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:
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.”