First District 25 Bike Ride held in Kissena Park

By Madina Toure

About 25 Queens residents joined state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) for the inaugural District 25 Bike Ride late Monday morning to discover ways to improve biking paths.

The riders, who were led by fellow biker Rozic, started on Kissena Boulevard and Rose Avenue and ended in Cunningham Park on 210th Street and 67th Avenue.

“We’re here to promote parkland, we’re here to promote cycling,” Rozic told the riders before the bike ride started.

Kissena Park and Cunningham Park, both in Rozic’s district, are part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway, a 40-mile pedestrian and cycling path connecting New York City parks.

Following the bike ride, Rozic and the riders concluded that there should be better signage along crossings, specifically on 164th Street and Utopia Parkway, and curb cuts along the route, especially on Utopia Parkway and Kissena Corridor East.

They also suggested that the greenway should be milled and repaved, calling for the greenway markers to be repainted.

Former Fresh Meadows resident Joby Jacob, 40, who has been living in Hollis Hills for the past 10 years, has been involved in a campaign calling for the Long Island Motor Parkway bike and pedestrian trail in Bellerose to be upgraded.

He said people erroneously believe that there are not many cyclists in Queens, calling for a system of off-street paths for cyclists.

“There are actually a lot of cyclists in the area,” Jacob said.

Flushing residents Polly and James Chea, parents of Rory, 13, and Parker, 15, said their family has been cycling for years. They typically ride their bikes in the Kissena Velodrome, a track on Booth Memorial Avenue at Parsons Boulevard as well as on the streets.

Polly Chea said the bike ride was an opportunity to assess the different bike trails and routes and make people more aware of cycling in general.

“It’s great because we have a lot more cyclists riding the road and it’s really important for drivers to share the road so we can have kids riding safely on the street,” she said.

Her husband, James, said it is important for riders to be more visible on the streets.

“We just want to emphasize and speak a little bit about riding safety awareness,” he said.

Their son, Parker, said he participated in the ride because he is interested in making the city safer for biking.

“I’m hoping to at least improve the streets here,” he said.

His sister, Rory, said that biking is better for the environment, noting that the gas used for cars negatively affects air quality.

“I want Queens to have more people biking than driving cars,” she said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.