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Push for bike lane on ‘Boulevard of Death’

Elected officials, advocates and community members across the borough rallied recently to give life to a new bike lane on the “Boulevard of Death.”
On Sunday, July 27, Councilmember James Gennaro and the family of Asif Rahman, who was killed in a bike accident last February, highlighted the rally to advocate for a bike lane on the dangerous Queens Boulevard.
Rahman, a 22-year-old resident of Jamaica, was struck on Queens Boulevard by a truck as he was biking home from work. Reckless driving and a lack of adequate space for bicyclists to maneuver cut Rahman’s life short.
However, this accident was not the first to happen on this “Boulevard of Death.” Roughly, 100 bicyclists and pedestrians are struck on the boulevard each year, according to figures from Gennaro’s office.
With the exponential growth of bike riding, increasing 77 percent in New York City since 2000, according to the Department of Transportation, this rally aimed to send a direct message to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to try to make bike lanes accessible on Queens Boulevard.
In a letter co-signed by Councilmembers John Liu and Eric Gioia, Gennaro said, “The lack of dedicated bike lanes on Queens Boulevard leaves cyclists without a safe path to travel and leaves motorists and pedestrians without the adequate separation they need to avoid collisions as well.”
Councilmember Gioia, who represents Woodside, Sunnyside, Maspeth, Long Island City and Astoria agreed.
“We need to assure the people of Queens that everything possible is being done to keep them and their families safe - whether they’re in a car, on a bicycle or walking.”
Along with the councilmembers at the rally, Rahman’s mother and sister were there to inform the community about this tragedy and help to advocate for sufficient bike lanes on Queens Boulevard.
“It often takes a death, or two or three, for things to really move, but sometimes if the force of the community and the backing of local politicians are strong enough, sometimes we don’t need to wait for the news of the next death, of the next fallen son, of the next dead friend,” said Moumita Rahman, Asif’s sister.
The mayor has proposed a plan to extend the safety of bikers by adding miles of bike lanes throughout the city, but Gennaro does not think that is enough for the community.
“The mayor has come up with a three-year, 200-mile plan for bike lanes and a more extensive plan by 2030, but the three-year-plan does not include Queens Boulevard,” said Gennaro.

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