May 26, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
More than half of the candidates running for the District 20 council seat in Flushing will participate in a community bike ride through northern Queens Saturday—in an event organized by Transportation Alternatives and local groups.
The four-mile bike ride will begin at 10 a.m. at the Velodrome in Kissena Park in Fresh Meadows before concluding at the Flushing Public Library on Main Street. The public is invited to attend.
Among the candidates confirmed to ride are Anthony Miranda, Ellen Young, John Choe and Hailing Chen. Sandra Ung, who won’t be riding, will join the event at the beginning for a discussion about local transportation issues.
Juan Restrepo, operations coordinator for Transportation Alternatives, who is organizing the event along with Kissena Synergy and Guardians of Flushing Bay, hopes that the candidates will get a firsthand look at the “dangerous street conditions” bike riders face in the district.
He believes that the experience will prompt them to champion the cause of improving bike infrastructure, such as advocating for protected bike lanes.
The city, bicycle advocates say, has been slow in adding protected bike lanes across the 5 boroughs, with 28.6 miles of lanes added in 2020, taking the total of on-street lanes to about 170 miles.
“We want downtown Flushing and the surrounding areas to have safe protected bike lanes, access to waterfront properties for recreational reasons, good greenways connecting the various parks in the area,” said Restrepo.
The bike ride is modeled after one held in March for District 26 candidates, who rode from Queensbridge Park, through Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside, and then back.
About 30 to 50 people are expected to participate in Saturday’s ride, Restrepo said.
The candidates are running to replace the term-limited Peter Koo in a district that is comprised of downtown Flushing, Queensboro Hill and Murray Hill.