Astoria, Transportation
Dec 19, 2017

Save the Date: Sunnyside Transportation Town Hall January 16, 2018

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018 there will be a town hall meeting at Sunnyside Community Services to discuss a redesign of 43rd and Skillman Avenues to accommodate protected bike lanes and safer access for pedestrians.

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Although it was originally scheduled for tonight, the organizers of a town hall regarding the redesign of 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue have postponed this important community meeting until after the holidays and into the new year—January 16, 2018. Basically, the meeting will be about plans to adjust a 2.6 mile segment of Skillman and 43rd Avenues to accommodate protected bike lanes and other traffic calming measures to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians in the area.

At the town hall meeting, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2 will meet with the community at Sunnyside Community Services (43-31 39th Street) regarding the proposed redesign. Here is an example of how the streets would be split up among bike lanes, parking, and traffic.


As you can see, this is a far superior setup for pedestrians—for which there are a lot in Sunnyside. Bikes are also in a much safer position than they are ow. Speaking of bikes, it was a couple of bike collisions that was the impetus for looking at redesigning the streets. Last April, a drunk driver killed delivery driver and father of three, Gelacio Reyes, as he was biking home from work—it happened at 43rd Avenue and 39th Street. Then about a week and a half after that, a driver of a box truck hit David Nunes at the same intersection; Nunes survived, thankfully.

Not long after that, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer held a press conference at that intersection and called on DOT to install a protected bike lane on both 43rd and Skillman Avenues (43rd Avenue is east-bound, Skillman is west-bound). In November 2017, DOT presented their redesigns of these two streets to CB2. Streeblog has a good record of what was presented, including renderings and good descriptions. It’s worth noting that 42 businesses on both streets are in favor of the protected lanes and Transportation Alternatives collected 700 signatures supporting these changes, too. Also, cycling has gone up 545% on both streets in the past 10 years.

A key sticking point to the CB2 folks is the lost of 158 parking spaces; it kind of blew their minds, and not in a good way. The Streetsblog post has this quote from CB 2 chair Denise Keehan-Smith, who told DOT Deputy Borough Commissioner Jason Banrey. “Losing 158 spaces, I’ll be honest with you, I think is highly unreasonable, and I’m surprised that you’re even asking us to do this.” Frankly, I can understand how they would balk at this, but her response is obnoxious and condescending. Banrey acknowledges that death and injury are serious things and can’t be ignored.

No doubt the various factions will bring their supporters to the meeting and it has the possibility to be quite the fireworks show. Here’s to finding a solution that will keep more people from dying or being seriously injured on the streets of New York.

Town Hall in Sunnyside for Safer Skillman & 43rd Aves
Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 6-8pm
Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th Street, Sunnyside, Queens

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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