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80 Bike Racks Coming to Forest Hills Amid Glut of Cycling Commuters

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 18, 2014 8:44am
 The DOT is planning to install an additional 80 bike racks in the neighborhood in 2015.
Forest Hills Commuters Who Cycle To Train Station Want more Bike Racks
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QUEENS — Brian Beswick, a 37-year old Forest Hills resident, considered himself lucky on Wednesday morning.

When he arrived at the train station on his bike around 9 a.m., there was a spot available at a nearby bike rack, a commodity that is increasingly hard to find around the 71st/Continental Avenue train station, he said.

“Usually, I would have to lock it up along the rails that surround the trees or a scaffold,” Beswick said.

As the number of commuters biking to the train station in Forest Hills continues to grow, the area does not seem to have enough racks to hold all the two-wheelers, cyclists said.

On Wednesday morning, more than 100 bikes were parked along 71st Avenue, between Queens Boulevard and Station Square, a two-block stretch.

About 20 bike racks have been installed in recent years along that stretch, but most of them fit only two bikes, cyclists said. There is also a bike shelter that holds four bike racks.

On Wednesday, dozens of bikes were chained to scaffolding that surrounds a building in Station Square, tree guards, street signs, an LIRR overpass — even bus stops.

According to data provides by the Department of Transportation, there are currently 112 bike racks throughout Forest Hills.

But a spokesman said the agency plans to install an additional 80 bike racks in the neighborhood, which can hold two bikes each. It was not clear when or where they will be installed.

Beswick, a management consultant, who has been biking to the train station from his home at Yellowstone Boulevard and Fleet Street for the past five years, said he noticed a significant increase in the number of residents cycling to the station about a year ago.

“There is a need for at least 10 more bike racks and at least another bicycle shelter,” he said. He also suggested “more dual racks, which can hold at least 4 bikes,” instead of two.

Peter Beadle, of the Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee and the Community Board 6 Transportation Committee, said that as part of the participatory budgeting that was recently introduced to the district by Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, he will try to push for bike lanes along 71th Avenue, between Metropolitan Avenue and Burns Street.

“This will help provide all these people, where there is a clear demand, a safer route to get to their commuter train,” Beadle said.

Beadle also said he would search for a suitable spot for a bike corral, which consists of several bike racks installed in the curbside lane of the street.

Sue Wang, 56, an office worker, who started commuting to the station on her bike from Ingram Street about two years ago, said that she has also noticed an increase in the number of bicyclists in the area.

But she said she solved the problem of looking for a parking spot by getting an old bike, which she does not keep locked up. "My bike is really heavy, old and not fancy at all,” she said, adding that she leaves it at the bike shelter.

“When I come back from work, it’s always there,” she said.