Part of that solution must be a network of connected protected bike lanes that gets cyclists safely throughout the five boroughs.
In Astoria and Long Island City, cycling advocates want a protected north-south bike lane, and believe the best route is on the highly used Crescent Street, which connects northern Astoria down to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.
Last week at Community Board 1, advocates presented the idea before board members, some of whom expressed opposition right away. One board member immediately asked how many parking spots would be lost from the bike lane.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is studying where to best put a north-south bike lane and any effects it would have on the surrounding neighborhood.
While a street redesign for a thoroughfare as busy as Crescent Street will surely upset residents and drivers, community board members shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea.
They should at least wait until the DOT study is complete to get a realistic picture of what a redesigned Crescent will look like.
With bike usage growing rapidly throughout the city, especially in neighborhoods like Astoria, we should make sure cyclists are safe when they need to get around.
As a city, we should be making investments for better mass transit and other alternative means of transportation that doesn’t involve cars. Some call it “breaking car culture” and others call it “a war on cars,” but we call it good public policy.
Astoria’s elected officials are already on board with the idea of remaking Crescent Street.
When a proposal is up for consideration, the local community board should give it a hard look and make the right call.