The Department of Transportation will move forward with the second phase of its dramatic $100 million overhaul of Queens Boulevard—a.k.a the Boulevard of Death—without the support of Queens Community Board 4. In a vote in Elmhurst on Tuesday night, CB 4 excluded protected bike lanes from the plan, prompting some board members and safe-streets advocates to shout and storm out of the meeting. Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would build the protected bike lanes anyway.

"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," the mayor said in a statement. "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 decision bucks the DOT's precedent to give into board opposition when it comes to road-safety overhauls.

The 7.2 mile stretch along Queens Boulevard is a Vision Zero priority corridor. Twelve pedestrians were killed on the roadway between 2010 and 2014, with crashes concentrated at dangerous intersections at Albion Avenue, Broadway, 55th Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. One hundred eighty-five people have died in crashes on Queens Boulevard since 1990.

Phase one of the boulevard's overhaul—the Mayor's office says the improvements will turn it into the "Boulevard of Life"—was implemented last summer, with the first 1.3 miles of bike lanes. The DOT says it plans to start implementing phase two, from 74th Street to Eliot Avenue, in July 2016. A third phase, passing through Rego Park and Forest Hills, is planned for next year.

A look at the basic design for much of the stretch of Queens Boulevard between74th Street and Eliot Avenue. (Department of Transportation)

The Queens Boulevard overhaul is one of four Great Streets projects that the city has set aside $250 million for altogether. Grand Concourse in the Bronx and Fourth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn are also getting the treatment.

The Queens redesign approved this week will add one-way protected bike lanes and pedestrian paths along the medians that separate the main road from the service road on Queens Boulevard. It also calls for new stop signs, pedestrian islands and crosswalks—part of an overall effort to reduce speeding as drivers merge onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Following a final DOT presentation on the plan Tuesday night, CB4 Chairman Lou Walker put through a motion to vote, excluding the protected bike lanes. "This is not a park," he said. "This is a very heavily traveled vehicular roadway."

Peter Beadle, the chair of Transportation Alternatives' Queens Committee, said things got hectic. "The debate, which was pretty substantive and healthy, suddenly devolved into a rushed motion by the chair at the end that carved out the bike lane," he said. "After it happened there was quite a ruckus. Several board members walked out and were furious."

Beadle has been advocating for protected bike lanes on Queens Boulevard since the late aughts. He lamented that those who oppose the bike lane think of it as a perk for cyclists, rather than a calming measure that also benefits drivers and pedestrians.

"The whole plan is a safety plan," he said. "It's not just about bicyclists, it's about the geometry of the street. [The lane] narrows the street... a driver naturally slows down."

Some opponents to the bike lane have balked at the DOT's plan to remove 88 parking spots in a neighborhood with spiking residential development. (Parking spaces are routinely used to shoot down bike lanes.)

"This meeting reflected what we have heard in thousands of conversations with residents while developing this project—it is time to address the safety issues along this part of Queens Boulevard," said a DOT spokesperson in a statement. "The feedback we received [last night] is valuable as we continue to refine the design of this project."