Bike Lanes Coming to Skillman and 43rd Avenues!

You may remember one of Transportation Alternatives’ medium-term recommendations for Skillman Avenue:

Reduce street width: One of the best ways to control speed is through the width of the street. The more narrow the street the slower the traffic. The two best, least expensive, and easiest ways to narrow a street are bike lanes and perpendicular parking. Installing a protected bicycle lane would accomplish the goal of taking away ten feet from motorists and provide a safe place for people to ride along Skillman. Substituting parallel parking with perpendicular parking creates parking for those spots that were removed around the curbs and also slows down motorists.

Here’s what I saw this afternoon on Skillman Avenue and 46th Street.

Chalk markings for a new bike lane! It’s also on the 2008 bike map (available by calling 311).

That’s right, the DOT will be painting bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Avenues between 48th Street and the Queens Boulevard Bridge. From 43rd Avenue north to 39th Avenue, then east on 39th to 60th Street and north on 59th and 60th Streets to the 34th Avenue bike lane will be a series of “Share the Road” signs. They call this the “Sunnyside Connector,” and it’s on their schedule to be painted in May (which is also Bike Month).

I personally believe that this will be good for the neighborhood in many ways. It will be good for business because it will bring cyclists through the neighborhood as they travel between Manhattan/LIC/Greenpoint/Williamsburg and points east. They will see all the inviting shops and restaurants on Skillman and 43rd Avenues and stop in. It’s already happening – this past November the Five Borough Bike Club visited La Marjolaine Bakery on their Choco-Loco Ride.

Most importantly, of course, the lanes will allow cyclists to be safer when they travel around the neighborhood – including my son when he’s old enough to ride on the street. They will also narrow the roadways, discouraging speeding.

There are a few things that I think would make these lanes even better:

  1. Extend the lanes all the way to Roosevelt Avenue, making the eastern ends of Skillman and 43rd safer and providing routes for cyclists to and from Woodside.
  2. Make the eastern part of the route, on 48th Street and 39th Avenue, painted instead of signs where possible.
  3. Place the lanes on Skillman and 43rd between the parked cars and the sidewalk for added safety.
  4. Install adequate bicycle parking along the route, especially near businesses and restaurants.

We can work on those in the future. In the meantime, I’m definitely looking forward to these lanes. I hope all you angle parking fans won’t be too disappointed. Thanks to DOT, and to all those who have been working towards these safety improvements!

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