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Queens has seen about 40 miles of bike lanes installed in the borough since 2006, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), as part of a campaign to expand New York City’s street bike network and “make cycling a real transportation choice for even more New Yorkers.”
Cyclists and biking groups have been impressed by the city’s progress.
“I definitely feel safer, now that we have our own place,” said Mike Heffron, an Astoria resident and cyclist who volunteers part-time for the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “Not everyone rides for recreation, you ride to get somewhere. The city needs to provide a safe network.”
Wiley Norvell, communications director of Transportation Alternatives, agrees. “It’s had a pretty significant impact on the cycling experience in New York City,” he said about the city’s efforts. Over the last decade, cities across the country have made great strides for bikers, but not NYC, said Norvell, who bikes five miles from Brooklyn to work in Manhattan through Queens. “In the last year, we’ve seen the log jam break. The new bike lanes are amazingly efficient.”
Some borough residents were angered with plans for new or expanded bike lanes that would come at the expense of less parking. Every bike lane project is separate, a DOT spokesperson said, so the exact amount of parking spaces lost has not been calculated.
After DOT officials received opposition to the expansion of a bike lane on 73rd Avenue in Hillcrest from Assemblymember Rory Lancman and concerned residents, the agency did not pursue the development.
“I’m glad DOT listened to the community and abandoned its plans to eliminate parking on 73rd Avenue in order to expend precious resources on enhancing the already existing and under utilized bike lanes,” Lancman said. “I have never heard from any constituent, any resident of the community or even from my friends and my family that ‘only if there was some sort of buffer zone around the bike lanes, then I would use the bike lanes.’”
Plans have already been implemented or are moving forward in many sites in Queens. “We have seen a 77 percent increase in the number of cyclists in New York City since 2000 and we are working hard to ensure that the streets are as safe as possible for them,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a press release. “Our strategic plan calls for doubling the number of bicycle commuters by 2015. Bringing innovative cycling infrastructure to the streets of New York is a down payment toward reaching that goal.”
Norvell said that usage of city space changes with people’s attitudes. “I think there’s increasing understanding that biking is good in Queens,” he said. “Space is going to come from automobiles. It’s about doing it in a way where the benefits outweigh the drawbacks by being mindful of not disrupting people’s routines.”
If more physically protected bikes lanes are installed, Norvell added, more people would bike. “As more bikers take to the streets,” he said, “it’ll convince their neighbors that biking is a great way to get around Queens.”


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