21 August 2012

We Can Get There; Now We Need To Cross

Sometimes I'm thankful for small things.

No, this post won't be about cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels, although those things are quite nice.  Instead, I'm going to show you something that, I hope, will make one of my rides a bit safer and more pleasant.

I frequently cycle the promenade by the World's Fair Marina, which rims Flushing Bay to the north and east of LaGuardia Airport for about a mile and a quarter.  Until recently, the lane ended rather abruptly at an especially apocalyptic-looking yard that seemed to serve mainly as a parking lot for New York City Department of Transportation trucks.  There, the lane turned into a dirt path that looked--and, when you rode on it, felt--like the Ho Chi Minh trail if it had been on the moon. That is, if you were lucky.  If you weren't, you had to dodge whatever parts the trucks dropped or a hose some cement-mixing company left behind.

Well, the dirt path has been cleaned up, and a concrete sidewalk built on it.  That has improved access to the Northern Boulevard Bridge, which you must cross if you want to continue into Eastern Queens.  But, as nice as the sidewalk/lane extension is, it still has one problem:  It leaves you at an entrance ramp for the Grand Central Parkway.  

Sometimes there isn't much traffic, but at other times, especially on game days (It's near Citi Field), it can be all but impossible to cross.   The worst part, though, is that the point at which you cross is at the end of a curve in the ramp.  So, while you may  not see any cars or trucks coming, they could come zooming from the other side of the turn.

I don't know whether the Department of Transportation plans to install signs or a signal at the crossing--or, for that matter, how much good such things would actually do.  From what I've seen, not many cyclists or pedestrians have been using the bridge.  However, I can't help but to think that it has had to do with the perilous crossing, the until-now-poor condition of the access lane and the narrowness of the bike/pedestrian lane on the bridge.  

Well, at least one part of the trip has improved.  Perhaps there is hope for the rest.


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