DOT Begins Study of Dedicated Pulaski Bridge Bike Lane

The NYC Department of Transportation is undertaking a feasibility study for constructing a protected bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge connecting Greenpoint and Long Island City, agency representatives said at a neighborhood transportation town hall on Monday night.

The study, coming after Assembly Member Joe Lentol met with constituents about the issue in October and wrote to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan asking for a change, will likely take several months.

DOT is studying a protected Pulaski Bridge bike lane and how to overcome the challenges posed by the span's drawbridge section. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitchcakes/6837639164/##*Bitch Cakes*/Flickr##

The study is necessary, DOT staff said, because the agency has to figure out how to separate the bike lane from motor vehicle traffic on the drawbridge section of the crossing, which presents challenges that other bridges do not.

Because the center span of the bridge is opened for nautical traffic on Newtown Creek, any physical separations installed on the bridge would have to be lightweight yet stable when the drawbridge is opened.

Another issue raised at Monday’s meeting is the need to replace the wide expansion joints on the roadbed with a smaller joint that poses less risk to bicyclists. The existing shared path already has smaller, bike-friendly joints. The bike lane connect to the growing network of bike lanes in Long Island City and Sunnyside.

DOT staff acknowledged that the roadway had excess capacity for the number of vehicles that use it and said that reducing the number of southbound motor vehicle lanes on the bridge from three to two could help reduce speeding on McGuinness Boulevard, which is two lanes in each direction.

DOT staff also presented data showing that non-fatal injuries on McGuinness Boulevard are declining, dropping from 51 in 2006 to 11 in 2010. However, traffic fatalities on the roadway have remained steady. DOT representatives said that the agency would look into dedicated left-turn signals on McGuinness Boulevard, which already has dedicated turn lanes, as a way to reduce the number of crashes.

That wraps up our coverage today, Streetsblog readers. Enjoy the holiday and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

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