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Bus collision on Northern Boulevard attributed to bike lanes: Avella

A string of accidents involving the jersey barriers of DOT’s new bike lanes have involved a school bus with special needs patients and this Volkswagon.
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State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) blamed another accident on Northern Boulevard on the newly installed protected bike lanes between Bayside and Douglaston, which has split the community between bike advocates and those who view the lanes as being just as dangerous while hobbling traffic flow.

Avella wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio and city DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg about the Nov. 1 accident involving a bus loaded with special needs adults which took place on Northern near where the protected bike lanes meet the freeway exit.

On that afternoon, the bus was exiting the Cross Island Parkway when it was rear-ended by another car while attempting to turn onto northern going westward, according to Avella’s office.

A spokesman for Avella said the newly installed bike lanes forced the driver to edge into traffic in a dangerous fashion, but their office was still awaiting additional details.

No one was hurt in the incident, Avella said.

A community affairs liaison from the 111th Precinct could not elaborate on details, but did confirm the incident occurred.

“The bike lane had no role in this rear-end crash, as per our discussions with the 111th Precinct, and there were no injuries in the incident,” a DOT spokesman said. “The impetus for these safety enhancements was the death of a cyclist on this high-crash stretch of the corridor, which saw 15 vehicle passengers, pedestrians and cyclists injured last year alone. Given the NYPD’s 2016 crash stats, and given that none of the recent incidents Senator Avella cites has resulted in injuries, it is important to give this safety improvement project time to work. We understand that this is a change for the community, but we believe the safety benefits will bear out over a full year’s implementa­tion.”

On Monday, Nov. 6, a red Volkswagon ran into the Jersey barrier coming to a stop on top of the concrete wall.

“How many accidents have to occur before you realize that this was not a good idea?” Avella said. “Not only does this bike path reduce the amount of lanes for motorists, it forces drivers exiting the Cross Island Parkway and entering Northern Boulevard to stop short to see oncoming traffic, increasing the likelihood of crashes.”

The city DOT proposal was introduced at a June Community Board 11 meeting to take a lane from the north side of Northern Boulevard between 223rd Street and Douglaston Parkway to create a protected bike path while also reducing the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph. It passed by a narrow vote in June. But it was rescinded by the community board at the Sept. 11 meeting in favor of an in-house proposal to widen sidewalks to allow shared space for pedestrians and bicyclists above the curb-line.

CB11’s Bernie Haber designed the alternative plan for widening the sidewalk to create a shared path for bicyclists and pedestrians.

DOT proceeded with its own plan in September despite the votes taken by CB11.

At least two other accidents have occurred involving the Jersey barriers where the vehicles have crashed into the concrete protecting the newly formed bike lanes.

Avella organized a protest against the bike lanes in September in response to the DOT’s disregard for the community board’s vote.

His demonstration was interrupted by counter-protesters and accused the angry crowd of being just a small number of detractors associated with Transportation Alternatives, an organization which advocates for bicyclist safety measures across the city. Avella said he and others opposed to the DOT’s plan are in favor of bike lanes, but are critical of the city’s choice to ignore the community board and stick with its own plan.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Updated 12:10 pm, November 13, 2017
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Reader feedback

Helton from Flushing says:
Another example of DeBozo's arrogance and incompetence.

Vote him out on Tuesday!
Nov. 2, 2:33 pm
Fred Bedell Jr from Glen Oaks says:
de Blasio is doing a good job for all of NYC.
Nov. 2, 2:46 pm
AW from Bayside says:
Ummm someone was most definitely hurt. Im near the area and I passed by and saw someone on a stretcher going into an ambulance.
Nov. 2, 3:02 pm
Dan Feldman from Great Neck says:
Whoever is responsible for initiating, planning and making this bike lane on Northern Blvd. should be hauled summarily before a firing squad and shot. It is social engineering at its worst and a major reason reason why citizens have come to hate government. Bicycles belong on cul-de-sacs ridden by laughing children. They don't belong on major city streets where cars should have the right of way. This transcends political parties. People may be divided about Trump or de Blasio but no sane adult with a driver's license and a car supports these bike lanes
Nov. 3, 7:45 am
The place for bikes from Queens says:
The roads in NE Queens are not wide enough to support bike lanes. There are no bike deliveries in the area. Those who ride bikes in the area are mainly serious athletes who ride on the LIE Service Rd during non-rush hour periods and illegals who have not yet obtained licenses from states that look the other way. To build bike lanes for illegals is a disgusting and costly effort that hits taxpayers for no logical reason.
Nov. 3, 8:47 am
daniela from astoria says:
We have many bike lanes in Astoria and I personally hate all of them. The bikers don't follow any rules they go in and out of cars and cross with red lights. Not to mention the ones used for deliveries do not follow the rules at all. I see them going the wrong way on the streets and crossing avenues and streets with red lights. Whoever thought of this stupid and dangerous idea?????
Nov. 3, 9:17 am
John from Douglaston says:
What about the fact that the traffic is now backed up all the way to Great Neck during the morning and afternoon rush everyday and on the weekends it causes backups on the Cross island as well. The city and this mayor don't care about Queens, they install these bike lanes without research as to how this would affect vehicular traffic and without the community actually wanting it. I still haven't seen anyone use these new bike lanes on Northern and I drive by multiple times a day for work!
Nov. 3, 10:15 am
David from Bayside says:
Well, another car hit the jersey barrier while exiting the Cross Island Parkway today. It happened around 6 pm. It’s hard to see those barriers in the evening. Can’t understand why DOT thought it is a good idea to run bike lanes across highway entrances. I’m a biker and I think it is a stupid idea.
Nov. 7, 6:29 pm
John from Douglaston says:
Today not only did we have to contend with the ridiculous bike lane and traffic it causes but also with the city putting up cones and tape that extend into the right lane of Northern making the road now only passable by 1 lane of traffic....took me 48 minutes to go from Little Neck Pkwy to Bell Blvd...what is usually a 10 minute or so drive. How many more delays and accidents until the city admits this was a rushed and huge mistake.
Nov. 10, 12:27 pm
Joey from Flushing says:
Look aT theses politicians want theses illegal Asian drivers because they give votes. Every thing they do us illegal. Now we put them on the road to kill our kids and or community. We need ice down hear clean outhouse
Nov. 10, 9:38 pm
Terrible from Queens says:
These were a TERRIBLE IDEA! plus once you get to a certain point on northern blvd in queens (somewhere by the burger king on the cross island parkway), the bike lane stops and there is no room for bike lanes when you get into that Area. Parking is too precious to be taken over in that area! The PURPOSE of a bike lane, I always thought, was for it to be continuous for a biker. So these bikers can only go up to that point before there is no more bike lanes and they are fending for themselves as it is. This was a stupid idea! I dont really ever see a whole lot of bikers on this end of northern Blvd, not like the amount I use to see on the upper east side. Meanwhile, I wrote to the dot and cb 11 to come around my block and check out the lack of signs around here because of the way the blocks come out, you cant see when a car is coming. But they never responded to me. Then they had the AUDACITY to allow these stupid corner plaza to open along the clear view here and the trucks all park along the street and coming out of my block, I can't see if its safe for me to make a turn because the trucks block my view! But of course, once again, I got NO RESPONSE from DOT! Cb 11 just told me that I had to write the DOT about it, so they were useless in the matter. What a TERRIBLY RUN CITY! Now we have 4 more years with mayor dumbdumb thanks to the nonvoters and liberals!
Nov. 11, 7:04 am
Mr. Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. says:
George Orwell's "Animal Farms" anyone?
Nov. 11, 10:22 am
Rob from NY says:
Avella is full of it. There were tons of crashes on Northern Blvd. before the bike lane. Blaming the bike lane is just BS.
Nov. 13, 10:03 am
Guest from NYC says:
These people, crashing into this fixed concrete barrier, should not be driving.
Nov. 13, 10:16 am
Steve from Bayside says:
I drive and fully support these lanes. Why does this piece not mention that Michael Schenkman, a local cyclist, was killed near where the accident happen? Why the lapse in memory?

Rob from NY is right, there were many accidents well before the bike lane and lots of people drive with pent up road rage on Northern. The lane is not only for cyclists, but provides added protection for pedestrians and school kids. It calms traffic, encourages people to drive more safely and is part of a larger city encompassing plan to improve with traffic and quality of life.

To see the bigger picture, read Janette Sadik-Khan's Street Fight.
Nov. 13, 11:41 am
Chris says:
If you can't see a large concrete barrier while driving, maybe you shouldn't have a license.
Nov. 13, 1:47 pm
Jason from Bayside says:
With all due respect, the hysteria against bike lanes on display in this comment thread and others is symptomatic of a widespread culture of idiocy, coarse mindedness and bone idle laziness among people who do not have the resourcefulness to exist without their cars. This accident wasn't caused by a bike lane, it was caused by an epidemic of rotten driving skills. The people complaining about bike lanes here are the same people who habitually speed, run red lights and stop signs, make turns without yielding and drive in general like 10 year old boys playing video games. This is the biggest problem on the road and one which needs to be addressed ASAP. A huge proportion of drivers in NYC should have never been granted licenses, they are a menace on the road and a direct threat to human life. The lazy, ignorant culture of driving everywhere as practiced by people who are young and healthy enough to cycle, is killing hundreds of New Yorkers every year and choking out streets. Most of these people would actually get to their destinations quicker on a bicycle, and the more people who cycle, the safer out roads. All of you lazy driving addicts are clogging up our streets and making it more difficult for emergency vehicles to get to victims in need. God knows how many people die every year due to ambulances and fire trucks being slowed down by a river of ignoramuses driving their 2000lb SUV's to the store.

Get used to bike lanes folks - they're here to stay, and there will NEVER be less of them than there are now, only more. Get out of the cars that are driving you into an early grave and cycle to work instead. I'm so sick of these so-called "real New Yorkers" who think their anti-bike stance makes them look tough. "Tough" is cycling to work in windy sub-zero weather - now that will put hairs on your chest. Not barreling along at 50mph in your heated SUV's with the radio on.
Nov. 13, 5:48 pm
Neighborhood driver from Bayside says:
Bicycles belong on cul-de-sacs ridden by laughing children. They don't belong on major city streets where cars should have the right of way.

Spoken like a truly entitled jerk.
Nov. 13, 7:19 pm
Guest from NYC says:
^-Streets are public spaces mostly used for transportation purposes. Bicycles are a form of transportation. Bicyclists have the same right to the street as drivers. A physically separate lane like this keeps the bicyclists safe, improves driver and pedestrian safety, and eliminates the need for mixed traffic.

And bikes are not a suburban mode of transportation. They are mostly used for shorter trips (couple miles) and work best in densely populated mixed use areas.
Nov. 13, 8:59 pm
Chris says:
Neighborhood driver, you have an interesting definition of "entitled," since you're the one arguing that your form of transportation should take priority over others'.
Nov. 14, 9:35 am
Steve from Bayside says:
I cannot tell you how many times I've seen people blow by stop signs on 43rd, one block north of Northern. Another example is driving against a one way street, 223rd off Horace Harding when it's congested.
Nov. 14, 3:27 pm

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