ASTORIA — Cyclists are calling for the city to add a protected bike lane along Crescent Street, saying the road offers a direct connection to the Queensboro Bridge that will become even more vital once Citi Bike expands to the neighborhood in the coming months.
Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is campaigning for a lane along all of Crescent Street, which runs through Astoria from 20th Avenue into Long Island City and currently does not have a bike path.
Installing a protected lane — which would erect a physical barrier between cyclists and traffic — would make the street safer for those who already use it to get to the bridge, as well as for residents who may want to start biking but are discouraged by the lack of infrastructure, organizer Juan Restrepo said.
"We need safe protected lanes that permit that kind of person to emerge, to feel safe," he said, noting that it would also aid new Citi Bike riders, as the rental service is set to expand from Long Island City into Astoria over the next few months.
Of the 59 Citi Bike stations planned for the neighborhood, seven are located along Crescent Street, according to a finalized map released by the Department of Transportation on Friday.
"We're building infrastructure so regular people can easily access a bike, why aren’t we building infrastructure so that people can easily get to the bridge?" Restrepo asked. "It's sort of like a natural reaction."
On Monday, the agency and other city officials pledged to expand the number of bike lanes in certain neighborhoods it considers underserved by the existing network, though Astoria was not on the list of priority areas.
A DOT spokeswoman, however, said the agency "looks forward" to hearing from local stakeholders about Crescent Street and will "take their suggestions under consideration."
Macartney Morris, who lives on Crescent Street and cycles on it daily during his commute to work in Manhattan, said adding a bike lane to the street is a "no brainer."
While there are other north-south bike lanes in Astoria, none of them go straight through the neighborhood without detours, as Crescent Street does, he explained.
"It’s a direct route straight to the bridge," he said, adding that a protected bike lane would also narrow the street — which consists of two southbound lanes in several areas — and encourage drivers to go slower.
"There's really big speed problems on Crescent Street," he said. "It’s a really wide roadway for most of the length of it. There's a lot of extra space that’s not usually utilized."