CB5 pedals forward on adding designated bike lanes

CB5 pedals forward on adding designated bike lanes
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Bianca Fortis

Community members who live within the confines of Community Board 5 will soon have an opportunity to weigh in on proposed bike lanes in the area, according to officials from the city Department of Transportation.

CB 5, which includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, now is a void for bike lanes.

DOT and the Department of City Planning received grant funding for bike planning purposes and are partnering to develop the plans for new lanes, the DOT said.

The two departments already are considering several possible paths.

In Middle Village, they are Juniper Boulevard South from 69th Street to Dry Harbor Road and 80th Street from the Long Island Expressway to Myrtle Avenue. In Ridgewood, there is a proposed route along Woodward and Onderdonk avenues beginning at Metropolitan Avenue.

Another route up for consideration would run through Glendale on Central and Cooper avenues from Cypress Hills Street to Woodhaven Boulevard. Two more routes would run through much of the district: Eliot Avenue from Metropolitan Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard and 69th Street from Calamus Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue.

Gary Giordano, district manager for CB 5, said the city agencies are in the measuring phase of studying the proposed routes.

He said they are expected to return to the board with a proposal by late September or early October. From there, the DCP will hold a public meeting to seek input from community members, according to the DOT.

The new routes should be identified by early 2014, the DOT said.

Giordano said the idea for the bike lanes came from board members who happen to be cyclists.

“They were interested in what was being proposed to Community Board 2 for bicycle lanes,” he said. “They basically said to DOT and City Planning, ‘We would love to discuss doing this within CB 5.’ That’s sort of where it started.”

CB 2 covers Woodside, Sunnyside, Astoria and Long Island City.

Bike lanes throughout CB 5 were proposed in May 1997 when the DOT and DCP issued the New York City Bicycle Master Plan as part of the Bicycle Network Development Project. But a DOT spokesman said that plan is not a driving force behind the proposal.

Instead it is a result of “a community-based planning process,” he said.

Giordano said there is some difficulty in choosing roadways to be designated as bike routes because the streets within the district are narrow. He said there was little discussion about putting bike lanes on Myrtle or Metropolitan avenues because of their widths.

Despite not having designated bike lanes, the community does see more cyclists, Giordano said.

“Obviously it’s healthy for the cyclists,” he said. “It’s reducing pollution compared to driving a car. So it’s good for those reasons.”

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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