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Photo via DOT
Photo via DOT

The Department of Transportation wants to add protected bike lanes along 43rd and Skillman Avenues in Sunnyside, two areas deemed Vision Zero Priorities.

In April, Corona cyclist Gelasio Reyes, 32, was killed on 43rd Avenue by a drunk driver. According to the DOT, there have been 341 injuries along the two avenues during a five-year period and 15 people have been killed or seriously injured from 2010 through 2014.

The agency first revealed their plan to the Community Board 2 Transportation Committee on Nov. 7, the LIC Post reported.

In total, the plan would establish a seven-mile protected bike network from Forest Hills to Midtown Manhattan, strengthen pedestrian safety and discourage speeding, according to the DOT.

But to do this, 118 parking spots would be lost on Skillman and 43rd Avenues to install pedestrian islands and right turn lanes. An additional 40 parking spots from 39th Street to Queens Boulevard on Skillman Avenue would also be lost to implement the plan.

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Bicycle lanes were first installed along the avenues in 2008. After a serious injury and Reyes’ death in April, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and cyclists asked the agency to make safety improvements and potentially add a protected bike lane along the corridors.

The new plan would reconfigure Skillman Avenue from 39th to 49th Streets and 43rd Avenue from 38th to 52nd Streets to include shorter pedestrian crossings. The bicycle lane, which is currently sandwiched between a parking lane and travel lane, would be moved next to the sidewalk.

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Skillman Avenue from 49th to 56th Streets and 43rd Avenue from 32nd Place to 38th Street would also be reconfigured in a similar way. The DOT is proposing to remove one travel and parking lane to make it exclusively for parking. The agency argues that these changes will discourage speeding and maintain the same flow of traffic.

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The plan would also add 30 pedestrian islands along the corridors and upgrade all crosswalks to high visibility crosswalks, especially in areas like P.S. 11, which would ease traffic and make it safer for students and parents to cross the street.

DOT is proposing to ban a right turn from 43rd Avenue to Roosevelt Avenue. There would still be two-way car access on 51st Street and the protected bike lane would be extended to Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street. The extension would allow cyclists to connect to Queens Boulevard.

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The Sunnyside Yards area would also be reconfigured. From 33rd to 39th Streets on Skillman Avenue there would be one full-time travel lane and one 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. curbside travel lane. The angled parking would be moved to the middle of the street and the protected bike lane would be installed next to the sidewalk.

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Finally, Skillman Avenue from 32nd Place to Queens Boulevard would include a two-way bicycle lane to allow for an easier transition from the Queens Boulevard Bridge over Sunnyside Yards.

Jason Banrey, deputy commissioner for the DOT, told the board he would like to have the plan approved by January so the agency can begin implementing it in the spring, according to LIC Post.

A spokesperson for the DOT did not confirm this timeline.

“DOT is still reviewing the proposal with local elected officials and stakeholders and is in the process of formulating next steps,” the spokesperson said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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