Bikers Need a Lane
Imagine having to share a main busy road with not just cars but also buses and trucks and you are on a bike in the middle of these huge vehicles. It’s scary and dangerous, right? But you had no other route because the sidewalk is congested with vendors and pedestrians. Well, this is what community members in Jackson Heights who bike have to deal with every time they want to bike down Roosevelt Avenue, a main road in the neighborhood. Right now, in the neighborhood, there is a need for bike lanes for safety reasons and for convenience for people riding bikes. This paper will be explaining the history of Jackson Heights and how it has evolved showing the need for improvements in the neighborhood’s transportation due to the changing needs of the community. Through research, input from community members and looking into the transportation in the neighborhood, bike lanes would be a good feature on Roosevelt Avenue.
From 1917 to the 1940’s Jackson Heights had architectural buildings called Green Cops where there were community gardening spaces or also called lawns in the middle of the complex, so people could interact with each other and form a friendly community. This type of style soon changed due to the increase of immigrants interested in Jackson Heights so the demand for housing was way higher. Which lead to rentals and townhouses being built to satisfy the need for more housing in the neighborhood. Jackson Heights really was a Mosaic of culture, meaning each culture stands by itself but also comes together to be a community.
Since Jackson Heights got a bigger flux of people in the neighborhood, there needed to be transportation to handle the number of people there and surrounding areas. So in 1917, on Roosevelt Avenue was built the elevated subway train station that could get people all the way to Grand Central Station and other locations in New York. Jackson Heights really turned out to be a hub of transportation with LaGuardia Airport being close by, a major subway station, truck routes driving through, bus stops all around the neighborhood and many street parking. Which lead me to what I saw was in need for Jackson Heights and was also a concern I saw. The need for bike lanes on a major road in Jackson Heights, Roosevelt Avenue.
I got the chance to ask some people that reside in Jackson Heights about the matter and the transportation in the neighborhood. I talked to this lady at a nail salon in the neighborhood who had just been in the neighborhood for over a year now and who came from Mexico with her family. I first asked about the traffic and transportation on Roosevelt Avenue. She replied quickly with very congested and unsafe at times. I found that a lot of people agree with a consensus of Roosevelt Avenue being unsafe for many reasons. For example, since there isn’t a bike lane on that major road, bikers must ride with the traffic or try the sidewalk which is also very congested at times making it unsafe and difficult if wanting to ride a bike.
How I would like to fix this problem is to put bike lanes down Roosevelt Avenue. What would have to happen is to make the sidewalk on each side a bit smaller, so we can fit a bike lane on each side and still have street parking available. We can put up lane dividers to ensure the safety of the lanes, so drivers can’t use the lanes in any way. I also heard the problem of there not being enough light on the street so putting more street lights could also help with safety issues. Another thing, want to place some bike racks on the sidewalks to welcome more people to bike and make use of the new lanes. And if in the future more people want to bike because of the new lanes, some Citi bikes for rent could be placed in the neighborhood.
In conclusion, I noticed some need in Jackson Heights and felt like placing bike lanes down Roosevelt Avenue would be a great improvement in the community in many ways. By adding bike lanes down a congested road where bikers must be included in the hazard of riding with vehicles, it could help people feel safe about actually riding a bike. I also think it could help with the congestion on the road and promotes sustainability as an alternative way of secure transportation.