Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday that the city is moving forward with plans to install bike lanes on a Queens road dubbed the "Boulevard of Death" even though safety initiatives approved by a community board didn't include them.
The mayor said in a statement that he had instructed the city Department of Transportation to move forward on the next phase of improvements for Queens Boulevard including protected bike lanes, even though they weren't included in Community Board 4's list of fixes for the roadway.
"I respect those who disagree with us, but in the end, the safety of our neighbors and our children is the most fundamental responsibility we have in this work," said de Blasio. "Today, I have instructed the Department of Transportation to move forward on the next phase of safety enhancements to Queens Boulevard, including a protected lane for cyclists."
The community board's omission of bike lanes drew ire from cyclists, DNAinfo reported. The bikers turned their back as the board pushed through a vote.
"When I'm lying dead in the street you'll have yourselves to blame," Justin Bailey, 30, screamed at the members before leaving, according to DNAinfo.
Last year, the city announced the $100 million plan to make the roadway, which runs from Long Island City to Jamaica, safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
The plan also looks to eliminate the highway-like design of the boulevard and will widen its service roads and pedestrian areas. Drivers looking to switch from the main roadway onto a service road will have to stop and use right-turn lanes.
Ultimately, the project envisions tree lined pedestrian walkways on either side of the main roadway. Alongside these will be a bike lane, service road, parking lane and sidewalk, respectively.
Historically, the roadway has been one of the most dangerous in the city.
Between 2003 and 2013, for instance, 38 people were killed and 448 severely injured in accidents along the boulevard. Six people were killed and a "significant" number severely injured along the western segment between 2009 and 2013, the DOT said.