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DOT To Start Construction on Bike Boulevard in Sunnyside in September

39th Avenue (Photo: Instagram @swopenstreets)

Aug. 31, 2021 By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation announced today that it will start construction on its 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard in Sunnyside in September.

The installation of the bike boulevard will bring significant change to portions of 39th Avenue and Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside.

The plan involves converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones in order to create space for a protected bicycle lane and other traffic-calming measures.

The plan received the backing of Community Board 2 in June and has the support of Council Member Van Bramer.

Advocates for the bike boulevard say it will increase traffic safety, while provide a key bike connection from Jackson Heights to Sunnyside. It also comes at a time when Citi Bike is about to expand into Sunnyside.

The avenue is one of five stretches across the city that will be transformed into a bike boulevard by the end of the year. The DOT plans to create one bike boulevard per borough.

Part of the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plan includes converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones (DOT presentation)

The 39th Avenue plan is complex and will bring significant change.

The DOT will be converting 39th Avenue between 45th and 47th streets (currently two-way) into a one-way street going west. It will also be converting Barnett Avenue—between 45th and 48th streets—into a one-way street going east. Currently that section of Barnett Avenue is a narrow two-way street.

In addition, the DOT will convert 39th Avenue from Woodside Avenue to 52nd Street into a one-way zone—west bound.

The DOT plans to add a series of crosswalks and bring other pedestrian safety features such as curb extensions to 39th and Barnett avenues. The agency says that the changes will lead to a reduction in speeding, thereby making the roadway more safe.

“This is all about traffic calming,” said Craig Baerwald, operations manager for the bike unit at DOT, who presented the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plans before CB2 via Zoom in June. “It makes it safer to bike but also makes it safer to walk and drive as well.”

The DOT at the June meeting said no parking spaces would be lost through the change.

The bike boulevard concept is an outgrowth of the Open Street program—a program that was created in 2020 soon after the outbreak of the pandemic.

The City converted 39th Avenue, from 45th Street to Woodside Avenue, to an “Open Street” last year. The avenue is currently closed to through traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on most days.

To see the plan, click here.

Part of the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plan includes converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones (DOT presentation)

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Nicole Boss

The residents in this area do not want this change. 39th Ave is the only continuous two way avenue allowing access to a majority of the residential homes in Sunnyside. The increased traffic on 39th avenue, 37th avenue and Barnett avenue is a direct result of the lane eliminations on both 43rd avenue and Skillman avenue caused by the introduction of a protected bike lane on both. Bike lanes that are primarily used by electronic scooters, licensed and unlicensed food delivery motorcycles/vespas/mopeds and joggers. Traffic also increased due in part to the shared roadways and there randomly placed roadblocks established during covid that are still being blocked to this day on both Skillman Ave (a direct link to both elementary schools in the area as well as an access lane to the Koch/59th street bridge) and 39th avenue. Not to mention the new bike highway will now cause more traffic to flow in the path of the new middle school being built because 48th street will become the only recourse for those residents effected by the elimination of the only two way avenue in the neighborhood. Citibank bikes have already been introduced into the area and have not significantly increased any of the bike traffic in any way, shape or form. Come unannounced with your cameras any day of the week and see for yourselves the amount of BIKES actually using the already in place protected bike lanes or this new bike highway but be prepared to sit in an unprecedented amount of traffic trying to get there to film it thanks to their construction! All we wanted was a pronounced crosswalk and four way stop sign at the entrance of the Sunnyside Gardens Park on 49th street and 39th avenue not this. Definitely not this!

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LIC DIRECT

More waste, more money,…. guess you are getting the neighborhood ready for the “Wilding” that will take place once the middle school is completed and the thugs come in to your peaceful enclave of sunnyside gardens…..thank you outgoing councilman jimmy “photo-op” van bramer — any more surprises before you leave office?

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