You are reading

Watch: Sunnysiders Have Plenty to Say About 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard

Barnett Avenue at 45th Street, Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Sept. 24, 2021 By Michael Dorgan and Christian Murray

The NYC Dept. of Transportation is currently installing a bike boulevard on 39th Avenue in Sunnyside.

The QUEENS POST visited 39th Avenue on Wednesday and spoke to several people at random about the plan. The people interviewed happened to be either walking or riding their bikes in the area at the time.

The plan is complex and many portions of 39th Avenue and Barnett Avenue have been converted into one-way zones in recent days. The change has created space for the installation of a protected bicycle lane—which had yet to be constructed at the time of the interviews.

The overall street redesign, however, had gone into effect. For instance, the stretch on 39th Avenue between 45th and 47th streets (previously two-way) is now a one-way street going west. The DOT has also converted 39th Avenue from Woodside Avenue to 52nd Street into a one-way zone—westbound.

The plan has also seen Barnett Avenue—between 45th and 48th streets—converted into a one-way street going east. That section of Barnett Avenue was previously a narrow two-way street.

Most of the people who were interviewed—whether they be motorists, cyclists or pedestrians— were confused by the workings of the plan, and some wondered whether there was a need for such a major overhaul.

We urge readers to listen to the interviews and draw their own conclusions as to how the plan has been received. However, there were several themes that residents raised.

Many residents wondered why the DOT had to produce such a complex plan. Some said the addition of stop signs, traffic signals, speed bumps or crosswalks along 39th Avenue would have been enough to reduce speeding and make the strip safer. They questioned the need for such a major change.

Some said they didn’t see a need for a bike boulevard when there are protected bicycle lanes on Skillman Avenue and 43rd Avenue. Others argued that they now have to drive farther to get in and out of the area—which undermines the environmental upside to the plan.

Others were upset that parking spaces have been lost, despite the DOT saying that none would be removed when the plan was first announced.

Nevertheless, many people have praised the installation of new crosswalks for added safety along the boulevard.

The DOT acknowledged Friday that some spaces were being lost—although the agency said the number was minimal.

The agency, in a statement Friday, addressed some of the concerns and questions raised by residents. The full statement reads as follows:

“The Bike Boulevard on 39th Avenue will improve connections for cyclists traveling between Sunnyside, Woodside, and Jackson Heights — in particular from the 34th Avenue Open Street to protected bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Avenues leading to and from the Queensboro Bridge. The design also includes pedestrian safety improvements and elements to reduce speeding and discourage cut-through traffic on this neighborhood street, without negatively affecting traffic patterns in the neighborhood. The project, which received a vote of support from the local Community Board, requires minimal parking loss (at most 3 spots per block in an 8 block area) for the safety design to proceed, while also including features to accommodate emergency vehicles. We will continue to monitor this area closely following implementation.”

The plan, which was conceptually announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in May, has the backing of Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. Community Board 2 voted 21-11 in support of the plan in June.

At the June community board meeting—held via Zoom—more than 20 people provided public comment on the plan, with the vast majority in support of it. Many of the supporters said they were cyclists who lived on 39th Avenue and said the stretch needed to be safer.

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

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

The DOT, when it presented the plan to the community board, said that the one-way streets would reduce the number of motorists using 39th Avenue as a through-street. The agency said many drivers were using 39th Avenue as a corridor and that the changes would help prevent speeding.

The conversion, the agency also noted, would free up space for the DOT to add a protected bicycle lane on 39th Avenue and pedestrian infrastructure. The bike lane, the DOT noted, would also provide a link to Jackson Heights at a time when Citi Bike is about to expand into Sunnyside.

Many residents this week said that they were completely unaware that the bike boulevard was coming until construction began. Most are struggling to comprehend the changes.

But many are hopeful that it will lead to increased safety once residents get used to the change. Others were less confident.


39th Avenue and 45th Street, Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

New road markings have been going down on Barnett Avenue approaching 39th Avenue, pictured on Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

New road markings have been going down on 39th Avenue, pictured, near 50th Street on Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Sign posts at the intersection of 50th Street and 39th Avenue, pictured on Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

New crosswalk paintings have gone down at the intersection between 50th Street and 39th Avenue, pictured on Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

A car makes a left turn onto Barnett Avenue from 39th Avenue, pictured on Sept. 22, 2021 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.