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Sunnyside’s protected bike lanes are a go with De Blasio’s support

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The DOT will begin installing the new bike lanes this summer

A cyclist in Sunnyside, Queens, near where DOT has proposed a protected bike lane.
Max Touhey

Despite opposition from the neighborhood’s community board and City Council member, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the Department of Transportation would install a pair of parking-protected bike lanes stretching from Queens Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue on 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue.

The mayor’s decision came a little over one year after delivery rider Gelacio Reyes was killed by a drunk driver at the intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street, and another cyclist was injured by a driver days later. It was also a rebuke of Queens Community Board 2, which voted 27-8 against the proposed bike lane at a contentious public meeting in June.

“Nearly 300 people have been injured along Skillman and 43rd Avenues in Queens. 2 lives have been lost,” the mayor’s official Twitter account tweeted announcing the movie. “@NYC_DOT has listened to voices across the community. I’ve instructed them to move forward with pedestrian safety and protected bike lanes that will save lives.”

The plan for the bike lane, which will run east on 43rd Avenue and west on Skillman Avenue, was applauded by Transportation Alternatives’ Paul Steely White. “This plan is going to save lives, and we commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for putting the safety of New Yorkers ahead of preserving a handful of parking spaces,” he said in a statement. “This is the kind of bold leadership that is required in the age of Vision Zero. If we’re going to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City, we can’t allow drivers to dictate the city’s transportation policy.”

In addition to Steely White, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer put out a statement supporting the bike lane, backtracking on his stated opposition to the lane which itself came after his initial support for it.

“There is no question in my mind that this proposal will make 43rd Ave and Skillman Ave safer,” Van Bramer said in his statement. “While this process has been difficult and painful at times, the pain felt by family members who lose loved ones to crashes is so much greater. We must continue to do everything we can to save lives on our streets.”

According to the Department of Transportation’s Twitter account, the installation of the lane will start this summer.