What’s Your Brooklyn Bridge Ideal?

EastRiverBridgeCounts.jpgEast River bridge traffic counts and configurations through 1989. Source: FHWA [PDF]

Over the weekend, a Times op-ed from Robert "The Schluffer" Sullivan proposed physically protected roadway-level bike lanes on the Brooklyn Bridge as a way to eliminate cyclist-pedestrian conflicts and stem anti-cyclist sentiment.

Sullivan notes that, about a century ago, when it carried over twice as many people per day, horse-drawn trolleys and buggies once shared the Brooklyn Bridge with trains and pedestrians (and no creature, human or animal, crossed for free). Despite efforts by DOT to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians on the narrow elevated path, Sullivan says, "with more people walking and more people biking (both good developments), chaos quite naturally ensues."

Rather than ban bikes from the bridge, a proposal he says he hears "all the time," Sullivan writes:

If we bicyclists cede the Brooklyn Bridge walkway, then it might be a
step toward winning the public’s respect. Then, just maybe, pedestrians
would call a truce and recognize that their real enemy is the car, that
bikers are like pedestrians in that they are just trying to get to work
without the use of a gurney.

[Cyclists] are full-fledged New Yorkers now, not maniacs who need to be
banned. We are all fighting to make the streets safe for something
other than driving and parking. The livability revolution has begun.
There is no turning back.

With a four-year rehab project coming up, Sullivan suggests new bus routes on the bridge to lay the groundwork for the return of rail.

What do you think? Is an exclusive pedestrian walkway, with separated bike lanes below, the way to go? And what about bringing back rail? Who should be tolled? In short: What does your ideal Brooklyn Bridge look like?

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