By Victoria Merlino
Queens Daily Eagle
On Sunday, Flushing will be the hottest cycling spot this side of France.
The second annual Tour de Flushing cycling extravaganza kick off at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The course begins at the Main Street and Elder Avenue entrance to Kissena Corridor Park and takes riders along an 11-mile tour of Queens’ Greenbelt, bike paths and tree-lined streets. The ride ends at the historic Quaker Meeting House in Downtown Flushing.
The event is hosted by Transportation Alternatives Eastern Queens Committee, the Eastern Queens Greenway and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and is designed to help borough residents explore their community and find the pockets of nature tucked throughout Queens.
The ride also support local businesses, promotes safer, modern bicycling infrastructure and unites Queens organizations.
“The Chamber works closely with the Transportation Alternatives Eastern Queens Committee and Eastern Queens Greenway to identify and address transportation issues,” Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Choe told Queens Daily Eagle. “We all felt a social ride like Tour de Flushing would support and encourage bicycling in our community to reduce traffic congestion, expand sustainable development, and greater health and wellness.”
Traffic congestion is a major concern in Downtown Flushing. Each day, roughly 200,000 people use the 19 MTA bus routes that cross through Main Street in the area, according to a May report by the New York City Department of Transportation Flushing Traffic Management.
Traffic delays in Downtown Flushing affect bus reliability throughout the system. The buses include 17 Queens routes, two Bronx routes and two Nassau County routes.
A June report by the New York Public Interest Group’s Straphangers Campaign namd the Q20A bus, which runs along Main Street, as the slowest bus in Queens during its annual “Pokey and Shcleppie” Awards.
The Q20A averages a speed of 6.4 mph as it putters along Jamaica and College Point.
And the bus experiences frequent delays, including yesterday morning.
“Various Queens buses are running with delays in both directions because of traffic in the Downtown Flushing area,” sead an alert on the MTA website Wednesday morning at 11 a.m.
Choe said the event encourages more people to ride as part of their commute and highlights biking culture throughout the area. For example, the city’s lone velodrome is located in Kissena Park. The velodrome—otherwise known as a cycling track—was designed by Robert Moses in the 1960s.
Last year’s inaugural event featured more than 150 cyclists who found out about the tour through word of mouth and social media.
The large number surprised the organizers, Choe said.
“Last year, we had a diverse group of riders—from teenagers to seniors—who rode with us from the Unisphere to the Vanderbilt Parkway and back to downtown Flushing to explore the historic landmarks and sample the world-class cuisine,” he said. “We’re hoping to repeat the success this year with more volunteers and opportunities to explore.”
The ride is free and open to the general public, but those who are interested in participating must register in advance by visiting the TransAlt website: https://bit.ly/2MgByeW