NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Battle lines have been drawn on the ‘boulevard of death.’ Bike lanes were designed to make the streets safer, and when locals voted against them, Mayor Bill de Blasio overruled them.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, residents either like the lanes being drawn on Queens Boulevard, or they don’t.
“No, I don’t see a lot of bikes, few, but it’s not really much. Not like in the city,” Djoni Djfaar said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Chrstina Furlong is an avid cyclist and co-founder of the community advocacy group Make Queens Safer.
“A lot of cyclists might not be on Queens Boulevard right now because they may not consider it a safe route,” she said.
She supports the city’s three stage improvement plan that will add bike lanes, pedestrian ramps, and other safety upgrades on Queens Boulevard from Roosevelt Ave in Sunnyside to Union Turnpike in Rego Park.
“We have the 7-Train blues, and all the problems on the tracks, and the slow bus times for all the people commuting on the bus here. So providing them a cycling option needs to be done at this point,” Furlong said.
Phase one is complete, but stage two — between 74th Street and Eliot Ave — has just begun.
Raffaele Federico manages the Italian Charities of America on Queens Boulevard and Vanloon Street. He said he and neighbors like Djfaar aren’t happy that valuable parking along the median outside of his building is gone and replaced by bike lanes.
“It’s very hard. Maybe it could be 20 minutes, maybe half an hour just to find parking. Before it’s easy,” Djfaar said.
Asked if he thinks the lanes are necessary Federico was blunt.
“At the moment, no,” he said.
The local community board voted against the bike lanes back in May, but Mayor de Blasio pushed the plan forward anyway.
“I respect those who disagree with us, but in the end the safety of our neighbors and our children is the most fundamental responsibility we have in this work,” he said.