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Local Cyclists Push for 'Bike Loop' to Connect Queens Parks

By Katie Honan | July 13, 2015 8:52am
 The Queens Bike Initiative wants to make it safer and easier to visit the borough's parks. 
The Queens Bike Initiative wants to make it safer and easier to visit the borough's parks. 
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JACKSON HEIGHTS — A group of local cyclists have dreamed up a loop of bike lanes that connect all the neighborhood parks, and have created a petition to get things rolling.

The Queens Bike Initiative envisions a roughly 3-mile bike lane between parks in Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst, including Travers Park, Bulova Park, Gorman Playground, East Elmhurst Playground and Fisher Pool.

While the route is tentative, it suggests adding lanes to 78th, 77th and 90th streets, 30th and 25th avenues, and other roads that connect to parks.

It could also provide faster access to the larger Astoria Park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, they said. 

The cyclists created a petition to garner support and are planning meet-ups and rides on the proposed route weekends this summer. 

The lanes "could change a whole perception and dynamic of Jackson Heights," said Annette Rubin, 27, who is involved with the project.

She's lived in Jackson Heights her whole life but said "the idea of riding a bike in New York City really petrifies me."

"If there were more bike lanes, I would ride. Bike lanes should be necessary, should be mandatory within the city," she said. 

The connected loop will get neighbors to parks faster than taking public transportation, she said, which is vital in a neighborhood that lacks many public open spaces. 

See the proposed map on their website.

Their slogan, "Let's get together!" refers to the connected bike loops and the desire to connect neighborhoods that are underserved by public transportation.

While most Jackson Heights and Corona residents are close to a subway, East Elmhurst relies mostly on buses. 

More bike lanes would ease commutes, the group said. 

The petition is at its earliest stages, and any bike lane additions would require Department of Transportation approval, as well as support from local community boards.

There are already bike lanes throughout Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona, but some plans have been met with opposition.

A proposal by the DOT to add bike lanes and other changes to 111th Street in Corona was blocked twice by Community Board 4, which said there hadn't been enough community input into the plan.