Koslowitz doubles down on opposition to bike lanes
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Jul 02, 2018 | 5324 views | 0 0 comments | 241 241 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, listening to constituents complain was enough to drop her support of the impending installation of the bike lanes between Yellowstone Boulevard and Union Turnpike.

Koslowitz reiterated her stance as she fielded questions from community members at a recent 112th Precinct Community Council meeting, where nearly every question concerned the protected bike lanes along Queens Boulevard.

Most people in the room, like Koslowitz, disapproved of the Department of Transportation (DOT) plan to redesign Queens Boulevard.

“I travel on Queens Boulevard every single day, and today I traveled from Long Island City to Forest Hills, and I didn’t see a single bike,” Koslowitz said. “I’m not against bikes, and I’m not against bike lanes per se, but I am against the bike lanes on Queens Boulevard.”

She added that she’s watched cars on Queens Boulevard and feels the area is already safer without the bike lanes.

“Since 2004, there have been 11 deaths on Queens Boulevard, and from 1991 to 2001, there were 100 deaths on Queens Boulevard,” she said. “Though 11 is too many, many of them were pedestrians crossing against the light.”

Commanding Officer Jonathan Cermeli added that pedestrians should always be aware of their surroundings, even if they have the right of way. On June 25, an 88-year-old driver struck and killed a 17-year-old on Utopia Parkway near 16th Avenue in Whitestone after the driver went through a red light.

“For you as pedestrians, don’t assume everyone will stop,” Cermeli said. “It’s your life, take the extra step and pay attention.”

Koslowitz said that due to the bike lanes, a doctor told her he lost patients because there wasn’t parking available.

“Every store that I go into, when I’m shopping and even when I get my nails done, business people complain about the bike lanes,” Koslowitz said. “I’ve been living here for 54 years and I remember all of the stores along Queens Boulevard and all along Austin Street, but the DOT has taken parking spaces off of Austin Street for loading and unloading. It’s become impossible to have a car.”

At this month’s Community Board 6 meeting, the board voted against the DOT’s plan in a 23-11 vote.

They argued that bike lanes would eliminate too many parking spaces, hurt seniors who relied on cars, and hurt local businesses.

At the precinct community council meeting, one resident attempted to explain the positives of having bike lanes, but was immediately booed and quieted by those in the room.

“I think the bike lanes are terrific and I’ve been here for 54 years too,” he said. “You should listen to other people who have different opinions.”

The resident said the bike lanes should go all the way to Jamaica and near Rego Center.

“I feel it’s my obligation to come out against the next phase of the bike lanes and perhaps change the phases that are already there,” said Koslowitz. “Let’s have bikes, but let’s compromise and come to the conclusion where everyone is happy and no one loses business.”
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