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Pedestrians and Cyclists Advocate for Safer Conduit Avenue

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | August 14, 2015 1:59pm
 Residents will walk along the dangerous Queens street Saturday morning. 
Local Pedestrians and Cyclists to Advocate for Safer Conduit Avenue
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QUEENS — Local pedestrians and cyclists will walk along the crash-prone Conduit Avenue this Saturday to try and raise awareness of the dangerous conditions in the area.

Conduit Avenue, especially between Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach and Atlantic Avenue in Cypress Hills, serves as an important link between Southeast Queens and Brooklyn. Drivers also use it to access Linden Boulevard and the Belt Parkway.

But currently, there are no bike lanes along the thoroughfare and there have also been reports of drivers speeding along the street. 

Between 2009 and 2013, seven people were killed and 41 were severely injured in accidents along that stretch of Conduit Avenue. During that time, a total of 763 people were injured including 42 pedestrians and 13 bicyclists, according to statistics provided by the Department of Transportation.

"Unfortunately this reality discourages many people from walking or even biking in the area," said Daniel Solow, 24, of Southern Queens Greenway, an advocacy group pushing for a greenway in the area to improve pedestrian and cycling access between Brooklyn and Southeast Queens.

A DOT spokeswoman said in an email that the agency is aware of the concerns and is currently in the process of studying Conduit Avenue between Atlantic and Sutter avenues for possible safety enhancements.

This Saturday, local residents and activists will walk 3.5 miles along Conduit Avenue, from the Vito Locascio Field at Cross Bay Boulevard and 149th Avenue to the entrance of Highland Park

"Along the way, participants will survey existing conditions and brainstorm solutions for transforming the dangerous Conduit Median into a safe and pedestrian-friendly roadway," the organizers said.

The area, locals said, is nearly a bike desert. The only nearby bike lanes are on 84th Street in Lindenwood and 157th Avenue in Howard Beach.

Portions of the Brooklyn Queens Greenway have been built along the Belt Parkway from Brooklyn to Howard Beach and in Highland Park in Cypress Hills, on the Brooklyn-Queens border. But the group is pushing to extend the greenway to connect Brooklyn with parks in Southeast Queens.

The proposed 32-mile Southern Queens Greenway, initially envisioned by the city in 2000, sought to connect Highland Park with Brookville Park in Rosedale and Alley Pond Park in Bayside, allowing cyclists and joggers to move between the parks along Conduit Avenue, the Belt Parkway, Laurelton Parkway and the Cross Island Parkway.

So far only small portions of it — in Highland and Brookville parks — have been built. 

The Walk the Conduit Rally will take place on Saturday, August 15, at 9 a.m. The group will start at Vito Locascio Ball Field at 149th Ave and Cross Bay Boulevard and walk towards Highland Park. For more information go here.