Pulaski Bridge Bike Lane OK’d by DOT Traffic Study; Engineering Review Next

A protected bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge — calming traffic heading to McGuinness Boulevard and providing much more breathing room than the bridge’s narrow bike/ped path alone — has cleared a significant planning hurdle. In a letter to Assembly Member Joe Lentol [PDF], DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said that the proposal meets traffic analysis requirements, and that an engineering study and recommendations will be made by the end of the year:

DOT says an engineering study is underway for a protected bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, and the agency will make recommendations by the end of the year. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitchcakes/2776436728/##*Bitch Cakes*/Flickr##

Since December, we have analyzed traffic data and we are confident that one Brooklyn-bound lane can be removed from the Pulaski Bridge without an adverse effect on traffic flow… However, there are some engineering questions remaining about how to properly design and install such a bicycle path on the bridge. To resolve these questions, we are initiating an engineering study with a structural engineering consultant.

The most likely engineering concerns are related to the bridge’s wide joint gaps, which could ensnare narrow bike tires, and how to maintain an adequate physical barrier between bicycles and motor vehicles on the drawbridge section of the span. DOT expects to wrap up the study and recommendations later this year, according to Sadik-Khan’s letter.

While this update puts the study schedule behind the March deadline that Lentol had cited at the beginning of the year, it’s a good sign of progress.

In the meantime, advocates continue to build support for the bike lane. The Transportation Alternatives Queens volunteer committee, which has a petition supporting the lane with 300 signatures, will be gathering more signatures on the Queens side of the bridge path on Saturday, May 11, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

The bridge path would complement a separate proposal to bring bike lanes to 11th Street in Long Island City, connecting north to Queens Plaza and the Queensboro Bridge. “DOT and CB 2 have already agreed to this,” TA volunteer Steve Scofield told Streetsblog via e-mail. “We’re expecting their exact proposal and an implementation date in a matter of weeks.”

  • Hank Green

    Taking out a car lane and replacing it with a bike lane? That’s just crazy. Look at 1st Ave or Prospect Park West, once you add a bike lane the whole area becomes a slum.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Ha! If Prospect Park West is a slum, then a favela in Rio must be paradise. I’m betting DOT will just add a two-way bike path with a jersey barrier on the western-most travel lane.

  • I regularly ride on the roadway when the ped lane is too crowded and my skinny tires have never been an issue over the gaps. It’s no worse than it used to be in the ped lane a few years ago.

  • Kudos to the entire TA Queens Committee and the Pulaski Bridge Coalition (Marin, Julie, Moses, et al) that began this idea years ago. It’s been a long time coming, but I know… change will come. Yes it will 🙂

  • Bruce Nourish

    I’m a little surprised anyone thinks drawbridge gaps are an issue. Seattle has five massively-bike-trafficked bascule bridges of various vintage from 1905 to 1980, four of them steel bascules, one concrete swing, and none of them are a problem for bikes. It’s a very slight potential hazard to be aware of as a rider, but no worse than the average Seattle road. If Seattle can handle this, New York definitely can.

  • Boris Kaganovich

    Great news!

  • J

    I can’t see how the gaps could possibly be much of a problem. If they can be made to work for the current ped/bike path, then they can be made to work for one lane of the bridge. It seems like DOT is being super cautious in proceeding with this, despite almost no pushback from anyone.

  • This is a no brainer. The southbound side is never crowded with traffic. In fact I have photos of one time when the city had an entire lane blocked off for bridge or road work. It was like that for hours during morning rush and there was no congestion. One lane can go to cyclists no problem.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Hooray hooray!

  • How about a completely separate pedestrian+bike bridge to create a continuous riverside bikeway? It could span from Manhattan Ave over the waterway and the LIRR rails into Queens and Vernon Blvd.

  • Peter Hon

    i agree. instead of a bike lane, how bout making that lane on the bridge a place for cars to park? that way it stays within historical context of the neighborhood.

  • Hank Green

    That’s a good point. But whenever you can’t find parking, just park on the sidewalk. Cops are cool with it.

  • guestnyc

    I thought that was a consideration alongside that new development going up in Greenpoint?

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