In response to the proposal for additional Citi Bike stations in the Queens Community Board 5 area, residents voiced their concerns for public safety during the board’s first meeting of the year, which was held virtually on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
During the public forum portion of the meeting, residents had the opportunity to sound off on the possibility of adding more bike lanes throughout Community Board 5 (CB 5) — which covers Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood — now that the Department of Transportation said additional bike stations were being installed starting the week of Jan. 9.
During the meeting, a letter by Ridgewood resident Racheal Albetski expressed her excitement for adding the Citi Bike stations. However, she stated it was important to see if additional bicycle infrastructure would also be considered.
“The expansion is going to be a great assistance for me and other residents getting around Ridgewood, as well other parts of the city,” Albetski’s letter read. “We also need to see an expansion of bicycle infrastructure. There are a lot of places in Ridgewood that would benefit from the installation of these bike lanes.”
She also said that she hoped to see improved infrastructure, such as bike lanes, at Cypress Avenue.
“Cypress Avenue is currently a very busy street that leads directly to Ridgewood Reservoir, but there is no bike lane,” Albeisky wrote. “We need to install a protected bike lane on Cypress Avenue to support safe cycling and to improve access to the Ridgewood Reservoir.”
Mallory Virginia Woods, another resident who lives within the confines of CB 5, was also in support of proper bike infrastructure.
“This a huge win for folks in this neighborhood, a majority of which doesn’t have access to a vehicle,” Woods said. “Our community desperately needs improved infrastructure like dedicated bike lanes, not just shared roads.”
The board made it clear that they didn’t push back against the installation of the bike lanes but wanted more input on where they would be located throughout CB 5.
Councilman Robert Holden, who has pushed for more community engagement from the beginning, weighed in on this.
“I fully support Community Board 5’s call for NYC DOT to allow the residents of Queens to look closely at the Citi Bike proposal and weigh in on it,” Holden said. “This is the best way to ensure that legitimate community outreach is done and that all voices are heard when deciding how best to expand the program in the area.
“I’m proud of the work my office, together with Juniper Park Civic Association, has done in proposing an alternate expansion plan. Had we been given more time and better access to engage with our local community board and other stakeholders, I’m confident we could have reached a compromise that would be beneficial for all.”
Currently, there is only one bike lane on Himrod Street, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano.
Giordano has also stated that there are currently no plans to add additional bike lanes within the confines of CB 5, to the board’s knowledge.