Saturday, March 7, 2020
City induced bike (spite) lanes continue to frustrate Sunnyside and Woodside residents, business owners and emergency services
A long-time Sunnyside Gardens resident has produced a video calling on the Department of Transportation to remove the protected bicycle lanes from Skillman and 43rd Avenues and return the corridors back to the way they were prior to their overhaul in 2018.
Dorothy Morehead, a local realtor and member of Community Board 2, said that she made the video to highlight the effect the 2018 street redesign has had on Sunnyside residents and business owners.
She argues that the redesign has hurt local businesses, made the area less safe, increased traffic congestion, and made it difficult for fire trucks and emergency vehicles to traverse the two avenues–putting people at risk.
She is calling on the DOT to come back to the community and reevaluate the plan. She wants the avenues to go back to the way they were before the protected bike lanes were installed. She said that the previous bike lane was safe and effective.
“The impact on this community and the impact on the businesses just can’t go unchallenged,” Morehead, who has lived in the neighborhood for 50 years, said in an interview. “These redesigns are mainly for the bikers and it is not fair to the rest of the community.”
Morehead hired a filmmaker and spent $4,000 on the video. Work began on the project last fall and was completed this week.
The film includes interviews with members of Queens Streets for All, a group comprised of nearly a dozen Skillman Avenue business owners and residents who remain opposed to the 2018 redesign. It also includes footage taken from a drone, which Morehead uses to support her arguments.
The video takes issue with many components of the redesign—such as Skillman Avenue being reduced from two lanes to one between 49th Street and 54th Street. It also discusses the narrowing of the two travel lanes elsewhere, with the people interviewed saying it has led to congestion—particularly when vehicles double park.
The video even questions whether the redesign has led to increased safety at all.
The redesign has been controversial from the get go—pitting bicycle safety advocates against many business owners and long-time residents. The final plan was rejected by Community Board 2 on June 7, 2018, and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, former Congressman Joseph Crowley and
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer opposed it.
Van Bramer, however, later changed his mind and advocated for it.
Mayor de Blasio, however, ultimately made the decision and the redesign went into effect in August 2018.
This video she produced also makes the other video made by some bike zealot look bad. Because in the latter video, they do a bunch of before and afters that show absolutely no traffic and how the lousy redesign shows cars parked further into the street that look more obstructive than vehicles double parked in the original bike lane.
And she and the others are right, a lot of bike commuters are selfish jerks. I coined a portmanteau for the mentality of these bike zealots and lobbies like Transportation Alternatives calling for more of these lanes and their vehement intolerance for car owners, "biketitlement"