NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some residents in Douglaston, Queens, say a new bike lane is an accident waiting to happen.
Last week, the city installed the bike lane on heavily traveled Northern Boulevard between Douglaston Parkway and the Cross Island Parkway. It’s protected by a concrete divider, which some some say has led to accidents, including one Thursday.
“This is like a highway,” Lawrence Glynn told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport. “You might as well put a bike lane of the Long Island Expressway if you’re going to do this.”
The problem, opponents say, is that some motorists traveling along Northern Boulevard don’t know there’s a bike lane ahead, as the road narrows from three lanes to two. The bike lane and concrete divider appear to come out of nowhere, critics say.
There are no warning signs posted.
State Sen. Tony Avella said the bike lane is dangerous and needs to be scrapped.
“I think this is a nightmare,” he said.
Avella said the city Department of Transportation installed bright orange cones in front of the concrete barriers just Friday morning.
The senator said his office has received reports of four accidents there since the lane was installed, reports he is still trying to confirm. He said you can see scrape marks on the divider from where cars have apparently hit it.
“All of a sudden, you’re coming around a curve, and you’re hitting a concrete barrier,” he said.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg defended the project, saying it’s a work in progress.
CBS2 showed her a video taken from the perspective of a driver coming down Northern Boulevard and approaching the bike line, and asked her if she thought it looked safe.
“I can’t really tell from your video, but in general, as I say, these projects have really enhanced safety everywhere we’ve done them in the city,” she said.
Cyclists, for their part, told CBS2 they love the new bike lane.
“It’s fantastic,” said Richard Ammirati. “Whoever thought of it, congratulations.”
Avella said the community board in the area wants the bike lane replaced with a lane built onto an expanded sidewalk off the road. Trottenberg said that would take too much time and money and that the current bike lane provides safety for cyclists now.
Avella has written to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Trottenberg voicing his concerns and urging them to build what he calls a safer bicycle lane.