Tag Archives: Community Board 2

Bike Share Comes to L.I.C.


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The city recently opted to “share” its bikes with the borough.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced on May 11 that “Citi Bike,” New York’s bicycle share program, will add 10 stations in Long Island City – building upon the locations currently planned in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“Citi Bike,” which is the nation’s largest public bike share system with 600 docking stations and 10,000 bikes, will provide a new, eco-friendly mode of transportation for residents. The program – sponsored by Citi – will launch in July of 2012 and will be operated by Alta Bicycle Share, which will split any profits with the city.

“[This] is a big victory – one that will improve life in L.I.C. in a number of ways,” Van Bramer said. “Cycling is healthy, it’s great exercise and it brings people together in a number of ways. It allows families to explore the neighborhood in ways that maybe they hadn’t before. It’s going to bring a lot of people to the neighborhood. It’s going to bring people to our cultural institutions. It’s going to bring people to our restaurants and small businesses. People will be able to come from all over the city with their bikes and park them in these docking stations and explore what we have to offer, which is a great deal.”

According to Van Bramer, the 10 docking stations have been strategically placed to provide riders access to premier locations in L.I.C., including waterfront parks, the business district and LaGuardia Community College. The councilmember also expressed hope that the bike share program will expand to other parts of Queens in Phase 2 of its launch.

“I expect it to be successful and hope it will be well utilized and future expansions will take it to more and more neighborhoods in Queens, bringing all of the benefits beyond L.I.C.,” he said.

Every bike in the network will be equipped with a bell and both front and rear lights, as well as an inscribed safety message encouraging helmet use and cautioning riders to yield to pedestrians, avoid riding on sidewalks, ride with traffic and obey all traffic lights and signs.

The docking stations are solar-powered and wireless and can accommodate between 15 and 60 bikes. They will be located on sidewalks, curbside road space, plazas and other locations suggested through a community process. A community forum on the bike share will be hosted by Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and the DOT on May 21, allowing residents to learn more about the program.

“I’m extremely proud to release this plan for the Citi Bike network,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “New Yorkers created this plan during the past six months, contributing time and expertise in workshops, on-line and in dozens of meetings to discuss and plan the city’s newest transportation system.”

Community Board 2 approves liquor licenses


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Michael Pantelidis

Casa Enrique and the M. Wells Dinette inside MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center were both recently approved for liquor licenses by Community Board (CB) 2.

The proprietors of the Long Island City establishments made presentations to the board members and community residents during an April 24 meeting, requesting the right to sell liquor inside their respective restaurants.

Winston Kulok, the owner of Casa Enrique – an authentic Mexican restaurant located at 5-48 49th Avenue – also received permission to serve food in a small garden area in the rear of the eatery until 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

In an attempt to ease concerns of disorderly conduct, Kulok said he is a “responsible operator” and that his restaurants are “food oriented.” The restaurateur went on to say that he has 20 pages of signatures from residents in support of his application.

M. Wells and MoMA PS1 submitted a joint application to allow for an overlap between the two facilities during catered events or receptions. CB 2 voted to allow the restaurant to sell liquor and remain open until 2 a.m.

Peter Katz, chief operating officer of MoMA PS1, and Sarah Obraitis, owner of M. Wells, said they welcomed the partnership and believe it will be greatly beneficial for L.I.C. Both also emphasized that they are not aiming to cause any trouble with their pairing.

Despite previous incidents of loud noise and disorderly conduct from visitors of the museum, M. Wells and MoMA PS1 received overwhelming support from the residents in attendance – who were excited over the restaurant’s return.

Western Queens provides DOT bike lane input


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and residents of western Queens recently “pedaled” closer to protecting bike riders.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer sponsored the first-ever Queens Bike Forum in Sunnyside on March 2, allowing members of the DOT’s Bike Program Staff to receive recommendations from residents regarding the best ways to develop safe and efficient bike lanes in western Queens. During the forum, which was held at Community Board (CB) 2, cycling enthusiasts from around the 26th District also shared suggestions for ideal bike route locations.

“The goal of this forum was to make sure that the community has input in the DOT’s bike lane implementation process,” said Van Bramer, who often cycles himself. “The roads of New York City are for everyone and we want to make sure that everyone stays safe. In my opinion, a well-planned and well-organized bike lane can do that. One of the best ways to achieve that is by bringing the community and the DOT together to decide which bike lanes are best and where they can be best installed in our neighborhoods.”

According to DOT spokesperson Scott Gastel, the department received a great deal of information from the community, and after reviewing the suggestions, officials will return to CB2 within the next few months to present a report of the findings. The DOT will also ask the community to aid in prioritizing the list of bike route locations, said Gastel.

Many residents are hopeful DOT improvements will allow them to feel safe cycling around their neighborhood.

“There are some bike lanes already, but the paths need to be better laid out. They don’t seem to flow well or be safe enough,” said Thomas Haggerty, a resident of Woodside. “I tend to take my kids bike riding in the park, but if they could make it safer on the streets I would certainly consider that.”