The Department of Transportation began construction on a new bike lanes in Sunnyside earlier this month. The new project will significantly change the street design along large portions of 39th and Barnett avenues.
Building upon the city’s open street pilot last year, the Sunnyside Bike Boulevard will see 39th Avenue and Barnett Avenue converted into one way streets to make room for protected bike lanes between Woodside Avenue and 45th Street.
Additionally, the project will prevent turns at certain intersections and will add a variety of traffic-calming measures to improve street safety, including curb extensions, pedestrian islands, and concrete traffic converters.
The speed limit will also be lowered to 20 mph.
According to a DOT presentation, the Sunnyside Bike Boulevard is designed to increase the connection between Sunnyside, Woodside, and Jackson Heights while improving street safety and expanding upon the city’s bike network.
The project is set to conclude construction this fall, coinciding with the arrival of Citi Bike stations in Sunnyside.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has been a proponent of the Bike Boulevard since its inception. He discussed the importance of improving street safety, especially after the traffic-related death of an infant in Brooklyn earlier this month.
“With the increase of vehicular-related fatalities in recent years, including a three-month-old just last week, I believe it’s more important than ever to support traffic mitigation efforts that better protect our city’s cyclists and pedestrians,” Van Bramer said. “The proposed 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard is another step in that direction.”
Community Board 2 and a number of local residents have also gone on record supporting the project.
“Woodside and Sunnyside are home to several protected bike lanes along Queens Boulevard, Skillman Avenue, and 43rd Avenue,” said Sunnyside resident Christine Carone. “As someone who is nervous about riding in the street, these bike lanes have been invaluable to me during the pandemic while I’ve been trying to avoid public transport and rideshares.”
Four other Bike Boulevards are currently planned throughout the five boroughs, including one in Park Slope. Although bike enthusiasts are encouraged by the projects, bike infrastructure has been met with steep criticism in certain parts of the city.
In Forest Hills, some residents have opposed the installation of a protected bike lane on Queens Boulevard. Residents argue that the loss of parking will divert traffic onto already busy nearby streets, such as Ascan Avenue and Austin Street.
Unlike the Forest Hills bike lane, city officials have guaranteed that no parking spots will be removed for the Sunnyside Bike Boulevard.