Astoria Restaurant Starts Online Petition to Get Bike Corral

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on October 3, 2012 11:58am 

ASTORIA — An Astoria restaurant lauded as being "bike friendly" is putting the pedal to the metal in its battle to install parking for bikes in the street in front of the eatery — starting an online petition after the community board quashed the proposal.

Community Board 1 denied the Queens Kickshaw's request, saying the so-called "bike corral" — which would be installed in the street instead of on the sidewalk, like regular bike racks — would take a valuable parking spot in a busy shopping area.

In response, the restaurant — on Broadway between Steinway and 41st streets — started a petition on Change.org that the owners said they would later present to CB1. As of Wednesday morning, the petition had gathered more than 250 signatures.

The restaurant’s owners, Jennifer Lim and Ben Sandler, wrote in the petition that “a good percentage of our customers ride their bikes to come to our business.”

Sandler said that "on any given day, we have dozens of cyclists patronize our business” but there is room for only two bikes at a parking meter directly in front of the restaurant. 

And the restaurant, which Transportation Alternatives, a transit advocacy group, named the restaurant Queens’ first “Bike Friendly Business,” says that bike racks are not a practical solution because they would block the sidewalk along with an outdoor cafe next door.

Earlier this year the DOT — which installs corrals throughout the five boroughs based upon community request — presented the Queens Kickshaw's request to the Transportation Committee of CB1.

But the board denied the request “because it’s going to take up a very valuable parking space,” said Lucille Hartmann, District Manager.

She said the parking is crucial for merchants on Broadway and Steinway streets, which are major shopping areas.

“Many businesses there are competing with shopping malls where there is parking available,” Hartmann noted.

She also said that diners will soon be able to park their bikes in front of the library across the street. The library will be getting two racks that can accommodate up to eight bikes each, according to library officials.

A spokesman for the DOT said the agency “is happy to work with local community boards to identify future bike parking locations and is in touch with Queens Community Board 1 to discuss options for this area.”

According to the DOT, there are six corrals locations citywide, including one in Queens at MoMA PS1.

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