Friday, December 16, 2016

Big Changes Coming to Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills


Finally, the long-awaited improvements are coming to our stretch of Queens Blvd.

Bike lanes, more space for pedestrians, hopefully some much-needed beautification, and a safer roadway in general for pedestrians.

Hey, anything will be an improvement for this inappropriate major thoroughfare that runs smack through a residential neighborhood.

Anything that makes it more pedestrian-friendly and slows down the nutty drivers as they race through our neighborhood is a long time in coming. This is New York City, after all. It's not Wichita. If you want to live the automobile lifestyle, I have a nice house in suburbia to sell you.

From DNA Info: Long-Awaited Queens Blvd. Revamp Coming to Forest Hills and Rego Park: City

And, while we're on the subject of Queens Blvd., there is an interesting proposal to revitalize the block near MacDonald Park. Just a proposal at this point, but boy would this be an improvement over what is at that location now.

8-Story Luxury Office Building Planned Near MacDonald Park in Forest Hills

28 comments:

  1. And so the long awaited waste of funds gets forced down our throats just as it did in Elmhurst, who voted it DOWN by the way, only to be overruled by the gestapo that we have in charge. Drake it's great if you live here and don't have a car but let's face it, this town has a total mix of urban and suburban elements. Hence its location, right smack in the middle of Queens between Nassau and Manhattan. And please stop complaining about how Queens Blvd ruined the town. The footprint for such a wide thoroughfare was done long ago and the Blvd that you hate so much is the precise reason why we have such great public transportation options running through the town! If you want a more quaint two lane thoroughfare move to Middle Village off Metropolitan and enjoy the long walk to the M (very subpar) train, or even live in Forest Hills by Metro Av., with all the single family homes that have private driveways, all with cars and enjoy the LONG walk to the E/F. Please get off it with the anti car crusade. Just try getting from let's say the Queens Blvd/75 area to Trader Joe's on Metro, which is technically in the same town, maybe we should walk a a good hour in the freezing cold each way or waste half the day with the bus. Even though we have great transportation here, and I walk all over as much as possible, plenty of people here drive. Because we have such great highway access, it makes it an ideal spot to live for soneone who works in any number of nearby counties, yet on solely public transit, those options would be insane. Besides all of this, the big problem is the loss of parking along Queens Blvd. All day long the metered spots on QB are taken, the city is making money off it and so are the local shops. Losing all of those spaces will either cause patrons to go somewhere else, hurting the shops and the town in general, or they will clog up the more residential streets circling around aimlessly looking for parking, a complete lose lose situation, except for the handful of people who on a nice day might use the lane. Go and read what people are saying about them. Do you really think delivery guys on bikes are going to go out of their way to stay in the cute bike lane or will they continue to race across the neighborhood doing whatever they want to save time, I think we know the answer to that! Be careful what you wish for!

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    1. Couldn't agree more!! Well said!

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    2. or try to take the subway to work in brooklyn in less than 3 hours a day.

      the bike lanes aren't going to stop cars when the city gives municipal workers free parking

      i'm too lazy to find it again, but the city has admitted years ago that bike lanes are nothing more than a deal with real estate interests to boost development and prices where they are built. they are a PITA but will be well worth it when my wife and I sell to some suckers from manhattan willing to pay us a lot of money for our apartment.

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    3. All the years I've lived here, I think there has been barely anything done to improve the appearance of Queens Blvd., or to really tackle the safety hazards it presents to pedestrians. Finally, something will be done. Sorry, but you can't have things all one way. If you want your inappropriate thoroughfare to continue to run through this residential neighborhood, then there has to be a compromise. It can no longer be allowed to be an unsightful, disgusting blight on this residential area. If it wasn't for Queens Blvd., Forest Hills has the potential to be one of the most attractive neighborhoods in the City. Hopefully, these improvements will move us towards that goal.

      And by the way, your entire approach seems to be like you are locked into certain ways of living. Why go to the bizarrely-located Trader Joe's in Forest Hills, for example, when you can hop onto the E or F train and shop at the much more conveniently located one in Chelsea, for example? (I always wondered what genius put a perfectly good Trader Joe's in NYC where no pedestrians could reach it.)

      And regarding the anti-car crusade. I am not anti-car. I am anti senseless pollution when we have a perfectly fine public transportation system. Too many people in this neighborhood see the car as their primary go-to option. No, you don't live on Long Island, sorry to inform you. Use public transportation more often, or better yet, use your legs

      In any case, the need for Queens Blvd. and other inappropriate thoroughfares will begin declining soon as we enter the era of self-driving cars. Need a car? No reason to own one. Just open your Uber app and a robotic vehicle will be at your curb in seconds. No fuss, no extra costs, less traffic for all, and no need to find parking: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/14/technology/how-self-driving-cars-work.html?_r=0

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    4. It's a double edge sword. Although I hope that Queens Blvd will be safer since I live right there and cross it on a daily basis. I do admit that it was the worse by the Queens Center Mall. The traffic was horrendous ever since those bike lanes came in. In many cases that looks like more car accidents would more likely occur just because it clogs within those few spots.
      I don't have a driver's license, and take public transporation whereever I go. But my husband has a car which we use on the weekends. For people who ride bikes, that would have been safer for them the ride on side streets.

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    5. I like how you compared fascist WWII death squads to city council members who install a bike lane.

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  2. I couldn't agree more!! Well said!

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  3. Very glad to see this come to fruition. Looking forward to calmer streets and a long overdue bike lane!

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  4. Will this make our neighborhood more pedestrian friendly? Or with apps like Waze will this just make the side streets more dangerous?

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  5. Thank you Macirig for your kind words. I am the original poster from 10:35. While I do love and respect what Drake does with this site, I think we will just have to agree to disagree (completely) on this one for many reasons… I am splitting my reply into two posts...

    1) The only thing that Queens Blvd could *possibly* use is some sprucing up with its greenery. Many of the trees don’t appear to be well tended to and maybe newer, or nicer greenery could be put in. Other than that, the streetlights are all standard NYC (which I happen to love!) and the crossing times are more than adequate. I see plenty of elderly women with their carts cross successfully all the time and if it looks like they might not make it all the way, they wait at the medians, which is what they were designed for. I also see countless people just being reckless, plain and simple. They cross against the light, they text while walking looking at their phones instead of the road ahead, they don’t cross at intersections and just hop over the fence. Well, when is enough actually enough?? The reason why it was cleverly named the Boulevard of Death has to do with fatalities, of course, but let’s face it, the media loves to sensationalize and that name catches on with people, but in reality, with a normal amount of common sense and attention, crossing it is really not a big deal! If people do unsafe things, and get hit it cannot always be blamed on the driver, enough with that nonsense. Same thing with bike riders, pay some attention, don’t swerve dangerously in and out of traffic, stay alert and things should be fine; and of course all of this applies to drivers too, but trying to install more barriers and extra nonsense to stall traffic further is just going to make clogged roads and people who are going to do stupid stuff on the road, be it pedestrians, bikers or drivers are still going to do all the same nonsense and we’re just wasting more money trying to be big brother here.

    2) As another poster pointed out, the bike lane fiasco is part of a bigger plan to attempt to boost market values, which for some of us might not be so bad, but I think the bigger culprit here is deBlaz’s ego. He’s trying to leave his mark and he even has his catch phrase to go along with it, “I’m going to turn the Blvd of Death into the Blvd of Life!” Yes, you go do that sir, along with all the other Vision Zero nonsense that your own motorcade does not even obey and lets add in the fact that the stats have shown rising number of pedestrian fatalities under Zero Vision, oops!

    3) Please stop calling Queens Blvd “inappropriate.” It was here long before the high rises and population booms and once again you wouldn’t have 4 subway lines running under it or the LIRR running alongside it if it wasn’t such an important thoroughfare. I’m sure one of the things that drew you to this area was its great transportation, you knew Queens Blvd was here long before you, so get off it already. The only thing unsightly about it is *maybe* the fact that some of the shops look a bit run down. The strip from 75 heading towards Union Tpk. is pretty dull. Also the building layout isn’t great. There’s some stretches of shops broken up by residential buildings, then a few more shops, etc. The Parker Towers area is a bit dull looking too, but again, not because the road is large, but because those buildings look “meh” and the shops break up a bit at that point. The leisurely shopping feel is definitely on Austin and that will always be due to the way the town was laid out.

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  6. 4) I’m not sure why it’s so crazy to go to a Trader Joe’s in my OWN TOWN versus taking the subway 45 mins (or longer with the way they like to do their infamous “this train is making all local stops” nonsense). By all means, its great if you’re in Manhattan anyways or you go to make a day of it, but if I’m having company over and want a few special items from TJ, I want to be able to get in my car and be there in a few minutes, like EVERYONE ELSE who uses that store, and it’s definitely packed.

    5) I completely support the local shops and do pretty much all of my shopping around town, walking almost all of the time. Please stop touting the “perfectly fine public transportation system” that we have. We know that. You missed my point in the first post. Many people who live in this town do not have jobs that are a subway ride or short bus ride away, like you might have. Please try to see other people’s perspectives. Being so close to as many major highways and bridges as we are, makes this a great place to live even if you commute by car, so please stop with the whole ‘just give up your cars everybody and use the MTA!’ It’s just not an option for everybody. I don’t think that anyone in this neighborhood is going to take their car to go to a spot that they could have walked to in 10-15 mins. That is a suburban thing, but people here who do have cars are commuting to work or lugging heavy items from Costco for instance, so many still have need of a car here. I lived in Manhattan for many years before here and Forest Hills is nothing like Manhattan so stop thinking you live in the heart of the city where you have limitless options at your fingertips, people in Forest Hills do their fair amount of schlepping around to get things and yes, that can also include using their cars in this urban and somewhat suburban town!

    6) As I said before, I just don’t know where all of the people who park in those metered spots are supposed to go when many of the spots get removed to put in the empty bike lanes. I see families use those spots all the time to go eat at the Hibachi place or Portofino for instance and if it’s too much hassle to even pull up and park, they will go elsewhere. These are families that live in other parts of the neighborhood or the borough even and they’re coming to our neighborhood, supporting our businesses and we’re going to make it a hassle for them to do so. Trust me, the bike lane is NOT going to bring an increase in business for any shop along QB. No family celebrating a birthday is going to say “Let’s take our bikes down QB tonight at 7 to celebrate at Portofino!” There are also plenty of elderly people who get taken to all kinds of medical/dental offices along QB and again, the spots fill up. Maybe you think they should bike there too! I could point out business after business that would be hurt by this.

    At the end of the day, what it comes down to is common sense. Vision Zero isn’t working because stupid people who do reckless things are always going to be out there and anyone who rides their bike (especially in NYC) is taking a risk and could easily exit off the bike lane, have a false sense of security and crash the next block up, let’s all panic and turn every road into a bike lane to protect the incompetent!!

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    1. This is such a ridiculous and ridiculously long rant that it would take too much time to refute all of Anon's points.
      So instead, I'll just make one point. Forest Hills is not a "town". Instead, Forest Hills is part of New York City. And since Forest Hills is part of NYC, the priority of our elected officials should be to make Forest Hills as pedestrian friendly as possible. Instead of making pedestrians the priority in our city neighborhood, up until recently city laws and policies prioritized cars over pedestrians by allowing Queens Boulevard to become more like a suburban highway than a city road. Drivers were allowed to treat Queens Boulevard like a highway and one of the tragic results has been the many deaths that have occurred over the years--many due to cars going much faster than any car should be traveling on a city street. So these proposed changes are an attempt to correct decades of neglecting pedestrians in our city neighborhood. I am all for any changes to Queens Boulevard that will slow the cars down, reduce traffic accidents and fatalities and make Queens Boulevard a more pleasant part of our city neighborhood.

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  7. Public transit is incredibly viable here in NYC -- my wife and I and our two kids don't have a car and we get everywhere using it. And anything can be had via delivery. I'm sorry, but those who choose to use a car here are lazy, obnoxious, and/or selfish. Are the ills of automobiles not obvious? They kill, they're loud, they congest, they pollute, and they seem to endow their drivers (here in Forest Hills especially) with a sense of entitlement, which I see everyday can be a very dangerous thing when you're simply crossing the street with only your own two feet.

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    1. That's great for you. You obviously work within NYC limits and can do your commute entirely on public transit. You seem to be missing the point the other commenter was making - not everyone here has a job that allows them to give up their car and rely solely on public transit! And no, cars are not that dangerous when you're simply crossing with your own two feet, pay attention!

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    2. I haven't seen anyone here say that everyone who lives in Forest Hills should give up their cars and rely only on public transportation.
      Instead, the issue is how to balance the competing interests of drivers and pedestrians in our city neighborhood. In my opinion, since we live in the city, pedestrian safety should be prioritized over drivers' convenience. And this has not been the case with Queens Boulevard in the past many years. If you live in FH and you choose to use your car to commute (or for other reasons), that choice does not entitle you to have your convenience be made a higher priority than the safety of pedestrians. Since this is a city neighborhood, I think that pedestrian safety should be prioritized over driver convenience. If you want to be able to drive and not have the inconveniences of having to go more slowly, having heavy traffic and having less lanes to use because of bike lanes, then you always have the option of living in the suburbs where drivers are given the priority over pedestrians. If you choose to live in the city and you choose to drive for your commute or for most of your travel around the city, you should not expect your convenience to be catered to at the expense of pedestrian safety.

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    3. " I'm sorry, but those who choose to use a car here are lazy, obnoxious, and/or selfish."

      Are you kidding me? What an ignorant statement. Not everyone has the same needs as you. After dealing with cabs for years because I have a severely special needs child, i need to be able to get to her school on the drop of a hat, and I couldnt wait around for a bus to get to another bus, I decided to get a car. I can now do a lot more with her because due to her needs she was not safe on public transportation, she would have meltdowns and try to run making it hard for anyone to take her on transit.
      My point is everyone has their own circumstances in a city of 8 million+ people, stop being so hateful to those who don't have the same situation as you.

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    4. Thank you 3:16 poster. I'm the 9:40 pm poster and found the comment about owning a car here and being selfish and lazy to be highly offensive and self-centered.

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    5. You're right...I apologize for such a sweeping statement. I just think so many drivers around here are so reckless and obnoxious that they give drivers a bad name. I'm tired of fearing for my family's life every time they cross the street.

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    6. Thank you for that apology, truly appreciated! I happen to love living here, but need my car for work. Otherwise, I'm walking all over the place and supporting the local shops. Not sure what the ideal solution here is, I just know from seeing it first hand and reading it, that the bike lanes further up are causing much more rubbernecking than before and since I am on QB and see the metered spots taken all day long with people using the shops/medical offices, I just don't know where they'll park and I do know how chaotic it can make the streets when people are circling around aimlessly looking for spots, that's frustrating for both drivers and pedestrians! If given the choice, many patrons would simply skip going to those places and go where they could park at a meter and get in and out, that won't be the case with the bike lanes there. I fear that the For Rent signs will increase! Thank you anyways for the reply. I'm sure you can understand that those of us with cars take note all the time of wreckless things pedestrians and cyclists do, so it really is a two way street here, so to say.

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    7. By talking about the "reckless" things that you say pedestrians do, you make it sound like you think that drivers and pedestrians are equally to blame when a pedestrian gets injured or killed. I disagree completely.
      Drivers are surrounded by one to two tons of machinery, while pedestrians have just themselves and are not in control of a machine that has the potential to be lethal to other people. Because of this, I think that drivers have a much greater responsibility to obey traffic laws, be careful and to be ultra-aware of the pedestrians that may be in their path. I think that even if a pedestrian walks against the light or is texting or looking at his/her phone while crossing, drivers still have a responsibility to avoid hitting them. This is why I think the proposed changes to Queens Boulevard will be very beneficial--they will force cars to slow down and drive more carefully, which will hopefully reduce the number of injuries and deaths on Queens Boulevard.

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  8. Is this a political discussion, because people are being so over the top on both sides. Its completely unreasonable to think Forest Hills can be car-less. Its not LI, but its not Manhattan either. On the other hand, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements are a positive. The traffic will adjust accordingly. Studies have shown adding more roads doesnt help traffic because then more people drive and take up the space. Getting rid of some parking will cause the people who dont NEED a car to get rid of it.

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    1. It won't cause anyone to GET RID OF their cars. It'll just cause more parking congestion. More people NEED a car than you think, and not everything is subway-accessible. This is only going to benefit the public garages in the neighborhood, because more people are going to need them

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  9. Agree completely! Also, many buildings that have garages have wait lists to get a spot, so being so dismissive about having a car when clearly MANY people here do, for various reasons, is just out of touch.

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  10. Three times I’ve seen a car in Forest Hills drive over the curb while making a right turn. What if a small child had been standing there? Almost every day I see an instance of aggressive, dangerous driving in the neighborhood. Time to step up the enforcement of traffic laws.

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    1. I agree and have also seen many examples of aggressive and dangerous driving in Forest Hills on a daily basis. To see a car stopping at a stop sign is now the exception, not the rule. And only a small percentage of drivers in our neighborhood seem to be familiar with the rule that they need to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk when making a turn. Instead, most drivers seem to think it is appropriate to race against the pedestrians to try to make their turn. This is a violation of traffic rules and extremely dangerous to pedestrians.

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  11. Queens has the worst mass transit system in the system (ex Staten Is). You can't go north or south without having to take a 2 hr bus trip. There are no subways or light rails to move the large population in southern or eastern Queens. Who's going to ride a bike in heavy rain or sub freezing temperatures? Not my 70 year old father, that's for sure. Stop shoving this bike crap down our throats. Thus is not Amsterdam!

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    1. I'm not sure why Anon is commenting on mass transit in Queens in general (and there are arguments against what he/she said about that), but the topic in this thread is about mass transit, pedestrians and drivers in Forest Hills. Forest Hills, without a doubt, is a city neighborhood with some of the best mass transit in the city. I can't think of many other NYC neighborhoods with 4 subway lines and a commuter train station within walking distance of the majority of people who live in that neighborhood. Having that many mass transit options rarely exists in most Manhattan neighborhoods and Forest Hills definitely has the most mass transit options in all of Queens.
      And nobody is "shoving" any "bike crap" down anyone's throats. Just because you or your family members would not choose to ride a bike on Queens Boulevard does not mean that the bike option should not be offered to others who want to take advantage of it.

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