Bike lanes don’t help pedestrians

By Anna Orjuela

Mayor de Blasio has once again shown his total lack of regard and respect for the people of Queens, Community Board 4 and the residents of Elmhurst.

On May 11, the community board voted unanimously for the Queens Boulevard safety measures except bicycle lanes. Representatives from the Department of Transportation were asked if the mayor intended to push through the bike lanes regardless of the vote and refused to answer. Rather, they danced around the question. Well, we got our answer.

Queens Boulevard is the major thoroughfare in Queens. It was never intended to be a park. It’s not a playground.

Bike lanes will not make Queens Boulevard safer for pedestrians. When a DOT representative was asked how a biker would make a turn off of Queens Boulevard, he replied that they could obey the traffic light and cross with the cars or they could pedal through the pedestrian crosswalk with the pedestrians. How is that making it safer for pedestrians?

By eliminating one lane of traffic on each side what will happen if a car stalls in front of a bus? The bus will have nowhere to go except sit behind the car until it is towed away. What if it’s an ambulance or police car or fire engine? Won’t slowing traffic have a huge impact on emergency vehicles?

The bike lane will eliminate 88 parking spaces in a short span of blocks. But the administration is allowing high rises to be built all along this stretch of Queens Boulevard (and the side streets) with no parking garages or driveways required. Our community has blocks of row houses with no garages or driveways and street parking is our only choice. We have shops along Queens Boulevard and some side streets. Where will customers park their cars?

But, of course, this is not the Mayor’s concern. His agenda must go through regardless of the cost to the residents, not to mention the enormous cost in dollars to the taxpayer.

It was unfortunate that our own Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) chose to be accompanied to the meeting by a group of bicyclists, many of whom do not live in the immediate area, and many of whom were disruptive, rude and disrespectful.

We, as a community, feel that this is an egregious wrong inflicted upon us by the mayor and the elected officials who are supposed to be “by the people and for the people.” It is glaringly apparent that they do not subscribe to this tenet.

Anna Orjuela

Member of Elmhurst United