Temporary bike lane coming to Crescent Street as pandemic stalls final phase of Queens Boulevard project

Via Google Maps

Construction of a temporary protected bike lane on Crescent Street spanning from Long Island City to Astoria is set to begin as part of the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the city’s Department of Transportation.

The nearly mile-long bike lane will run from Queens Plaza North to Hoyt Avenue North connecting cyclists from the Queensborough Bridge to the Triborough Bridge.

“The Crescent Street bike lane will be opening in phases, starting with the southern portion. Our plan is to begin next week and then continue northward as resources become available,” a DOT spokesperson said. “We will create this two-way lane by primarily using barrels and signage. We will be sure to update the community as we proceed, in particular in the area near Astoria Medical Plaza where we are still gathering feedback and in discussions with Mt. Sinai, and we will continue conversations about a full Astoria bike network and a future Street Improvement Project on Crescent Street.”

Councilman Costa Constantinides has called for a holistic transit network in western Queens that prioritizes bike infrastructure when it comes to connecting neighborhoods. In September, Constantinides first supported a protected bike lane along Crescent Street, which would provide a north-to-south connection from Astoria to Long Island City.

“Though Crescent Street deserved this protected bike lane long before this pandemic shut down New York City. I am thrilled to see its construction finally begin,” Constantinides said. “Going to work shouldn’t be a daily life-or-death scenario, but sadly it too often is. Those who can cycle deserve a better north-to-south route, from the Triborough Bridge to the Queensborough Bridge. My office is ready to work with the Department of Transportation to get this right, especially as later phases move north and interact with Mt. Sinai Queens. I hope this is just the first step in creating a holistic transit network for western Queens.”

Meanwhile, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told a City Council hearing that the fourth and final phase of the Queens Boulevard redesign project, with a controversial protected bike lane stretching from Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike, will not be completed this year due to the pandemic.

“There are some things we were trying to wrap up with that project before corona hit, with a design firm and state overseers,” Trottenberg said. “I don’t have a totally clear answer when we move forward with that project.”

The DOT remains committed to the Queens Boulevard redesign and hopes to be able to implement the final phase of the project starting later this year.

“Because the project is federally funded, it requires sign-offs from both FHWA and NYSDOT. As the commissioner said at the hearing, that process had been on track, but has been delayed by the COVID-19 crisis,” a DOT spokesperson said. “Once that review is complete, DOT will be able to provide a more detailed timeline for implementing this critical safety issue.”