.
Speaking before Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee last week, DOT officials detailed the agency’s proposal for the 1-mile section of Queens Boulevard from Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills to Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens.
This phase of the project is similar to the past three, as it includes bike lanes along the median separating the service road from the main drag.
The stretch of roadway in question will also see the creation of a new crosswalk at 78th Avenue, redesigned slip lanes between the main and service roads, an improved pedestrian island on the north side of the boulevard at 75th Avenue, extended median tips, 200-foot-long left-turn bays at Queens Boulevard and Ascan Avenue and 10 new unloading zones for trucks.
To install the bike lane, the DOT will remove the service road’s parking lane along the median, which contains 220 spaces along the one mile stretch of road.
Originally a supporter of the plan, Koslowitz began to waffle last year, once her office started receiving complaints about the lack of parking and drops in business experienced by entrepreneurs that were blamed on the bike lanes.
The lawmaker said she did not know what kind of compromise could be had between cycling enthusiasts who vehemently defend the bike lanes and area residents who oppose them.
But what she did know, the lawmaker said, is that the boulevard project is both “saving lives” and “killing business.”
“They have to redesign it to where the stores have parking and people have their bike lanes,” she said. “How many people do you see riding bikes down Queens Boulevard? Hardly any. I drive all the way into Sunnyside and I can count the cyclists on one hand.”