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DOT to Start Construction of Bike Boulevard in Sunnyside in September

39th Avenue (Photo: Instagram @swopenstreets)

Aug. 31, 2021 By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation announced today that it will start construction on its 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard in Sunnyside in September.

The installation of the bike boulevard will bring significant change to portions of 39th Avenue and Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside.

The plan involves converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones in order to create space for a protected bicycle lane and other traffic-calming measures.

The plan received the backing of Community Board 2 in June and has the support of Council Member Van Bramer.

Advocates for the bike boulevard say it will increase traffic safety, while provide a key bike connection from Jackson Heights to Sunnyside. It also comes at a time when Citi Bike is about to expand into Sunnyside.

The avenue is one of five stretches across the city that will be transformed into a bike boulevard by the end of the year. The DOT plans to create one bike boulevard per borough.

Part of the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plan includes converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones (DOT presentation)

The 39th Avenue plan is complex and will bring significant change.

The DOT will be converting 39th Avenue between 45th and 47th streets (currently two-way) into a one-way street going west. It will also be converting Barnett Avenue—between 45th and 48th streets—into a one-way street going east. Currently that section of Barnett Avenue is a narrow two-way street.

In addition, the DOT will convert 39th Avenue from Woodside Avenue to 52nd Street into a one-way zone—west bound.

The DOT plans to add a series of crosswalks and bring other pedestrian safety features such as curb extensions to 39th and Barnett avenues. The agency says that the changes will lead to a reduction in speeding, thereby making the roadway more safe.

“This is all about traffic calming,” said Craig Baerwald, operations manager for the bike unit at DOT, who presented the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plans before CB2 via Zoom in June. “It makes it safer to bike but also makes it safer to walk and drive as well.”

The DOT at the June meeting said no parking spaces would be lost through the change.

The bike boulevard concept is an outgrowth of the Open Street program—a program that was created in 2020 soon after the outbreak of the pandemic.

The City converted 39th Avenue, from 45th Street to Woodside Avenue, to an “Open Street” last year. The avenue is currently closed to through traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on most days.

To see the plan, click here.

Part of the 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard plan includes converting segments of 39th and Barnett avenues into one-way zones (DOT presentation)

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