NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Safety advocates and families of victims killed in crashes along Queens Boulevard are rallying for change.
They’re calling on the city to come through on major promised improvements.
Queens residents gathered Saturday to demand the city fast-track the final phase of Queens Boulevard construction. They want a continuation of the service road bike lanes.
“This design of the last five miles has reduced pedestrian injuries by virtually half, whereas the next mile and a half to Union Turnpike, we’ve had dozens and dozens of crashes,” said Peter Beadle, vice chair of the New York City Community Board.
But they say the project is stalled right in front of Forest Hills‘ MacDonald Park.
Juan Restrepo, of the group Transportation Alternatives, says he thinks the hold-up is over several hundred parking spaces being lost to the project and a distaste for bike lanes in general.
“They’ve been doing it and now they have delayed this final, most crucial portion of it for close to two years now,” he said.
“Please keep the promises. Stop playing around,” Moumita Rahman said.
Rahman’s brother, Asif, was killed on what is dubbed the “Boulevard of Death” in 2008. He was just 22 years old.
“He was working at a school. He was writing music,” Rahman said. “He was actually riding his bicycle back from his second day at work at a new school in Maspeth … There was a double-parked truck. He was going around it and another truck ran him down from behind.”
Asif Rahman was killed near 55th Road, an area Moumita says she avoids because it’s painful.
“Honestly, any time I hear about anyone dying … it triggers a lot of pain for me,” she told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
CBS2 reached out to representatives at City Hall and the Department of Transportation to ask if there’s a reason for the delay and if alternate plans for the rest of the bike lanes might put them closer to the middle of the boulevard.
We were told an alternate plan may be considered, but the city must and will finish the work on Queens Boulevard and the mayor is committed to that.
Critics of those bike lanes have said they can slow traffic and hurt businesses by taking away parking spots.