43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue are integral bike connectors in Queens. Thousands of cyclists use these streets to commute to or from the Queensboro bridge. It connects important parts of the bike network such as the protected bike lanes on Queens Boulevard and the Greenway to the Queensboro Bridge. Both streets have painted bike lanes, but neither are physically separated from car traffic.
In April, a drunk driver killed Gelasio as he rode back home to Corona through the intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street. Gelasio was a father of 3 children and worked as a delivery cyclist. He loved to ride his bike and knew the streets very well. But even an expert cyclist is vulnerable to reckless car drivers without physically seperated bike spaces.
Safety improvements like Protected Bike Lanes and Lead Pedestrian Intervals are proven to reduce crashes and fatalities for pedestrians and cyclists where they are implemented. Were these put in place earlier, we could have prevented Gelasio from being killed. Thousands of cyclists still take Skillman Ave & 43rd Ave, and they need protection today.
Ten days after Gelasio was killed, another cyclist was critically injured at the same intersection by a turning truck. This is not Vision Zero. Our cyclists are our neighbors and they need safer streets. Turn Skillman Ave & 43rd Ave into Protected Bike Lanes. We need to save more lives.
Skillman and 43rd Ave have been known to be unsafe streets for a long time. This was proven in April when a cyclist Gelasio Reyes was killed by a drunk on our 43rd Ave and 39th St. Within a week of this happening, another cyclist was maimed by a turning vehicle at the same intersection.
In solidarity with the Reyes family, I support the Department of Transportation's proposal to make Skillman and 43rd Ave safer. This means: reducing speeding on neighborhood streets, creating protected intersections that make cyclists and pedestrians more visible at crash points, and adding protected bike lanes which will provide new transportation options for the neighborhood.
I affirm that no parking space is worth more than the lives of our neighbors. We need to make Skillman and 43rd Ave safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Will you stand with me?