cycling, News, Queens, Traffic calming

What a difference some paint makes

On the evening of September 28, 2013, college student Luis Bravo was killed by a hit-and-run driver in my neighborhood while walking down Broadway on the way home from the supermarket. As I wrote a few days later, that part of Broadway is too broad, and has always felt dangerous to me. I asked for the roadway to be narrowed from four lanes to two, and the width given to expanding the sidewalks.
Broadway 076
At the request of our City Council member, Jimmy Van Bramer, and other community leaders, the Department of Transportation studied the road and determined that we do not need four lanes there. Just this week they repainted it, transferring that width to a painted median and extra-wide parking lanes. Compare the above picture that I took today with one that I took last year, from just a block further west:
IMG_2688
At 5:30, the height of rush hour, there was no gridlock, no cars backed up for more than half a block, and many gaps in between platoons of cars. The cars were moving steadily, but slower than before. There were also several bike commuters taking advantage of the extra-wide parking lanes, as you can see in the photo below (at the corner where Bravo was killed):
Broadway 062
I haven’t ridden a bike on this section, so I don’t know how safe the parking lanes feel, but I still would rather see wider sidewalks than these painted medians and turn lanes. The real test, as my neighbor Al Volpe wrote to the Woodside Herald, is whether the paint will slow down cars at 11PM. If it does, we may well have saved others from Luis Bravo’s fate.

grvsmth (Author)

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