8 THE QUEENS COURIER • SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Advocates demand a taller protective fence on Triborough Bridge
BY MAX PARROTT
Elected offi cials and bike advocates
from Transportation Alternatives and
Bike New York gathered on the Astoria
side of the Triborough Bridge, known
professionally as the Robert F. Kennedy
Bridge, on Th ursday to call on the MTA
to improve the safety of the bridge’s pedestrian
These Queens nabes have highest amount of Health Dept. violations
BY EMILY DAVENPORT
A recent report sought to fi nd out which
areas in Queens had more restaurants that
weren’t up to Health Department code.
RentHop recently released an interactive
Screenshot via RentHop.com
map measuring which neighborhoods
had the highest and lowest restaurant
grades based on recent inspections.
Th e report also looked at the number
of health violations that restaurants
throughout the city received from 2016
through 2019, including mice and rodent
According to their fi ndings, Queens’
Lindenwood-Howard Beach area, which
has 51 restaurants in total, had zero
restaurants grading a B or C from the
health department. Queens’ worst neighborhood
for B or C grading was Ozone
Park, with nine out of 50 restaurants
receiving a B or C grade.
RentHop’s data found that fi ve Queens
neighborhoods had the highest amount
of violations at neighborhood restaurants
between 2017 and 2019:
Flushing, 1,529 in 2017, 2,695 in 2018
and 2,611 in 2019
Astoria, 1,263 in 2017, 2,098 in 2018
and 1,830 in 2019
Maspeth, 1,324 in 2017, 1,880 in 2018
and 1,421 in 2019
Jackson Heights, 1,136 in 2017, 1,820 in
2018 and 1,555 in 2019
Elmhurst, 885 in 2017, 1,380 in 2018
and 1,202 in 2019
RentHop’s report also explored the
number of mice and rodent violations
each borough had over the past four
years. According to their fi ndings, while
rodent violations increased throughout
the borough, Queens saw the highest
In 2016, Queens had 989 total reported
mice and rodent violations and 1,841
cases in 2017. Th e huge increase took
place from 2017 to 2018, which had 3,138
reported mice and rodent violations,
marking a 70.8 percent increase yearover
year. In 2019, mice and rodent violations
in Queens dropped back down
Some of the borough’s top mice
off enders included Greenwood Quality
Bakery (111-02 Liberty Ave., Jamaica),
Nest Restaurant & Bar (125-17 101st
Ave., Jamaica), Hong Kong House (23-
07 Steinway St., Ditmars-Steinway) and
Golden Punjab Indian Restaurant (130-02
101st Ave., Jamaica), with 16, 15, 15 and
15 violations, respectively.
To read the full report and use the interactive
map, visit renthop.com.
Aft er a recent report from Th e City
called attention to the fact that the guard
rail along the bridge is not high enough to
stop bicyclists from toppling over it in the
case of an accident, Councilman Costa
Constantinides and Senator Michael
Gianaris called on the MTA to put up a
protective fence that could accommodate
“Right behind us, you have a metal
plate that makes it very unsafe. Further
along, you have fencing that ends over the
water way. It’s only a 4-foot fence,” said
As it stands, biking along the bridge is
prohibited, according to signs posted by
the MTA that instruct bikers to walk their
bikes. But many riders ignore the sign and
take the risk of biking along the path anyways.
Others say that even if they follow
the rules, they don’t feel safe because of
the metal plates that run along the path.
“If you’re a road cyclist, you wear clipless
pedals, there’s metal on these. Metal
on metal, you slide,” said Astoria cyclist
Shannon Rudd, pointing at her metal
soled cycling shoes.
Th e elected offi cials and advocates proposed
a two-part solution. In the immediate
future, they say the MTA needs to put
up a 10- to 12-foot fence over the whole
bridge and legalize biking along the path.
In the grand scheme of things, they
want the MTA to open the pedestrian path
on the southern side of the bridge to create
separate lanes for bikes and pedestrians,
and provide a ramp for bicyclists to
ride up. Right now riders are forced to
dismount and carry their bikes up a set
of stairs to get on the path, which Laura
Shepard of Bike New York pointed out,
stops the path from being ADA-accessible.
“We understand the nature of the
agency we’re dealing with has slow time
horizons. But it’s important to demand
that they at least start the process,” said
Th e focus is not solely on cyclists. Th e
speakers said low guard rails along fi vefoot
wide path also make it treacherous
for pedestrians as they pass each other as
well as bikers. Constantinides added that
four people have committed suicide on
the bridge since 2015.
Th e councilman said that he sent a letter
to the MTA with the immediate proposal
but he hasn’t heard back anything
yet. Gianaris said that they are asking the
agency to fund the safety measures in
their next capital funding plan.
“It’s a fairly modest cost for the MTA.
Th e southern access would cost more
money, but it’s a drop in the bucket for the
tens of billions of dollars that we have,”
For Constantinides, who oft en warns
against the eff ects of climate change as
an immediate threat, the goal to open
up the southern walkway and encourage
commuter cycling fi ts into his crusade to
reduce western Queens’ greenhouse gas
“In the 21st century we need to be
thinking about multimodal transportation.
How we are going to move people
out of cars? How are we going to move
them into emission-free vehicles to get
them to work?” Constantinides said.
Photos: Max Parrott/QNS
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