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Queens Boulevard Will Get Bike Lanes That Community Board Rejected: Mayor

By Katie Honan | May 11, 2016 1:06pm

ELMHURST — Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that a plan to add protected bike lanes to a portion of Queens Boulevard, which was voted down at a community board meeting a day earlier, will move forward anyway.

“Achieving Vision Zero means protecting the lives of everyone on our streets, whether they are walking, in a wheelchair, in a car or on a bike," he said in a statement. "We are committed to ending the senseless loss of life on our streets, and there is no more potent symbol or example of that transformation than Queens Boulevard."

The plan, presented Tuesday at a Community Board 4 meeting, involves many safety measures including larger pedestrian islands, changes to turns and protected bike lanes. 

READ MORE: Bike Lanes Left Out of Community Board's Approval of Queens Boulevard Fixes

Board members who discussed the plan agreed that major changes were necessary to fix Queens Boulevard, but they were unsure about bike lanes.

The board voted in favor of an amended plan that recommended all of the Department of Transportation's proposal, except the separate space for bikes.

Community Board votes are advisory, not binding. 

De Blasio said that while he respected those who disagreed with the vision for Queens Boulevard, safety for all is the "most fundamental responsibility." 

"Today, I have instructed the Department of Transportation to move forward on the next phase of safety enhancements to Queens Boulevard, including a protected lane for cyclists," he said.

The decision was praised by the local bike community, including the Queens Bike Initiative, which advocates for more lanes around the borough.

"We are deeply thankful that Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation are taking a comprehensive approach to drastically improve safety on Queens Boulevard," the Bike Initiative wrote in a statement.