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New York City - First Williamsburg Now Queens: Bike Lanes A Headache For Drivers, Shop Owners

Published on: May 3, 2009 12:01 AM
By:  WCBS TV
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Photo of Vernon Blvd bike lane by Karen Overton via StreetsblogNew York City - Riding into trouble – bike lanes are causing a controversy in a Queens neighborhood, where parking and traffic safety have become a major concern.

On Vernon Boulevard, bike lanes could only be squeezed in by eliminating parking on one side of the avenue.

That’s put the squeeze on area businesses.

“It took away all of our parking,” business owner Jose Cobian says. “The city gives us a hard time to unload on the sidewalk.”

“Now we get tickets,” shop owner Irwin Rolon says. “We have to park three blocks [away] sometimes.”

Truckers have also run into issues.

“It’s very difficult – but we gotta do our job,” UPS driver Jamie Rosa says. “I try to get out of here as fast as I can.”

The road has become a typical sight, with trucks double-parked or in bike lanes, forcing bikes out into traffic.

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“We think that trucks on the bike lanes are a major danger for us,” bicyclist and Long Island resident Chip Toma says.

But many truckers have no choice.

Making it harder for all the businessmen in Astoria is the fact that many people park there illegally now.

The complaints from all sides have reached City Hall, as well as Astoria Councilman Peter Vallone.

“Some of these areas are losing a substantial amount of parking, and that has to be rectified,” Vallone says.

He wants special loading zones opened to help businesses.

But with high rises on their way up in the neighborhood, the competition for parking should only heat up.

And the bike lanes also create a study in human nature.

“If I need to move it, I’ll just move it,” one driver said.

A few minutes to chat can create a traffic accident, as a bike winds its way past stopped vehicles.

“Bike lanes in Queens are still a more leisurely affair than their Manhattan cousins, and definitely a benefit for the city,” a bicyclist said.

“Non-polluting transportation is part of those neighborhoods, and it’s making quality of life better for people who live there,” Communications Director of Transportation Alternatives Wiley Norvell says.

But quality of life in New York can be elusive, especially when you’re forced to fight for a parking spot.

The Department of Transportation says the Vernon Avenue bike lane was designed to create more transportation choices and to make streets s



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Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 02, 2009 at 11:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Don't you see: the more bike lanes the less parking, the less parking, the more illegal parking, the more illegal parking the more tickets!

2

 May 02, 2009 at 11:42 PM Anonymous Says:

yea and waste more gasoline, more car emissions looking for spots. makes NO sense, except that they want to give out more tickets.

3

 May 02, 2009 at 11:50 PM Anonymous Says:

And idiots like you will vote for Bloomberg again so stop whining and complaining.

4

 May 03, 2009 at 12:06 AM divid Says:

Bloomberg recently compliant he has seen a huge decrease in the amount of diners at city restaurants, Of course Mr. Mayor aren't they all out there looking for parking????

5

 May 03, 2009 at 12:30 AM Anonymous Says:

youare 100 percent right all communitys has to get together and fight this idiot bloomberg we got to get the msg out say no to bloomberg on he upcoming election or stop crying when ;you get parking tickets or your taxes go up or water bill sort time on mitters etc

6

 May 03, 2009 at 02:45 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Don't you see: the more bike lanes the less parking, the less parking, the more illegal parking, the more illegal parking the more tickets!

Couldn't have said it better. Maybe somone can explain why the "rights" of bikers takes precedence over the motorists, especially when it causes so muh aggrevation and hardships. How many bikers use these lanes to justify the elimination of parking and to hurt business.
If it was really a safty issue for bikers it should be illeagel for them to drive on non bike lanes

7

 May 03, 2009 at 07:26 AM working on Sunday Says:

Wow, six comments and not one that thinks that this bike lane is a good idea. Funny, when the discussion was Williamsburg, nearly everyone (meaning all who have no idea about the road layout, but know that this is Ultra Cassidic territory), were very vocal about the laziness of the community and the need for excersize that they preceive this community needs. There was also alot of noise about a community that always picks fights etc.
Now, that it moved to Queens, the picture looks different. Why? Is it because its in your own backyard? Do you see yourself as more mainstream; more moderate?
What a bunch of directionless Jews you all are.
By the way, I live in Boro Park, but work right off Kent Avenue so I know exactly what a nusiance the bike lane is.
1--There are very few bikers
2--They very very rarely wear helmets
3--The hog the lane, ie they ride smack in the middle and ignore your beeping.

Kent Avenue is a very busy stretch of road. Lots of cars and lots and lots and eighteen wheelers. Very commercial.
I, myself have have a few close calls with these bikers.
So do you suggest that I drive at the speed that the biker maintains?
Should I swerve, thereby possibly hitting the car next to me?
Should I just knock the biker down, thereby rendering him fini?
Tell me.


8

 May 03, 2009 at 07:22 AM Tom Says:

My advice if they have Activist and council candidate Mr. Isaac Abraham and the Shafer landing group working as a team this bike lane would be taken away shortly like the Kent Av. Bike lane

9

 May 03, 2009 at 10:46 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Couldn't have said it better. Maybe somone can explain why the "rights" of bikers takes precedence over the motorists, especially when it causes so muh aggrevation and hardships. How many bikers use these lanes to justify the elimination of parking and to hurt business.
If it was really a safty issue for bikers it should be illeagel for them to drive on non bike lanes

Those who ride bikes rather than pollute the air by driving cars should always have priority. The air in NYC is terrible and can cause asthma and other breathing problems. While some people have no alternative but driving, the large percentage of trips to the store, beth medrash, visiting mishpacha and to the mikvah can be easily done on a bike in neighborhoods such as WB, BP and Queens, where the total distances are rarely more than a mile or two. Not only would the air be cleaner, but yiddeshe men and women would all be in much better health by getting needed exercise by driving less and biking more .

10

 May 03, 2009 at 11:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Those who ride bikes rather than pollute the air by driving cars should always have priority. The air in NYC is terrible and can cause asthma and other breathing problems. While some people have no alternative but driving, the large percentage of trips to the store, beth medrash, visiting mishpacha and to the mikvah can be easily done on a bike in neighborhoods such as WB, BP and Queens, where the total distances are rarely more than a mile or two. Not only would the air be cleaner, but yiddeshe men and women would all be in much better health by getting needed exercise by driving less and biking more .

I am having a hard enough time getting my wife to schlep to the mikvah several times a month, even if I drive her; for some reason, I just don't think a high percentage of women in Borough Park will be riding their bikes to the mikvah.

11

 May 03, 2009 at 09:38 AM Guessing Says:

Gut feeling tells me, Queens will rid themselves of the Bike Lane when Williamsburg will still be in the preliminary process.

Why? Are you really asking why? I don't think so.

12

 May 03, 2009 at 09:37 AM Frum mentch/cyclist Says:

#7, Cyclists are not required by law to wear a helmet if they are older than 18 years old. I fail to see how not wearing a helmet can be a complaint. Perhaps you are more scared around them when they aren't wearing helmets because if they were then, nu, what's so bad? they only break their collarbone and not their head?

Further, the reason cyclists sometimes "hog" a lane is to insure that drivers don't have room to drive by them with only centimeters to spare. If they were on the right of the lane, they would be at risk of getting hit by all the cars. Let's face it, there are a lot more bad and unsafe drivers than there are unsafe cyclists. They ride in the middle of their lane for safety and visibility.

And I love how you said you had a "close call" with a cyclist. what happened? did
his 15 pound bike almost knock your 3,000 pound vehicle off the road and into a ditch?

To everyone: perhaps if you sold your car, saved money on gas and insurance, and instead took mass transportation instead of maintaining your "give me, give me," "the world was created for me" mentality, we woulnd't be so reliant on those arabs, the air we breath may be that much more clean and healthy, and traffic may lighten up. And you may actually lose a little weight from the walking you are bound to do.

So, pack in that cholent, use those suicide handlebars to get in your death machines, and get your overweight-self into that restaurant- from that prime parking space right out front.

13

 May 04, 2009 at 07:41 AM Kent ave biker Says:

Despite all the ignorant comments about biking and the dangers of bikers to cars, I have to say the chasidm that come out in defense of the lanes really impress me. I comutted on Kent, by bike, all winter and for most of the last 3 years. The fear I feel riding next to the residents of the neighborhood is much greater than anywhere else in the city. This then raises prejudicial sentiments on my part towards, the residents, minivans and neighborhood at large. Not a mature approach, nor how I want to live. So thank you sensible Willburg residents.
From what I can tell following this neighborhood's reaction to the lanes, which are essential to safety and encoraging more cycling in NYC, the area largely in contention is stretch across from the salt storage area. This is an apartment building that is surrounded by NYC park space and is provided with parking on street on Whythe and on what looks like to appropriated city streets, that are used for parking as well. I have video of cars passing eachbothrr at close to double the speed limit and have witnessed 18 wheel trucks pass one another. all illegal an highly dangerous. The lanes are inplace to show cars and trucks where to speed and breakvthr law, and where cyclists can feel moderately visible.

14

 May 04, 2009 at 08:38 AM Bob Says:

Reply to #7  
working on Sunday Says:

Wow, six comments and not one that thinks that this bike lane is a good idea. Funny, when the discussion was Williamsburg, nearly everyone (meaning all who have no idea about the road layout, but know that this is Ultra Cassidic territory), were very vocal about the laziness of the community and the need for excersize that they preceive this community needs. There was also alot of noise about a community that always picks fights etc.
Now, that it moved to Queens, the picture looks different. Why? Is it because its in your own backyard? Do you see yourself as more mainstream; more moderate?
What a bunch of directionless Jews you all are.
By the way, I live in Boro Park, but work right off Kent Avenue so I know exactly what a nusiance the bike lane is.
1--There are very few bikers
2--They very very rarely wear helmets
3--The hog the lane, ie they ride smack in the middle and ignore your beeping.

Kent Avenue is a very busy stretch of road. Lots of cars and lots and lots and eighteen wheelers. Very commercial.
I, myself have have a few close calls with these bikers.
So do you suggest that I drive at the speed that the biker maintains?
Should I swerve, thereby possibly hitting the car next to me?
Should I just knock the biker down, thereby rendering him fini?
Tell me.


I really feel your pain you are working on Sunday, you sound very down and depressed my advise just take off every second Sunday just relax, go a little shopping get some fresh air you will be a different person. Etc...

15

 May 28, 2009 at 11:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Wow, how venomous. Why can't people reason logically and with less vile emotion. I am almost shocked by some of the inappropriate directions these posts take.

I moved to Astoria months ago after living in midtown for years. Of course I felt much safer on the west side bike path than on the streets of Manhattan. Although, any book on road cycling will advise you to utilize a street lane exactly as a car would - meaning take up the center of the lane, obey the laws (sgnal turns, stop at red lights, etc).

I was absolutely ecstatic when I learned of the Vernon Blvd bike lane which is practically right outside my door. The exhilaration of cycling in a beuatiful, wide, unoccupied bike lane was one thing. The beauty of doing so along a stretch of parks with an amazing view of the city was so tranquil that all of you that are raging out here may benfefit by utilizing the bike lane. I literally called all my friends to exclaim how wonderful the bike lane is after my first ride.

I won't sit here and espouse all the benefits of bike riding. However, you have to be joking when you complain about walking three blocks and the resulting damage to businesses because of this. That comment takes the cake for silliness. Besides, from what I can ascertain, most of these businesses are commercial enterprises that don't rely on consumers to patronize them. In addition, the reason that they are located here is because they can't afford or don't want to be in Manhattan. But, they do want to enjoy the proximity to Manhattan.

Take with good with the bad - as I heard a woman exclaim in an elevator today "life is a trade-off". We all have choices and if this affects you so negatively then you have a choice to do something constructive about it - that's why this is America the beautiful - we all have choices.

Start appreciating and STOP HATING.

16

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