Queens CB 5 Set to Move Ahead With Bike Lane Planning, Plaza Construction

In Queens, Community Board 2 has garnered attention for its partnership with DOT on bike route planning. Immediately to the southeast, CB 5 has been busy working with the Department of City Planning on a parallel effort to map out routes in Ridgewood, Maspeth, and Middle Village that could receive bike lanes as soon as fall of next year.

Ridgewood, Middle Village, and Maspeth are missing the bike lanes that neighboring areas to the north and west enjoy. CB 5 is looking to change that. Map: ##http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemaps.shtml##NYC DOT##

Last year, the community board approached DOT asking for new bike lanes; while DOT will handle implementation in CB 5, it has handed off planning for the area to DCP’s transportation planning division. Community meetings over the spring and summer led DCP to develop a list of routes:

  • Eliot Avenue from Metropolitan Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard;
  • Juniper Boulevard South from 69th Street to Dry Harbor Road;
  • Woodward Avenue, Onderdonk Avenue, and connecting streets from Metropolitan Avenue to Cypress Hills Cemetery;
  • Central Avenue and Cooper Avenue from Cypress Hills Street to Woodhaven Boulevard;
  • 69th Street from Calamus Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue; and
  • 80th Street from the Long Island Expressway to Myrtle Avenue.

There are four additional routes that could receive further study: Grand Avenue, a north-south route between Ridgewood and Maspeth, a route between Ridgewood and Bushwick, and a loop around Juniper Valley Park. CB 5 transportation committee member John Maier said DCP was also considering a route along Rust Street, connecting to streets near Woodside.

“That’s just what they’re looking at; it doesn’t mean they’re going to get any specific treatment,” Maier said, adding that DCP staff is currently taking measurements of streets and coming up with design treatments for some of the streets. DCP will host another workshop with the community board next month to show its preliminary recommendations. Those projects could be implemented as soon as fall 2014. (DCP and DOT have not responded to questions from Streetsblog.)

Also at last night’s CB 5 transportation committee meeting, the Department of Design and Construction and a landscape architect consulting for DOT presented plans to upgrade the new, triangle-shaped plaza DOT created along 71st Avenue where it intersects Myrtle Avenue and Stephen Street. The capital project will raise curbs at the plaza to sidewalk level and install permanent street furniture.

Capital upgrades of the plaza at Myrtle Avenue and 71st Avenue call for two styles of concrete paving and a bioswale. Image: NYC DOT and Mathews Nielsen

The plaza will include new tables, chairs, umbrellas, and plantings maintained by the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District. BID executive director Ted Renz said DOT was exploring an agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection that will allow plaza maintenance partners to access fire hydrants to water plants.

The project includes reconstruction of the sewer beneath 71st Avenue. Because it will eliminate a storm drain, the project adds a bioswale to divert stormwater runoff. According to Scott Makoseij of DDC, the bioswale will be maintained by the Parks Department in cooperation with DEP.

Although committee member Roland Belay expressed frustration that the handful of parking spaces that had been “taken away” by the plaza would not be “given back,” Renz noted that DOT is studying adding metered parking to a section of 71st Avenue, and other board members added that a few lost parking spaces were a worthwhile tradeoff for the plaza.

The plan goes before the Public Design Commission next month; the committee is expected to provide a letter of support for the project shortly.

Meanwhile, planning for permanent reconstruction of another plaza in CB 5, at Myrtle and Cooper Avenues, is even further along; the community board is currently reviewing preliminary bid documents before DDC selects a contractor to implement the project.