Read Our Statement

Queens Streets represents over 12,000 people in Sunnyside Woodside.

FROM: Queen Streets, an alliance of the undersigned; organization letters submitted;
Skillman Project
Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce
Access Queens
United Forties
PS11 PTA
PS150 PTA
Mimar Sinan Camii Mosque
Young Israel Synagogue
Queen of Angels Church
AR Rahman Jame Masjid Mosque
Sunnyside Reformed Church
Grace Fellowship Church
St. Sebastian’s Church
Holy Mountain Preschool
Over 2300 individuals and counting, also online

TO: Mayor Bill DeBlasio
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer
Community Board 2 Chair Denise Keehan-Smith
NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg
Queens DOT Deputy Commissioner Nicole Garcia
Senator Michael Gianaris
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
Congressman Joseph Crowley

The majority of the community in and near the DOT proposed changes for Sunnyside-Woodside corridor, residents, houses of worship, schools and businesses do not support the DOT changes as presented for Skillman and 43rd Avenues:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/skillman-ave-43rd-ave-june2018.pdf
We ask in one voice that the proposal, as is, be dropped.

The DOT has emphasized since November of 2017 that their main focus here is safety and that the protected bicycle lanes are only one part of their agenda. We all agree and want to work together on increased safety for all.

Where we differ is how to achieve that goal. We have submitted suggestions to the DOT and Community Board 2 on behalf of all corridor organizations, below. Please note that in recent conversations between Sunnyside business owners and members of Transportation Alternatives, both agreed that placing protected bike lanes on nearby Northern Blvd, a byway with far greater record of accidents, is an agreeable solution (see below).

The DOT has not yet shown any interest in adopting recent Community Board 2 suggestions, or ours, which elsewhere in NYC, such as speed cameras, have brought down accidents 63%. The DOT seems solely focused on protected bike lanes, belying their statement that their main concern is about safety improvements for Skillman and 43rd Aves. We currently have painted bicycle lanes on the two avenues, and making them and the streets safer could be done literally overnight for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

Suggested safety improvements for Skillman and 43rd Avenues

1. SIGNAL DELAY: Introduce a delayed green light for drivers to give pedestrians additional time to cross after the pedestrian crossing signal has turned “red” and before the traffic light turns green as the DOT introduced on Queens Blvd and in Jackson Heights.

2. INTRODUCE HEADSTART signal timing for bicycles and pedestrians.

3. STAGGER THE SIGNALS to slow traffic down. Currently, cyclists and drivers can expect to go from 50th Street to 39th Street on Skillman without stopping.

4. MAKE MORE VISIBLE current bike lanes.

5. INSTALL SPEED CAMERAS.

6. INSTALL ONE-WAY directional signs. Vehicles often go the wrong way on the two avenues.

7. INSTALL “No Through Trucks” signs.

8. INSTALL SPEED LIMIT signs along Skillman and 43rd Avenues.

9. INCREASE ENFORCEMENT for cyclists and drivers. Many complain of cyclists not yielding at red lights, disobeying speed limits, riding on the sidewalks, and riding the wrong direction on both Skillman and 43rd Avenues. If double-parking is necessary, business should inform delivery trucks to do so on the non-bike lane side of the avenue so that cyclists may stay in their lanes.

10. EDUCATE: Encourage to cross the road on the upstream of traffic to make them safer as they cross above cars turning right or left onto Skillman, and below cars turning up 43rd Ave.
11. PRESENT BELIEVABLE STATISTICS: Some proposal data seem configured to support DOT proposals, such as using the number of cyclists were day from a public “Ride Your Bike to Work Day,” or citing improved safety statistics from over a 3-year period as stemming solely from protected bike lanes. The lanes on Queens Blvd. have only been in effect for one of the three years cited, and other calming measures such as enough time for pedestrians to cross have greatly improved safety.

12. PLEASE LISTEN to the community and experts. FDNY officials have publicly stated before Community Board 2 on June 7 that adding the proposal will make it impossible for fire trucks turn onto Skillman at 50th Street and to get through, if there are any vehicles double parked, also true for any large trucks.

13. RECONSIDER MOVING BICYCLE LANES: All worry about moving the bike lanes next to the sidewalk, forcing, for instance, 2400 public school children a day to cross an active bike lane.

14. SAVE PARKING spaces.
A. Residents often circle an hour to park a car they need for work or daily life. Apartment buildings house most residents and do not contain parking. We have no municipal parking; curb cuts are largely illegal for homeowners.
B. Local businesses rely on parking spaces for both their clients and workers; factories, professionals, offices, restaurants, stores, super markets. Without exaggeration, further reduction in the already scarce public parking will force many to close or move.
C. All of the houses of worship in Sunnyside and Woodside strongly oppose a loss of parking, with no exceptions.
D. Schools: Unable to speak out because employees of the city, our Parent-Teacher Associations are speaking for their schools in one voice that an loss of parking will be harmful to parents, teachers, workers and children.

15. SAVE OUR MARKET: The implementation of protected bike lanes appears to mean the loss of the Sunnyside Greenmarket, a popular city initiative.

16. EXPLORE NORTHERN BLVD. as an alternative route for protected bike lanes because:
A. It is a wider, longer road with more lanes of traffic
B. It links Nassau County, Queens, LIC and delivers directly to the Queensboro Bridge.
C. Businesses on Northern Blvd are less likely to be affected by reduced parking as many have their own parking lots.
D. It is a more dangerous roadway at present.

17. FULLY INFORM the public about DOT proposals, which has not yet been done.

Thank you for your attention to this matter of extreme importance to us.

QueensStreetsNYC@gmail.com

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