Advocates Demand City Finish Bike Lanes On Notorious 'Boulevard of Death'

WCBS 880 Newsroom
October 20, 2019 - 4:25 pm
Bike lane advocates Jackson Heights

WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Safety advocates want to know why improvements to a major thoroughfare in Queens have stopped. They protested Sunday, saying politics is killing people.

Queens Boulevard has been called the Boulevard of Death and the Boulevard of Broken Bones. That’s especially true for bicyclists; figures show on sections without bike lanes riders are twice as likely to die than on protected parts.

Advocates say 271 people have been hurt so far this year on the boulevard between Union Turnpike and Roosevelt Avenue.

Lizi Rahman started the campaign after her son was killed on his bike 11 years ago.

“His bike was hit from behind by a freight truck and he died instantly,” Rahman said at the rally.

City Hall jumped on the campaign after her son's death. Bike lanes were put in on much of Queens Boulevard but work on them abruptly stopped about a year and a half ago.

“All these people, they put their heart and mind to get it done. But now what?” Rahman said.

Backers of the bike lanes claim political shenanigans; they say vote trading involving councilmembers and Mayor de Blasio have held things up.

Bike advocate Peter Beadle said it’s “absurd” and “a sin.”

“The only reason that’s happening is because somebody somewhere—they won’t tell us who—made some decision to simply not do what they promised to do 500 days ago,” Beadle said.

Hundreds of days after the work was supposed to be wrapped up, community leaders and residents chanted “finish Queens Boulevard!” as they implored elected officials to finish the final phase of the Vision Zero redesign.

They’re demanding a clear timeline for implementing the final stretch of bike lanes.

The mayor’s office did not immediately return WCBS 880’s request for comment.

At least two dozen bicyclists and e-bike riders have died on city streets just this year, according to advocates.