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Queens Boulevard: Complete Street Campaign Rally

Last February, 22-year-old Asif Rahman was hit and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle on Queens Boulevard. Though the infamous "Boulevard of Death" is a lot safer than it used to be, it still produces far too many injuries. According to the chart below from crashstat.org before Queens Boulevard underwent some street redesign there were about 150 cyclist and pedestrian injuries. Now, roughly 100 bicyclists and pedestrians are struck on the Boulevard each year. Asif's family, Council member Jim Gennaro, and Transportation Alternatives held a press conference yesterday, calling on New York City government to transform Queens Boulevard into a "complete street," with a physically-protected bike lane and safer pedestrian crossings. Queens Council Members John Liu and Eric Gioia also signed on to a letter urging Mayor Bloomberg to complete Queens Boulevard.

crash stats graph

<p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman">[intro music]</font> <br> </p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Curtis Anderson:</i> [00:06] I live out here in Queens and I use Queens Boulevard quite often, even though it’s a very dangerous street, because it is the most direct route from out here in Queens to Manhattan. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Helen Ho:</i> [00:16] I grew up crossing Queens Boulevard everyday, running across Queens Boulevard everyday actually, trying to catch my school bus. And so I had the lights perfectly timed but when I was growing up this was known as the Boulevard of death. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Noah Budnick:</i> [00:29] Queens Boulevard is a scary place for people to travel and unfortunately we know this all too well by the tragic deaths that have occurred here. We are launching our campaign to turn Queens Boulevard into a complete street that’s safe for pedestrians, that has protected bike lanes for cyclists and that is safe and inviting for anybody who wants to travel down it. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>James F. Gennaro:</i> [00:51] This is not going to protect you by itself on Queens Boulevard. You need more than this helmet, and if you’re going to use bicycles for transportation, you’re going to use the major roads. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Noah Budnick:</i> [01:04] Asif Rahman was cycling here on Thursday, February 28<sup>th</sup>, and he was hit by a truck. There’s a ghost bike here placed by the Street Memorial Collective to remember him and to call attention to the need for safe streets and for complete streets here on Queens Boulevard. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Lizi Rahman:</i> [01:23] You know my son has been riding his bicycle for a long time and he has been riding his bike all over the city, not just only in Queens, he was riding in Manhattan all the time, going to Downtown Manhattan from Jamaica. So he was an experienced biker and very expert. I said we have to get a bike lane on Queens Boulevard. It might not bring my son back, but I will know that my son gave his life for a good cause. For him I will do this and it will help save the other bikers in the future. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>James F. Gennaro:</i> [01:59] Asif used his bicycle not just for recreation, which is terrific, but for transportation. This is the way the city wants to move. The Mayor has put this forward as policy, has come forward with a three year, 200 mile plan and also a much more extensive plan by 2030. But the three year 200 mile plan does not include Queens Boulevard. Why not? </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Moumita Rahman:</i> [02:26] It often takes a death or two or three for things to really move. But sometimes at the force of the community and the backing of local politicians is strong enough, sometimes we don’t need to wait for the news of the next death, of the next fallen son, of the next dead friend. Please write to our Mayor. Please contact your local Councilman and please continue to advocate for this necessary addition to our streets. </font> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman">[music]</font> <br></p> Transcription Sponsored by: <a href="http://transcriptdivas.com/">Transcript Divas Transcription Services </a>
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  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Caroline Caroline Samponaro

    Thank you to all who came out yesterday to support the Rahman family and to stand with Transportation Alternatives as we launch our campaign to turn Queens Boulevard into a 'complete street' by winning a protected bike lane and pedestrian safety improvements on this vital transportation artery.

    As the City works to meet its goals of increasing commuter cyclists by 50% and decreasing traffic fatalities by 50%, a re-design of Queens Boulevard is critical to meeting these goals in Queens. Queens Boulevard is the route people already are, and will continue to use to connect to transit, to walk and to bike because it is the most direct route between neighborhoods in Queens and into and out of Manhattan.

    The 'Complete Queens Boulevard' campaign is a large project and it will require a lot of support from the community and elected officials alike. Please contact me if would like to join in this fight:
    caroline [at] transalt [dot] org
    646-873-6021

    Please write to Mayor Bloomberg and ask for a protected bike lane and pedestrian safety improvements on Queens Boulevard to be incorporated into the larger PlaNYC sustainability goals for NYC.
    Mayor Bloomberg
    City Hall
    New York, NY 10007

    Please contact Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and ask her to stand with the community on this important issue.
    Queens Borough President Marshall
    120-55 Queens Blvd
    Kew Gardens, NY 11424

    Please contact your local elected officials and ask them to do the same:
    City Council:
    http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml
    State Assembly: http://www.cmap.nypirg.org/netmaps/MyGovernment/NYC/MyGovernmentNYCMaps.asp?DistType=nyc_ad
    State Senate: http://www.senate.state.ny.us/sdlookup.nsf/Public_search?OpenForm

    After the City implemented a series of recommended pedestrian safety improvements in early 2000, annual injuries and fatalities on Queens Boulevard dropped from 150/200 annually, to 100 (current number). This proves that street design can help prevent injuries and fatalities, but it also demonstrates the need for more.

    Thank you to Councilmember Genarro and his staff for making this press conference happen, and to Councilmembers Gioia and Lui for signing on their support to this initiative as well.