Bicyclists using the so called “Boulevard of Death” will soon be protected from dangerous accidents. A controversial protected bike lane will be built on Queens Blvd despite the opposition of the Community Board 4. Last Tuesday night during a contentious meeting of the Queens Community Board 4, its chairman Lou Walker pushed a vote to accept a DOT safety plan to re-design Queens Blvd but without the Bike lane. Walker’s argument was that Queens Blvd was “not a park” . The day after, Mayor de Blasio announced that despite the vote, the DOT will go ahead with its plan to safely re-design Queens Blvd including the protected bike lane. “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,” de Blasio said in a statement released this afternoon. “Today, I have instructed the Department of Transportation to move forward on the next phase of safety enhancements to Queens Boulevard, including a protected lane for cyclists.”
Queens Boulevard is infamously nicknamed Boulevard of Death because it is one of the most dangerous streets in New York City. As part of the Vision Zero initiative the Boulevard will be completely redesigned by the end of 2017. The project is divided into 3 parts. The first part was completed last year between Roosevelt Ave and 74th Street. It included Queen’s Boulevard’s first bike lane. The second part of the project is the one that was partially opposed by CB4 on Tuesday night but pushed through by de Blasio. In this phase, a protected bike lane will be installed on Queens Blvd between 74th Street and Elliott Ave. In this section of Queens Blvd. from 2010 to 2014 777 people were injured (including 42 severely) and 5 people died in traffic accidents. In its PDF presentation, the DOT estimates that 250 people ride their bikes every day on this part of Queens Blvd. When the bike lane will be installed there is a good chance that this number will increase as people will feel safer using their bikes.