Joe Lentol to DOT: Pulaski Bridge Needs Protected Bike Lane

The narrow bike and pedestrian path across the Pulaski Bridge has long been a concern for bridge users and local residents. Earlier this month, Assembly Member Joseph Lentol hosted a meeting to air the issues and find a solution. Now, Lentol is asking DOT for a two-way protected bike lane on the bridge.

Runners cross the Pulaski Bridge during the New York City Marathon. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycstreets/4742049093/##nycstreets/Flickr##

“This is not us versus them,” Lentol told Streetsblog, saying that attendees at the meeting wanted to find a solution that works for both pedestrians and cyclists. “I think everybody is in consensus that there ought to be a way to take away the southbound right lane of traffic and dedicate that to cycling and give the walkway back to the pedestrians,” he said.

The big hurdle, he noted, is convincing DOT to figure out a way to make that happen, which is why he’s appealing to the top in a letter to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “I understand that there are inherent engineering challenges that need to be overcome,” Lentol wrote, “but I have faith in your ability to motivate the DOT engineers to make it happen.”

Funding for the project could fall into place if DOT commits to the project. While Lentol said he doesn’t have direct access to discretionary funds, he can request Multi-Modal Funds from the New York State DOT to help pay for the project. But “the only way you can spend it is if the Department of Transportation has a project they approve,” he added.

Lentol was quick to note that removing a lane of southbound auto traffic on the bridge, in addition to providing space for bike riders and walkers, would help calm traffic on notoriously dangerous McGuinness Boulevard, which is a continuation of the bridge on the Brooklyn side. “If we could get a speed camera on McGuinness Boulevard and slow the traffic coming off the Pulaski Bridge,” he said, “It would work in tandem.”

Tackling enforcement and design on the same roadway could yield real benefits. “This would be a nice coordinated effort,” Lentol said. While Albany needs to take action on speed camera legislation, the engineering side of the equation could be solved by DOT.

  • JK

    Cheers to Assembly member Joe Lentol for showing some leadership, and working in a sensible way to try and fix a problem in his district.  It’s refreshing to see an elected official show such common sense. New Yorker’s have City Council members, state assembly members, state senators and borough presidents representing them. There are 10,000 plus pedestrians and cyclists struck by motorists every year and many streets are still pretty mean places to walk and bike on. Lentol is showing how easy it is to take effective action — where are the dozens and dozens of others electeds?

  • Ian Turner

    First good thing I’ve heard come out of a New York Assembly representative in a long time.

  • HamTech87

    @7c177865bd107a919938355fe93de93a:disqus The Complete Streets Law passed the Assembly unanimously 2 years ago.  

  • KillMoto

    “It would work in tandem.”
    Brilliant.  I think the same thing when I read about people “flooring it” for traffic-light cameras.  I think:  Such roads and intersections need both traffic light cameras AND speed cameras.  Here, bike lane plus motorist lane-narrowing plus speed cameras is a clear win.  

  • Jim

    Chicago’s Pulaski Bridge also needs a protected bike lane.

  • Ian Turner

    @deca319b1a712ebda4380fb220205273:disqus : Everything the Assembly does is unanimous. That’s how they roll.

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