July 12, By Michael Florio
A newly formed bike advocacy group has started a campaign for additional bike lanes in several western Queens neighborhoods.
Called Queens Bike, the group was formed in the past two weeks by resident Sergio Peçanha, who is calling for bike lanes that would connect Jackson Heights to the various parks throughout western Queens.
Peçanha came up with an idea to install bike lanes that would connect riders to greenspace in Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Corona and Astoria.
The concept has quickly grown and a grassroots campaign for an expanded bike lane network has begun with a special focus on eco-friendly travel and helping communities underserved by mass transit.
In less than two days, more than 150 people signed a Queens Bike Change.org petition for additional bike lanes.
Queens Bike’s initial mock-up includes bike lanes on 77th Street and 78th Street, from below Roosevelt Avenue to 25th Avenue, providing access to Travers Park, Bulova Park and LaGuardia Landing Lights.
It also currently entails a bike lane along 90th Street that would begin on Roosevelt Avenue and run to 25th Avenue, providing access to Playground Ninety along the way. Another bike lane would run along 93rd Street, beginning at 34th Avenue, alongside Northern Playground, and run until 25th Avenue.
Perpendicular bike lanes would run along 31st Avenue, providing access to Saint Michael’s Playground, 30th Avenue passing Gorman Playground and 25th Avenue passing Gorman and East Elmhurst Playground.
According to a map published on the Department of Transportation website, Jackson Heights currently only has one dedicated bike lane, along 34th Avenue.
The organization hopes to use the summer to firm up its proposal, before presenting it to Community Boards 1, 3 and 4. Following that, the group plans on presenting the plan to the DOT and elected officials in each neighborhood, according to Alexia Tate, a member of Queens Bike.
A DOT spokesman said the usual process to install bike lanes involves the DOT, community board and elected officials holding a meeting to discuss a proposal.
Community outreach would then be conducted before a final plan would be presented to the Community Board’s transportation committee and/or full board. Once the community board approves and the DOT obtains a support letter, they can then begin scheduling the implementation.
The spokesman added that local groups advocating for bike lanes are advised to reach out to the DOT early in the planning process, to collaborate on creating a proposal that works from the get-go.
The DOT is already working on a plan to put shared and dedicated bike lanes along 108th Street in Community Board 3, which the Board voted to approve in May.
Peçanha said that ideally, he would like to see a final proposal with community and DOT input implemented by next Summer.