In the Shadow of the Queensboro Bridge

Life Near the Queensboro Bridge

A Streetfilm by Nick Whitaker

Running time: 3:44

Sarah Gallagher of the Upper Green Side introduces us to life on the neighborhood streets on the Manhattan side of the Queensboro bridge. Talking with store owners and others in the area, Streetfilms’ Nick Whitaker learns that expensive rent isn’t the only cost of doing business on the Upper East Side.

"There’s never a quiet time anymore. And there’s never a clean time anymore. And there’s never a safe time anymore. It’s always traffic first."

— Sheldon Barr, Upper East Side Gallery Owner
  • If there is a neighborhood that would greatly benefit from the current design of the Bloomberg Administration’s congestion pricing policy, this is it. The Queensborough bridge sits between two tolled river crossings: The Midtown Tunnel and the Triborough Bridge.

    The current crush of traffic from the East should be more evenly distributed to the other crossings and the congestion charge to the north would cut-off traffic on Second Avenue in the morning and First & Third Ave in the evening.

  • Cool Story. See these bridges on
    Its an interactive Google map that contains all US bridges and their ratings.

  • Gargamel Tralfaz

    Good shot of people jumping the fence!

  • actually it already is evenly balanced. the midtown tunnel cannot handle more traffic.

  • Hilary

    If we’re serious about reducing congestion, there should be no “free zone” on the Manhattan side of the bridges and tunnels to allow vehicles to get a free pass onto the FDR. They’ll take the FDR anyway. You enter you pay. Period.

    (Of course if this were politically impossible, we’d have tolls on the ER and HR bridges and could dispense with the elaborate CP scheme…)

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    The Midtown Tunnel may not be able to take more traffic, Forman, but that doesn’t mean it’s evenly balanced. In the morning rush hours, Van Dam Street and Queens Boulevard in LIC are packed with cars avoiding the Midtown Tunnel toll. If there were a similar toll on the Queensboro Bridge, at least some people would stay on the LIE. Or take the train, which would be the best thing.

  • bicyclebelle

    The video seems to imply the pedestrian/bike path is closed and that’s why the pedestrians are jumping the fence. I think they’re just avoiding walking the extra block down 60th to go around the fence. Obviously access to the path is a dangerous mess, but we wouldn’t want those poor cars to have to stop at a light to allow pedestrians and cyclists direct access to it.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I finally got a chance to watch this video, and the fence-jumping is interesting to me because this fence is new. It wasn’t there the last time I crossed the bridge, and it isn’t there in the picture on Page 6 of this T.A. Magazine article from last year:

    The fence, and the traffic pattern that it enforces, are clearly there for the convenience of the drivers at the expense of cyclists and pedestrians who have to go three blocks out of their way, and the safety of those who jump the fence.

    I’m hoping that Jon Orcutt and the other Streetsblog Friends at DOT will have the time to do something about this soon. I can only imagine how busy they must be right now.

  • The fence is inconsistently put up at various times it seems to suit either some construction work or to help automobiles flow easier. This intersection cries out for some type of intervention – either a simple yield to pedestrian sign or a stop sign would suffice.

    As a TA survey found – most people want to go south or west after they walk or ride off the bridge, instead, this fence forces them East over to First Avenue which only goes north.

  • bicyclebelle

    Yes, and from my experience the worst part of this access route is that cyclists trying to get on the path from First Avenue first have to contend with all the traffic turning left and SPEEDING up onto the bridge access ramp on 59th. Then we have to ride under the bridge where jersey barriers and parked cars leave little space for cyclists.

    I appreciate the improvements in our cycling infrastructure, but in this case if the city is going to force us to use First Avenue, it needs to be made less dangerous.


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