By Bianca Fortis
Queens cyclists should gear up because Rego Park and Forest Hills will soon see 39 new bicycle parking racks, the city Department of Transportation said.
Frank Gulluscio, district manager of Community Board 6, said the idea to bring the bike racks to these neighborhoods was a collaborative effort.
“It was the constituents, storekeepers, regular people,” he said. “The DOT came and did a survey and they listened to people.”
The bike racks will be placed along Yellowstone Boulevard, down Austin Street and around 63rd Drive, Gulluscio said.
He said more and more community members are using bicycles so the bike racks are a good alternative to locking up the bikes on a tree or a parking sign. It helps free up the sidewalks, he said.
Peter Beadle, a CB 6 member and volunteer of the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives, said the new bike racks address a real need in Queens.
Beadle, who commutes a few days a week from his Rego Park home to Manhattan via bicycle, said there is a growing realization that bikes are a legitimate form of transportation.
“They’re economical, environmentally friendly and healthy to use as an individual — they’ve helped my blood pressure, that’s for sure,” he said. “More people realize, ‘Hey, this is something I can do myself.’”
According to Beadle, studies show that when infrastructure is built, people will use it — and that includes bike racks.
He said the ideal placement for bike racks is near transportation hubs. Someone who may not want to commute by bike all the way to work can ride to a train station or a bus stop and then use public transportation, he explained. This helps assuage the “first mile, last mile” problem many commuters face when they want to use public transit.
Beadle said he hopes CB 6 will consider holding a forum focused on bicycle infrastructure to make more areas of the community safer and more efficient for transportation.
Beyond bikes, he also hopes the DOT will consider a redesign of Queens Boulevard, known colloquially as the “Boulevard of Death” for the high rate of pedestrians killed on it, to make it safer.
“We have this vital artery that runs through Queens that is dedicated to motor vehicles,” Beadle said. “We can repurpose it so that it still serves those cars, but also better serves mass transit, bicycles and pedestrians to create a more livable space.”
Anyone can suggest new locations for bike racks throughout the city. These can be submitted through an online form available on the nyc.gov website.
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.