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.
“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.